What Is Lymphedema

Written by Diane Sievert
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"What is lymphedema?" you ask. Lymphedema is a condition that affects millions of Americans every year but is still neglected by many in the medical profession. For a more scientific answer to the question, "What is lymphedema?" please read through the detailed response that follows.

What Is Lymphedema?

Lymphedema occurs when the lymph system does not function properly; lymph nodes are supposed to filter the lymph fluid that flows through your body, but if particular lymph nodes aren't working, the fluid won't be filtered. The result is protein rich edema fluid that will eventually accumulate in a particular area of the body. As the fluid continues to accumulate, the area will begin to swell, sometimes excessively, and if no action is taken, the skin will begin to harden.

Lymphedema can be divided into two camps: primary and secondary lymphedema. Primary lymphedema occurs either at birth, puberty or adulthood and has no known cause (unless the person suffers from other vascular abnormalities). Secondary lymphedema occurs when the body has experienced some sort of trauma; secondary lymphedema is most often associated with those being treated for breast cancer.

If you still find yourself wondering "What is lymphedema?" then you'd best talk to a doctor. A medical professional can go into more detail and even use charts and illustrations to help you understand this complex condition. If having read through the description above you think you might have lymphedema, make an appointment immediately!

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