Venous Insufficiency and Lymphedema

Woman's foot affected by lymphedema condition with tape measure and compression stockingIn August’s blog we discussed venous insufficiency and how it allows the blood to pool and collect in the veins. This is why you develop varicose veins, but another more serious condition that also can develop is known as lymphedema. If a patient develops lymphedema due to venous insufficiency, there’s a good chance he or she has wound problems on their arms or legs. 

In this autumn blog, let’s get into lymphedema and how Dr. Oswalt can help. 

What is lymphedema? 

Lymphedema is swelling that occurs in the arms or the legs due to a collection of too much lymph fluid. It typically affects the arms or legs but can occur elsewhere. 

This sounds like venous insufficiency, which can also lead to the telltale swelling of the extremities that comes with lymphedema. While venous insufficiency can lead to secondary lymphedema, it’s important to have a specialist such as Dr. Oswalt correctly diagnose the condition. 

What causes lymphedema? 

Lymphedema is commonly caused by damage to your lymphatic system or blockage in the system. There are two types of lymphedema: 

Secondary lymphedema — This form is caused by another condition or disease that damages your lymph nodes or lymph vessels. These are some of those causes:

  •     Cancer or radiation treatment for cancer
  •     Parasites
  •     Infection in the lymph nodes
  •     Surgery
  •     Lymph node removal
  •     Injury to the lymph nodes

Primary lymphedema — This form is much less common. It is a genetic problem where the person’s lymph nodes or vessels are missing or are poorly developed.

What are the signs a person has lymphedema? 

  •     Swelling of part or all of your leg or arm, including the digits.
  •     A feeling of heaviness or tightness
  •     Restricted range of motion
  •     Aching or discomfort
  •     Recurring infections
  •     Hardening and thickening of the skin (fibrosis)

Do you have swelling in an arm or leg, including your fingers or toes? It could be lymphedema. It’s important to manage your condition with an early diagnosis and treatment. Call Dr. Oswalt at Fort Worth Vein Center, (817) 536-9600, to make your appointment.

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