Lymphedema - swelling of soft tissue disorders of lymph outflow
What is lymphedema?
Lymphedema - a swelling of soft tissues, usually the feet or hands, due to violation of lymphatic drainage due to blockage of lymph. The lymphatic system consists of human lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes. Lymph - a biological fluid that contains proteins and fats. The lymph vessels lymph flow to lymph nodes. Lymph how lymph is filtered from the "waste materials" which are the remnants of white blood cells, bacteria and other foreign substances, and further back into the lymph paths. If the damage (blockage, adhesion, overgrowth) lymph lymph can not freely flowing from the tissues. This leads to swelling, sometimes significantly. Swelling is sometimes a form that the disease is sometimes called "elephantiasis."
Lymphedema is divided into two types: Congenital or primary lymphedema - when a child is born with the existing lack of lymph nodes and vessels. edema usually appears at a young age, and affects the upper or lower extremity. A rare form of congenital lymphedema manifested in childhood and carries the name of the disease Milroya. Acquired or secondary lymphedema - with the defeat of the lymphatic system caused by an infectious factor (eg, erysipelas), traumatic, and others. This type of lymphedema is much more common.
Some people develop chronic lymphedema. That there is life. Chronic lymphedema is very difficult to treat. Swollen limbs easily affected infection. Any injury of the skin such as cuts, abrasions, insect bite can cause serious inflammatory complication, which is called lymphangitis. If lymphangitis is the defeat of the connective tissue beneath the skin. Repeated infections it causes her scarring, leading to imperforate lumen of lymphatic vessels. tissues become sensitive to the slightest infection. The result is a condensation of tissue, called fibrosis. This is one of the most serious complications of chronic lymphedema.
What are the symptoms of lymphedema?
Symptoms usually appear gradually lymphedema. Sometimes the symptoms of lymphedema can occur 15 years after the lymph vessels. Symptoms of lymphedema include the following: Pain, weakness, redness and heaviness or bloating in the affected limb violation of the mobility in the wrist or lower leg
What are the causes of lymphedema?
The most common cause of secondary lymphedema - a surgical or radiation treatment of certain tumors such as breast cancer or testicular. Other causes of lymphedema is surgery on the vessels of the extremities, as well as interventions such as liposkatsiya. In addition, lymphedema complicates the course of burn injuries.
Diagnosis of lymphedema
Before carrying out diagnostic tests, the doctor usually conducts the survey by the patient's complaints, the nature of the disease. Ascertain the possible causative factor. Further examination of the affected limb is conducted, it is measured the circumference.
To confirm the diagnosis are special instrumental methods of investigation: lymphoscintigraphy - a method in which the lymph path introduces a small amount of low-dose radioactive substance. After that the scanning of lymphatic vessels, and the nature of the violation is detected lymph drainage magnetic resonance imaging - a study based on the combined use of magnetic and electronic fields CT scan - X-ray method for studying the processing of images on your computer that allows you to visualize the layers of tissue and organs duplex ultrasound - ultrasound method that determines the speed of lymph flow in the vessels, the presence of obstacles, etc. limfangiografiya - a method associated with the introduction of a special dye in the lymphatic vessel, is now used less frequently
Treatment of lymphedema
If you have an increased risk of developing lymphedema, you can prevent it from occurring. In moderate lymphedema should observe the following guidelines: Observe the affected limb clean. We must carefully and treat them obsushivat lotion before food preparation must wear protective gloves shave electric razor Do not go barefoot do not cross your legs when sitting not carry the bag on the affected arm
In addition, at high risk of developing lymphedema is not recommended to perform the injection into the affected area and the measurement of blood pressure in a patient hand.
Until now, doctors can not find an exact answer to the question of treatment of chronic lymphedema. To date, there are several types of treatment for chronic lymphedema. One of them - the so-called manual lymphatic drainage (in other words, massage). With the help of the massage reached a certain flow of lymph through the lymphatic routes. The following method - are special exercises that are performed with special wearing compression stockings (as in varicose veins) or bandages, and pnevomassazh - a device with air contributes to an outflow of lymph through the lymph vessels.
Unfortunately, lymphedema is not treated with medication. However, they are used for treatment of opportunistic diseases, such as antibiotics for infectious complications.
Can also be used, and surgical treatment. It consists in removing the excess skin tissue. This method is used when excessive amounts of the affected limb. When it becomes difficult to move.