A comprehensive overview of lymphedema covering subjects as symptoms, diagnostics, research, causes and pictures
Lymphodema symptoms include the feeling that the clothes, rings, watch or bracelets are too tight, a feeling of fullness in the lower arm and leg and the decreased mobility of the hand, wrist or ankle. A swollen area that becomes red, hot and painful signifies the formation of infection at the subcutaneous level called cellulite. If redness and an irritation appears on the skin, this is called erysipelas. General lymphedema symptoms may occur, similar to those of the flu and you feel pretty bad. Usually these symptoms do improve when treated with penicillin for two weeks. You mush however see a doctor that will prescribe it, don't just take it by yourself !
You should avoid scratching or cutting yourself. If this happens, wash the area well and apply an antiseptic lotion or cream. If the cut is deep and needs to be covered, use a minimal amount of tape to keep the bandage. If you notice that the area gets red or heals hard, contact your family doctor as soon as possible. On the occurrence of infection you may be given antibiotics.
Patients frequently reported increase in volume of an extremity before lymphedema. 8% of the patients presents with lower extremity involvement, although the upper extremities, the face, the trunk and the genital organs may also be involved. History confirms initially the involvement of a distal extremity, with secondary involvement of the proximal areas. Lymphedema patients often report painless swelling and the weight of the leg.
Fever, cellulite and general weakness may be present. Patients may have a history of recurrent episodes of cellulite, cracking, ulceration or some changes. It increases the prevalence of bacterial and fungal infections.
Primary lymphedema symptoms
In primary lymphedema, patients show a congenital defect of the lymphatic system, so the history of the installation is specific to the lymphedema type. It is a common occurrence of the association of primary lymphedema with other abnormalities and genetic defects, such as yellow nail syndrome, Turner syndrome, Noonan syndrome, xantomatoxa, hemangiomas, type 1 neurofibromatosis, Klinefelter's syndrome, congenital absence of nails, trisomy.
A rare congenital disease is the lymphedema-distichiasis syndrome, characterized by the presence of an extra eyelid (distichiasis) and swollen of the arms and legs-lymphedema. Swelling of legs, especially below the knee and the eye irritation are common to the persons with this disease. Spinal cysts are encountered (epidural) with or without other column spinal abnormalities. This syndrome is inherited as an autosomal disease, dominant due to the mutation of a gene-FOX2
Secondary lymphedema symptoms
In such cases, associated history should be obvious, based on the primary etiology. If history is due to filariasis it includes travel or residence in endemic areas. Other patients have a history of neoplasm obstructing the lymphatic system, recurrent episodes of cellulites and / or lymphangitis, obesity, trauma, or lymphedema after surgery and radiation.
The first lymphedema symptom is painless swelling of the affected area, the most common distal extremities. Face, trunk and genital area may be involved. Expanding foot radius appears in time with the progression of the painless swelling resulting from fibrosis of the subcutaneous fat. Distal extremities are initially affected, gradually followed by the proximal ones.
Patients have redness in the affected area and skin thickening, which appears as orange peel and swelling of wood. In chronic, edema develops an area of thick plates. They may be covered by a bounding crust that contains a yellow liquid with rankness smell. Cracking, ulceration or rupture of the skin can occur in evolution. Lymphorrhea involve the loss of yellow liquid, clear or with colored striations. Supra-infection is common and it manifests as yellow scaly impetigo.
The evolution of the disease
Patients with lymphedema shows, depending on the chronicles, the development of angiosarcom(the Stewart-Treves syndrome), the most severe complication of lymphedema. The survival rate after treatment is 24 months, and the one at 5 years is 10%. Other complications that increase morbidity are developing recurrent cellulitis, bacterial or fungal infections.