What is lymphedema?The body’s lymphatic system performs several important functions.
- Drains protein and excessive fluid from the tissues
- Helps to digest fat
- Works as part of the immune system to protect against infection and cancer
Early signs and symptoms of lymphedema include:
- Increased warmth
- Unusual sensation in the limb
Lymphedema in Lower ExtremitiesCardiac disease, nutritional abnormalities or blood clots (deep vein thrombosis or DVT) are all conditions that can cause swelling in the legs. It’s important to have any swelling evaluated by a physician to determine the cause.
If it is determined that the swelling is caused by lymphedema it’s important to be evaluated by a health professional with expertise in lymphedema management. Only a few physicians in the United States have expertise in lymphedema diagnosis and management, but many specialists in oncology or physical medicine and rehabilitation recognize this condition and make referrals to specialists in lymphedema management.