In this article, we focus on one approach of treatment for lymphedema, with an overview of what the condition is all about. The lymphatic system does a lot of work for the body. One of its important functions is to filter toxins and waste. But sometimes, the system gets compromised due to certain conditions. An example of this would be lymphedema. This happens when the lymph has difficulty in movement, causing swelling around the body.
Treatment for Lymphedema | What You Need to Know
In This Article:
What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is the swelling caused by the buildup of lymph fluid. This happens when there is damage or blockage in the lymph nodes, hampering lymph movement and drainage. It commonly occurs in the arms or legs, but other parts of the body may be affected, too.
Dr. Stephen Smith explains, "When your blood leaves your heart and goes into your tissues, about 85-90% comes back through the veins. The other 10-15% goes outside the cells and it is collected in a drainage type system called the lymphatic system. And [when] this system gets sludgy, we have sort of a swamp there. Whenever you detoxify, instead of [the toxin] leaving your body it just goes into the swamp. So, detoxification will make you feel worse."
There are 2 types of lymphedema: primary lymphedema and secondary lymphedema.
Primary lymphedema is a hereditary condition where there is a problem with the development of the lymph nodes or vessels. This type is rare. Secondary lymphedema, meanwhile, is more common and may occur due to the following causes:
- Cancer - A cancerous tumor or the cancer cell themselves may block lymphatic vessels. This causes disruption in the flow of lymphatic fluid.
- Cancer treatment - Treatment of cancer, like radiation therapy, may interrupt the flow of the lymphatic system. The effect of the process can cause the inflammation of lymph vessels, leading to a build-up of lymph fluid.
- Surgery - Sometimes, injury to the lymph vessels happens during surgery.
- Infection - An infection causes inflammation in the tissue, which may affect the flow of lymph fluid.
- Scars - Swelling within a scar and radiation scars affect lymph flow.
- Injury - Injury to the skin like burns may cause edema.
Symptoms of Lymphedema
This condition is mainly characterized by swelling. So, the most common symptom is the swelling of the arms and legs. This symptom may also be accompanied by:
- The feeling of pain and discomfort
- Tightness around the swelled up area
- Thickening of the skin, making it look grainy
- Limited movement
Dr. Stephen Smith uses medical devices that increase lymphatic flow. But usually, lymphatic flow improvement can be accomplished without using those. He recommends using a product with a proteolytic enzyme called Enzyme Defense. A client can take it on an empty stomach. It breaks up the particles and makes the lymphatic fluid less viscous so it flows better.
He also uses homeopathic remedies that are designed to do this as well. The combination usually improves lymphatic flow within a matter of days. Once a good lymphatic flow occurs, it is safe for the body to detoxify.
Learn more about the treatment for lymphedema from Dr. Smith in this video:
After surgery and cancer treatment, lymphedema may occur. Ask your doctor for safety measures to prevent this from happening. This may include resting and exercising lightly, avoiding heat, and elevating the affected limb above heart level.
What type of treatment do you follow for lymphedema? Let us know in the comments section.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. None of the nutritional products mentioned is intended to Diagnose, Treat, Cure, or Prevent Any Disease.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published on Feb. 28, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.