What is Lymphedema?
An accumulation of tissue fluid (lymph) caused by structural impairment of the lymphatic system. Swelling is the main symptom, although many people also experience aching, numbness or tingling, and/or a feeling of heaviness. Lymphedema can affect mobility, body image, and general functioning. It is a chronic but Manageable condition that can worsen if left untreated. True lymphedema is a chronic, progressive disease and affects about 2 million people in the U.S. Its incidence is on the rise due to many lifesaving cancer related treatments.
Lymphatic system is abnormal from birth, but swelling may not develop until later stages of life. It may be hereditary, or a random genetic problem.
Lymphatic system has been impaired by injury, surgery, or radiation. Symptoms may develop at any time following this injury, sometimes years late.