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When to Seek Medical Care for Lymphedema
It is appropriate to seek medical care if you believe you have lymphedema.
Lymphedema Exams and Tests
The diagnosis of lymphedema is often obvious given the history of a surgical procedure or other condition that includes damage to lymph nodes. A careful physical examination and medical history will be necessary to rule out other conditions that can cause limb swelling, such as kidney or heart failure.
In some cases, specialized imaging tests may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis or obtain information about the cause of lymphedema. These may include:
Lymphedema is not curable; although there are treatments that can help minimize the symptoms and ease discomfort.
Self-Care at Home for Lymphedema
Your health care practitioner can advise you about the best ways to care for your affected limb(s). In general, it is important to practice good skin hygiene and avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activity with the affected limb. Tight clothing and jewelry should also be avoided. Take care to avoid sunburn, insect bites, cuts, abrasions, and dehydration, since all of these can worsen lymphedema.
Surgery for Lymphedema
A number of different surgical techniques have been carried out, but no operation is able to cure lymphedema. When surgery is performed, the goal of treatment is the removal of excess fluid and/or scar tissue.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/27/2016
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