Every patient’s lymphedema symptoms can be different due to numerous factors. For example, the severity of this condition can vary depending on what has caused it, such as a hereditary condition or the removal of lymph nodes during surgery. However, there are some commonalities in what patients with lymphedema will experience. Swelling, which usually occurs in one of the legs or arms, is the most common sign of this condition. This is because lymphedema is caused by the impairment of the lymphatic vessels’ ability to transport and drain lymphatic fluid. As a result, the protein-rich fluid builds up beneath the skin, causing significant swelling.
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Although swelling is one of the most common lymphedema symptoms, there are other signs to look for, including:
- Hardening and thickening of the skin in the affected area (fibrosis)
- Recurring infections
- The feeling of tightness or heaviness in the affected area
- Restricted range of motion
- Aching or discomfort
If you are experiencing symptoms of lymphedema, talk with your physician about referral to a physician who specializes in lymphedema treatment or a certified lymphedema therapist.