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I have chronic swelling

I have chronic swelling

« I have chronic swelling. »

You may have developed lymphedema. But it could also be swelling symptomatic of another condition.

Let’s start by explaining what lymphedema is.

What is lymphedema?

Simply put, lymphedema is swelling that won’t go away.

More specifically, lymphedema is a chronic, inflammatory condition characterized by the accumulation of excess protein-rich fluid in the interstitium, caused by:

  • A lymphatic anomaly (primary lymphedema)
  • Damage to lymphatic vessels (secondary lymphedema – e.g., due to cancer treatment)
  • Obesity and chronic venous disease (secondary chronic lymphatic overload)

Note: In the case of lymphedema of the lower limbs, several causes often coexist.

What are the symptoms of lymphedema?

You may suspect lymphedema if one or more of the following signs appear:

  • Feeling of heaviness, tingling or “mini electric shocks” in the limb at risk
  • Hardening or thickening of the skin, or skin that marks easily when pressure is applied
  • Clothing or jewelry that suddenly feels too tight
  • Loss of flexibility in the arm, leg or neck at risk
  • Sudden or gradual swelling
  • Swelling that is more pronounced in hot, humid weather or after exertion
  • Diffuse, acute or searing pain
  • Redness, rash, itching, heat, infection of the area at risk – with or without fever and chills
  • The appearance of wounds that do not heal

Don’t ignore these symptoms. Consult a health professional.

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