The common name of lymphedema is elephant disease. So what is lymphedema, what causes lymphedema, who is lymphedema often seen in, what are the factors that increase the risk of lymphedema, how is it treated, what should lymphedema patients pay attention to?
Imagine that the clothes you wear are not on you, even the shoes are tight on your feet. Swelling occurs in your arms, legs and hands. If the condition that you pass off as tiredness continues to increase and progress steadily after a while, you may have “lymphedema” disease. The treatment process of a person suffering from lymphedema should be given importance in many respects. Illness that needs to be progressed in a general treatment process up to the medical and psychological state, The course of the disease should be followed by a large team of vascular specialists, radiologists, physiotherapists, psychologists, dermatologists, dietitians and vascular surgeons. So how is the treatment of lymphedema, which is also known as elephant disease among the people, what is lymphedema, what causes lymphedema, who is lymphedema often seen in, what are the factors that increase the risk of lymphedema? In this article, we will discuss some information about lymphedema.
WHAT IS LYMPHOEDEM?
Lymphedema is swelling in the arm, leg or any part of the body due to the inability of the lymph nodes or lymphatic pathways to function adequately. Lymphedema, which is a serious vascular disease and circulatory disorder, is also seen in children in cases where the congenital lymph nodes are insufficient.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ELEPHONE DISEASE (LYMPHODEMA)?
Swelling, which is one of the most prominent symptoms of lymphedema, affects the arms and legs, which is one of the places where it is seen prominently, although it occurs in many parts of the body. The narrowness of clothes, shoes and accessories such as watches is the most common problem in lymphedema patients. It may appear that the effect decreases or increases during the day. However, the subsistence that will occur during the treatment process further aggravates the lymphedema and makes it permanent and uncomfortable. The most prominent lymphedema symptoms can be listed as follows:
swelling in the arms, fingers, and legs
- Pain and discomfort
- Restriction of mobility
- Hardening or thickening of the skin
- Formation of skin folds
- Fluid leaking into the skin
- recurring infections
WHAT CAUSES LYMPHODEMA DISEASE?
Although it is known that lymphedema is the result of the spread of lymphatic fluid under the skin for various reasons, instead of entering the bloodstream, there is no obvious reason for the occurrence of lymphedema in the patient. This disease, which is seen in 6000 people, is more likely to be seen in women than in men. Some of the factors that play a role in the formation of lymphedema are:
- Radiation treatments seen after cancer
- Fungal diseases
- Transmission of infectious parasites from mosquitoes and its derivatives
- Hereditary diseases and anomalies related to the structure of the lymph system
- Effects such as traumas play a role in the formation of lymphedema.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF LYMPHODEMA DISEASE?
Lymphedema recurs in two ways. One of them is primary lymphedema and the other is secondary lymphedema.
Primary lymphedema: It is a kind of hereditary condition that is seen due to structural disorders of the lymphatic vessels in the body. Lymphedema occurring after the age of 35 falls into this group.
Secondary Lymphedema: It is a type of lymphedema that develops due to surgery or disease as a result of trauma that causes deterioration in the structure of lymph nodes or vessels. Disorders of the lymphatic system in people with this disease are not congenital, but developed later.
HOW IS LYMPHOEDEM TREATMENT DONE?
Lymphedema is little known by the public. There is no definitive cure for lymphedema. This disease, which will last a lifetime, only progresses with the awareness of the patient and compliance with the treatment. However, it is possible to prevent situations where the disease will cause serious problems, such as facilitating and promoting the flow of fluid in the lymphatic system by minimizing the accumulation of fluid between the cells. This treatment method is also called decongestive lymphatic treatment. The treatment process should proceed with the assistance of a dermatologist. Necessary skin care and cleaning are among the important effects in the treatment process. In this way, the severity of infections and lymphedema that may occur is eliminated.
It is recommended to determine an exercise therapy suitable for the age of the patient and to adapt to this treatment. With a special massage technique, also called manual lymphatic drainage An important massage technique is applied to relieve swelling by stimulating the fluid flow in the lymphatic system. All these techniques will facilitate the patient’s life flow and help them to offer a comfortable life. Patients should be directed to psychiatrists and psychologists when deemed necessary by the physician against the possible appearance of the patient in the body. If you feel lymphedema symptoms in your body, you should go to the nearest health institution and undergo a detailed examination. In case of diagnosis of the disease, the treatment process recommended by the physician should be carried out without interruption. This process should be overcome before more serious problems occur.
WHAT SHOULD LYMPHOEDEM PATIENTS CONSIDER?
- The things that lymphedema patients should pay attention to can be listed as follows:
- Avoid trauma and injury
- Not taking blood from the arm due to lymphedema in the arm, not measuring blood pressure
- Care should be taken not to use drugs, not to use acupuncture
- Do not lift weights with the arm where lymphedema occurs.
- It should be done by taking precautions in the effects that may cause injury.
- The skin should be protected from sun rays and burns.
- Hot water should not be used in the shower, scrubbing and filing should be avoided.
- Underwear with wide straps that do not put pressure on the shoulder should be used.
- The area at risk of lymphedema should be measured once a month.
- Compression garments should be worn in consultation with the physiotherapist on airplane trips and long car or train journeys.
- If there is lymphedema in the leg, one should not stand for a long time and should not walk barefoot.