Congenital Symptoms

A comprehensive overview of lymphedema covering subjects as symptoms, diagnostics, research, causes and pictures
Congenital Symptoms

Congenital lymphedema symptoms

     In congenital lymphedema, some specific parts of the body become swollen. The swelling occurs either in one or both legs or arms of the body. Generally, 140 to 250 million people in the world are suffering from this disease. The disease is inherited as an autosomal dominant genetic trait. It occurs due to the obstruction of the lymphatic channels which carry lymph and blood cells throughout the body. Other reasons may be the malformation and under development of the lymphatic channels in the body.

     Congenital lymphedema consists of three types; congenital hereditary lymphedema, lymphedema praecox or meige disease and lymphedema tarda. The congenital lymphedema symptoms vary from patients to patients.

     Congenital lymphedema symptoms actually occur due to the absence of the lymphatic channels in the body. They occur most commonly in women than in men. These include pain in the leg and an aching sensation. Due to the accumulation of the lymphatic fluid in the body, different parts of the body become swollen and puffy especially the extremities. Congenital lymphedema symptoms also include tightness and feeling of heaviness. These symptoms are mostly seen in the body beneath the level of waist, most commonly in legs. Other parts showing swelling can be the face, larynx, neck and arms. In most of the cases, when puffiness occurs in feet, it moves upwards including the ankle, calf and knees. This then shows that the congenital lymphedema symptoms have become severe.

     Among the congenital lymphedema symptoms, a tingling sensation, known as the paresthesia, also occurs. There is also difficulty in moving the limb or joint bending due to the swelling and skin tightness. Clothes, shoes, watches and rings start to become tight. There is complaint of an increase in weight. There may be disfigurement which can be a cause of embarrassment. Fatigue occurs most commonly when the affected limb is moved. If by any chance trauma occurs or there is any insect bite, healing is poor.

     In longstanding edema, many structural changes occur in the skin. It becomes abnormally thickened and fibrosed. Chronic inflammation starts to develop. The excess fluid and increased amount of fluid causes such inflammation as well as scarring. The swelling of the involved limb is mostly unilaterally present. In the beginning stage the swelling is firm and does not cause any indentation or pitting when is pressed over by a finger. The skin then becomes cracked. It may be both sore and tender. During the hot weather this condition usually worsens and then becomes worsened in the dependent position. The patient can also undergo emotional trauma.

     Infants who are born with the type1 disease have some areas of swelling at the time of birth. It becomes worse as the baby grows and the age advances. The type 2 usually occurs in late childhood and early adolescence. The affected areas are reddened and are sore. The type 3, lymphedema tarda, occurs after the age of 35 years. It has the same congenital lymphedema symptoms as those of the type 2. There is also an increased chance of infection in the affected areas. These may include bacterial infections of the skin and that of the subcutaneous tissues.

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