Physical Therapist

Question: One of my family members was recently diagnosed with lymphedema. What is lymphedema and how can it be managed?

Answer: Lymphedema is a condition of localized fluid retention and tissue swelling caused by a compromised lymphatic system. This condition can be caused by a variety of issues including surgery to remove the lymph nodes, usually during cancer treatment. Medicines, radiation therapy and injury to the lymph nodes can also cause lymphedema. It can also be present without any known causes, which is called primary lymphedema.

People with lymphedema often have swelling in their arms and legs, or a feeling of fullness in those areas. If left untreated, lymphedema can progress and can inhibit a person’s ability to perform daily tasks. There is no known cure for lymphedema. Management of the condition can help reduce the effects it has on a patient’s life and give them ways to self-monitor their condition.

Madison Regional Health System’s rehabilitation department offers lymphedema evaluation and management that can help address some

of the physical limitations due to the condition. If you have more questions about lymphedema evaluation and management, please call us today!

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