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Learn about the causes of Lymphedema & find a practitioner in Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin to help you overcome Lymphedema within New Zealand.

Lymphedema is a swelling of the arms or legs, caused by blockage or damage to the drainage of the lymphatic system. It can lead to infection, and common symptoms include severe fatigue, swelling of the affected limb and fluid retention in other areas of the body


Causes of lymphedema Lymphedema | The Wellness Directory

The lymphatic system is a series of vessels and nodes containing a clear liquid (known as lymph). When bodily waste and excess fluid is extracted from the tissues, it drains back into the circulatory system. The lymphatic system acts as an oveflow for some of that waste which it filters through the lymph nodes (lymph glands). These nodes remove foreign matter before draining it into the circulatory system. Damage to this system results in fluid and substances becoming blocked in the tissues.

Lymphedema can occur once the lymphatic system is damaged and may, or may not, re-occur. If the condition does re-occur, it can be triggered by simple events such as sunburn or carrying heavy weights. There are two main types of lymphedema – primary and secondary.

Primary lymphedema

This is caused by the under-development of the lymphatic system and is usually determined from birth. Too few lymphatics or inadequate lymph vessels which do not pump properly are the cause of primary lymphedema. The condition is most likely to occur during adolescence although can start later in life and usually worsens slowly.

Secondary lymphedema

This type of lymphedema worsens rapidly and can be caused by surgery, infection, burns, radiotherapy or trauma.


Symptoms of lymphedema

Someone with lymphedema may experience the following symptoms:

  • Heavy limbs
  • Swollen limbs
  • Thickened skin on the affected limb
  • Lymph seeping through the skin of the affected limb
  • Aching pain in the limb
  • Shooting pain in the limb
  • Aching buttocks
  • Aching shoulders
  • Pins and needles
  • Tenderness in the groin or leg
  • Warm or red limb (due to possible infection)
  • Fatigue
  • Clothes and shoes that no longer fit

Diagnosis of lymphedema

If you suspect you may have lymphedema then first consult your GP. While there is no cure for the condition the GP will refer you to a lymphedema specialist who will discuss treatment options for managing and monitoring the condition.


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