Lymphedema refers to tissue swelling caused by an accumulation of protein-rich fluid that's usually drained through the body's lymphatic system
Lymphedema refers to tissue swelling caused by an accumulation of protein-rich fluid that's usually drained through the body's lymphatic system. It most commonly affects the arms or legs, but can also occur in the chest wall, abdomen, neck and genitals.
Lymph nodes are an important part of your lymphatic system. Lymphedema can be caused by cancer treatments that remove or damage your lymph nodes. Any type of problem that blocks the drainage of lymph fluid can cause lymphedema.
Severe cases of lymphedema can affect the ability to move the affected limb, increase the risks of skin infections and sepsis, and can lead to skin changes and breakdown. Treatment may include compression bandages, massage, compression stockings, sequential pneumatic pumping, careful skin care and, rarely, surgery to remove swollen tissue or to create new drainage routes.
Lymphedema signs and symptoms include:
Swelling of part or all of the arm or leg, including fingers or toes
A feeling of heaviness or tightness
Restricted range of motion
Hardening and thickening of the skin (fibrosis)
The lymphatic system is a network of vessels that carry protein-rich lymph fluid throughout the body. It's part of your immune system. Lymph nodes act as filters and contain cells that fight infection and cancer.
The lymph fluid is pushed through the lymph vessels by muscle contractions as you move through the tasks of your day and small pumps in the wall of the lymph vessels. Lymphedema occurs when the lymph vessels are not able to adequately drain lymph fluid, usually from an arm or leg.
The most common causes of lymphedema include:
Cancer. If cancer cells block lymph vessels, lymphedema may result. For instance, a tumor growing near a lymph node or lymph vessel could enlarge enough to block the flow of the lymph fluid.
Radiation treatment for cancer. Radiation can cause scarring and inflammation of lymph nodes or lymph vessels.
Surgery. In cancer surgery, lymph nodes are often removed to see if the disease has spread. However, this doesn't always result in lymphedema.
Parasites. In developing countries in the tropics, the most common cause of lymphedema is infection with threadlike worms that clog the lymph nodes.
Less commonly, lymphedema results from inherited conditions in which the lymphatic system doesn't develop properly.
Factors that may increase the risk of developing lymphedema include:
Excess weight or obesity
Rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis
Lymphedema complications may include:
Skin infections (cellulitis). The trapped fluid provides fertile ground for germs, and the smallest injury to the arm or leg can be an entry point for infection. Affected skin appears swollen and red and is typically painful and warm to the touch. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to keep on hand so that you can start taking them immediately.
Sepsis. Untreated cellulitis can spread into the bloodstream and trigger sepsis — a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the body's response to an infection damages its own tissues. Sepsis requires emergency medical treatment.
Leakage through the skin. With severe swelling, the lymph fluid can drain through small breaks in the skin or cause blistering.
Skin changes. In some people with very severe lymphedema, the skin of the affected limb can thicken and harden so it resembles the skin of an elephant.
Cancer. A rare form of soft tissue cancer can result from the most-severe cases of untreated lymphedema.
If you're at risk of lymphedema — for instance, if you've recently had cancer surgery involving your lymph nodes — your doctor may diagnose lymphedema based on your signs and symptoms.
If the cause of your lymphedema isn't as obvious, your doctor may order imaging tests to get a look at your lymph system. Tests may include:
MRI scan. Using a magnetic field and radio waves, an MRI produces 3D, high-resolution images of the involved tissue.
CT scan. This X-ray technique produces detailed, cross-sectional images of the body's structures. CT scans can reveal blockages in the lymphatic system.
Ultrasound. This test uses sound waves to produce images of internal structures. It can help find obstructions within the lymphatic system and vascular system.
Lymphoscintigraphy. During this test, the person is injected with a radioactive dye and then scanned by a machine. The resulting images show the dye moving through the lymph vessels, highlighting blockages.
CALCAREA IODIDE 30- Calcarea iodide is an excellent remedy for enlargement of glands. The peculiar symptom is there is hardness in glands
CALCAREA FLOUR 6x-- Calcarea flour is another top medicine for glandular swelling. There is indolent glandular enlargements of the cervical and lymphatic glands with hardness. Also there is enlargement of the bronchial and mesenteric glands, worse in damp weather and better from hot fomentations and rubbing.
CALCREA CARB 30- Calcarea carb is suitable to fat flabby persons , where the swelling of glands tend to suppurate. Another peculiar symptom for the selection of Calcarea carb is sweat on the head , which is sour and offensive
SCROPHULARIA NODOSA Q- Scrophularia is an excellent remedy for inflammation and suppuration of the glands. It is very effective for nodosities in the breasts
GRAPHITES 30- Graphites is very effective for enlargement of glands of axilla, groin and neck with skin symptoms. The abdomen is large and hard
BELLADONNA 30- Belladonna is a very effective remedy for glandular swelling threatening suppuration. They may be in the axillary region or swellings of the mammae which are heavy , red and sensitive. Another character is red streaks radiating from the inflamed gland with great heat and stitching pains
LAPIS ALBUS 30- Lapis albus covers various forms of growths. In this remedy the glands are enlarged with a certain amount of softness rather than stony hardness as in Calcarea flour. It is also effective for enlargement of mesenteric glands
IODUM 200- Iodum is one of the top remedies for the enlargement of glands, including tonsils, with withering of the entire body, the muscles shrink and all the skin wrinkles, except mammary glands which dwindle , all glands are enlarged
CARBO ANIMALIS 30- Carbo animalis is another excellent remedy for glandular swellings. The glands enlarge slowly and then they stay. They do not suppurate , nor do they enlarge much, they are hard.
ACONITUM LYCOTONUM 30-Aconitum lycotonum is useful for swelling of the cervical , axillary and mammary glands and even where Hodgkin’s disease has been suspected.
MERC IODIDE 30-Merc iodide is useful for inflammation of glands with pain. They are hard and red . It follows Belladonna well.
AETHUSA 30-Aethusa is also effective for glandular swelling , where swelling of glands round neck like a string of beads.
PHYTOLACCA DEC. 30- Phytolacca dec. is very effective for glandular swelling with heat and inflammation. It is useful for tumors of breast with enlarged axillary glands.
GELSEMIUM 200-Gelsemium is also useful for enlargement and inflammation of lymphatic gland with fever without thirst coming at 10 and 11 am and completely subsiding by evening. Cerebral symptoms such as distression in head, vertigo etc may be present.
BROMIUM 30- Bromium is one of the top remedies for glandular swelling. Hardness of glands without tendency to suppurate. Useful for swelling of testicles.
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