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Leg Swelling (Lymphedema)

Leg Swelling (Lymphedema)

For some people, varicose veins are little more than a cosmetic issue. For others, varicose veins cause a variety of troubling and often uncomfortable symptoms. Please contact us today at the Vein Care Center, serving the residents of Lima, Celina and the surrounding areas of Auglaize County, OH, to discuss your symptoms. We’re here to help!

What Causes Leg Swelling/Lymphedema?

Lymphedema, also known as lymphatic obstruction, occurs when fluid builds up in the soft tissue because of a lymphatic system dysfunction. Your lymphatic system is responsible for returning the interstitial fluid to the thoracic duct and then to the bloodstream, where it is recirculated
back to the tissues. Tissues with lymphedema are at risk of infection.

Although leg swelling (edema) can also be a sign of venous insufficiency, the two are separate conditions. In some cases, untreated venous insufficiency can progress into a combined venous/lymphatic disorder, which can be treated the same way as lymphedema.

What Are the Symptoms of Leg Swelling/Lymphedema?

Symptoms of lymphedema may include:

  • Severe fatigue
  • Heavy, swollen limb
  • Fluid accumulation in other parts of the body, including the head or neck
  • Discoloration in the affected area
  • In severe cases, the leg may become deformed (elephantiasis)

What Causes Leg Swelling/Lymphedema?

Some cases of lymphedema may be associated with vascular abnormalities, but generally, it’s a result of poorly developed or missing lymph nodes. It can present at any time throughout a person’s lifetime and the medical community has yet to pinpoint the exact cause.

What Treatments Are Available for Leg Swelling?

Your treatment plan will be based on the severity of the swelling and the degree of fibrosis (a thickening and scarring of your connective tissue). You’ll likely have to follow a daily regimen of treatment to resolve your leg swelling.

Treatment typically involves a combination of the following:

  • Compression stockings or bandaging
  • Manual lymph drainage, in which a trained specialist uses a gentle massage therapy technique in conjunction with a pumping motion to encourage lymph fluid to move back into the bloodstream
  • Skin care therapy to resolve damage due to swelling

Treating vein disease early can prevent more serious complications in the future. Let the caring and knowledgeable staff at the Vein Care Center help you look and feel your best. What’s your next step? Contact us and we’ll take it from there!

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