What Should You Not Do With Lymphedema?
Lymphedema can result in several complications. So what should you not do with lymphedema? Find activities to avoid with lymphedema here.
Infections are a serious concern for lymphedema patients, so learning how to decrease the risk of infection is an important part of preventing complications. Patients with lymphedema are also more prone to infections due to swelling that can cause open sores and cracks in the skin. If you’re living with lymphedema, you should know about the link between lymphedema and infections and the steps you can take to minimize your risk of complications. In this article, we’ll discuss what you need to know about lymphedema and infections, including how to reduce your risk of developing an infection and what to do if you have an infection.
What Is Lymphedema?
Can Infections Cause Lymphedema?
What Are the Signs of a Lymphedema Infection?
What Do You Do If You Think You Have an Infection With Lymphedema?
How Can You Reduce Your Risk of Infection With Lymphedema?
Can You Treat Lymphedema?
Treat Lymphedema From Home With Tactile Medical
Lymphedema is a medical condition that refers to tissue swelling caused by an accumulation of protein-rich fluid that’s usually drained through the body’s lymphatic system. Fluid from the lymphatic system travels through lymph vessels and nodes, which helps regulate fluid levels in the body and fight infection. When a lymph node or vessel is underdeveloped or damaged, it can lead to swelling as a result of built-up fluid. This swelling can eventually lead to numerous symptoms and complications, including pain, tightness of the skin, and cellulitis. For patients with lymphedema who develop cellulitis, the infection can be particularly dangerous if left untreated.
There are also different types of lymphedema. Primary lymphedema is a genetic condition that occurs as a result of genetic mutations that lead to malformation of the lymphatic system, while secondary lymphedema is damage caused by some form of cancer or acute trauma, such as an injury, surgery, or radiation therapy. Knowing the causes of lymphedema can help you get a better understanding of the condition.
Secondary lymphedema can be caused by a wide range of factors, such as cancer or injury, but can infections cause lymphedema? While many infections only affect the surface level of your skin, some infections can go deeper.
The link between lymphedema and infection is especially apparent with cellulitis, which is a bacterial infection that affects the deeper layers of tissue beneath your skin, typically in the arms and legs, but can be present anywhere in the body. If cellulitis is left untreated, it can eventually spread into the bloodstream and lymphatic system as well. These infections can cause damage to the lymphatic system, impacting your body’s ability to circulate lymph and other fluids. If lymphatics are damaged due to a cellulitis infection, it can result in swelling in the affected area, leading to lymphedema.1
Reducing your risk of infection and treating infections is important even if you’re not at risk for lymphedema. Even a minor infection that starts with a small cut can eventually become a serious medical issue. You should clean any cuts thoroughly and keep an eye out for signs of infection. If you have lymphedema, you need to be especially careful about avoiding cuts and scrapes and treating them in a timely manner.
If you have lymphedema, it’s important to be extra careful to make sure you’re minimizing your risks of infection. Keeping an eye out for signs of an infection can help you take the necessary steps to get treatment. Below are some of the signs that you may have a lymphedema infection:2
As we mentioned previously, it’s particularly important for lymphedema patients to avoid infections. Even a minor cut or scratch can lead to a serious infection if you don’t treat the wound, and preventing those wounds in the first place is a crucial step. Here’s what you need to know about how to reduce your risk of lymphedema infections and avoid complications:
If you have lymphedema, it’s important to keep up with all the preventative care that helps relieve symptoms and reduce your risk of complications. Here are some of the things you can try if you want to reduce your risk of infection with lymphedema:
While there is no cure for lymphedema, there are several lymphedema treatment options that can help you reduce your symptoms and prevent its progression. Compression garments and pneumatic compression devices like the Flexitouch Plus System by Tactile Medical can help reduce swelling, while losing weight and performing light daily exercises can help relieve stress on your lymphatic system. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with lymphedema, you should talk to your doctor or specialist about lymphedema treatment options.
Lymphedema can lead to numerous medical complications if you fail to manage and take care of symptoms. If you have lymphedema, you can talk to your doctor to find out more about lymphedema treatment options and how to decrease your risk of developing an infection when living with this condition.
With advanced pneumatic compression, getting relief from lymphedema at home is easy. The Flexitouch Plus System from Tactile Medical gives you targeted relief from swelling, so you can live comfortably and worry less about complications. Talk with your doctor about the Flexitouch Plus System from Tactile Medical and get relief from your lymphedema today.
1. LymphCare. Lymphedema and Infections. https://www.lymphcare.com/na-en/what-is-lymphedema/lymphedema-and-infections/
2. Cancer Research UK. Infections and Lymphedema. https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/coping/physically/lymphoedema-and-cancer/infection-lymphoedema