1. What is Lymphedema?
~Lymphedema is the swelling of a body part caused by the abnormal accumulation of lymph fluid and
proteins in the interstitial tissue. It is a chronic and progressive disease that continues to worsen
over time. There is no cure for lymphedema, but with early professional intervention and proper
self management, lymphedema can be reduced and controlled.
2. What can cause lymphedema?
~Surgeries where Lymph Nodes were removed such as mastectomy, prostate surgery
~Congenital lymphedema/people born with impaired lymphatic systems/lymph nodes
~Previous trauma to the body or radiation can destroy the lymphatic system and cause lymphedema
~Infections, rashes, insect bites, burns, and air travel may trigger the onset of lymphedema in those with a weakened lymphatic system
3. What are the signs or symptoms of lymphedema?
~visible swelling in an arm or leg
~tightness, limited range of motion or movement of an extremity
~tight fitting clothing, shoes, watch or jewelry on one side
~heaviness, aching, burning sensation or shooting pains, pins and needles sensation to an extremity
4. What precautions can I take to reduce the risk of developing lymphedema?
~avoid overuse of the affected limb
~avoid carrying heavy handbags or luggage and restrict weightlifting to 15 pounds
~avoid high impact sports
~avoid taking blood pressure on the affected limb
~avoid heat: hot tubs, sun burns, burns
~avoid trauma to the skin: insect bites, scratches
~avoid deep tissue massage or Swedish massage
~avoid air travel
5. What things should I NOT do to the affected area?
~do NOT have injections, blood draws, vaccinations or acupuncture
~do NOT cut cuticles
~do NOT use razors
Suncoast Lymphedema Therapy Center
If rash, redness, itching, pain, fever, increased warmth/temperature of the skin or flu-like symptoms occur, contact your primary care physician or go to the emergency room right away.
Frequently Asked Questions
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