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SWELLING

Related Terms:

Edema, Oedema, Fluid Retention, Water Retention, Swollen Leg, Swollen Arm, Lymphedema, Lymphoedema

Swelling

Swelling is simply defined as the enlargement of an effected body part, generally arm or leg as a result of fluid retention.  It may also effect the skin, organs, hand, fingers, foot and even toes.  The fluid collects because the body is not able to eliminate the excess liquids. 

Swelling can occur as a result of gravity, especially from sitting or standing in one place for too long. Water naturally gets pulled down into your legs and feet. It can happen from a weakening in the valves of the veins in the legs (a condition called venous insufficiency). This problem makes it hard for the veins to push blood back up to the heart, and leads to varicose veins and a build up of fluid in the legs.

Certain diseases such as congestive heart failure, deep venous thrombosis (thrombophlebitis) and lung, liver, kidney, and thyroid diseases can cause edema or make it worse. Being pregnant can cause edema in the legs as the uterus puts pressure on the blood vessels in the lower trunk of the body.

It  is not uncommon and has been experienced by many many people.  Usually, this swelling is temporary and goes away after the underlying condition is healed.

If it effects a specific area i.e. arm or leg it is referred to a localized edema, if it effects the entire over all body it is referred to as generalized edema.

Temporary  Swelling

This temporary swelling may be caused by an infection, burn or sunburn, insect bites, an injury to the leg such as a sprain, surgery, or even medications such a hormone drugs, steroids, blood pressure drugs, or may be an allergic reaction in which is it referred to as angioedema. This may also be an part of the inflammatory response your body goes through it trying to protect and heal the leg or arm  from the cause of the trauma.

Long Term Swelling.  

Long term swelling is referred to as edema.   This is usually related to specific medical conditions.  These conditions may include diabetes, congestive heart failure, blood clot, varicose veins, kidney failure, liver failure or a number of cardio-vascular problems.

Treatment for this long term swelling is in conjunction with the treatment for the condition that caused it.  Usually diuretics are also used to relieve the swelling or water-retention.  

Permanent Leg or Arm Swelling

****In the situation of any permanent leg or arm swelling whether the cause is known or unknown, the diagnoses of lymphedema must be considered****

There are several groups of people who experience leg or arm swelling from known causes, but it doesn't go away or unknown causes where the swelling can actually get worse as time goes by.

Group One

This group includes those who have had the injuries, infections, insect bites, trauma to the leg, surgeries or reaction to a medication. When this swelling does not go away, and becomes permanent it is called secondary lymphedema.

Group Two

Another extremely large group that experiences permanent leg or arm swelling are cancer patients, people who are morbidly obese, or those with the condition called lipedema.  What causes the swelling to remain permanent is that the lymph system has been so damaged that it can no longer operate normally in removing the body's waste fluid.

In cancer patients this  is the result of either removal of the lymph nodes for cancer biopsy, radiation damage to the lymph system, or damage from tumor/cancer surgeries.

This is also referred to as secondary lymphedema.

Group Three

Group three consists of people who have leg or arm  swelling from seemingly unknown reasons.  There may be no injury, no cancer, no trauma, but for some reason the leg simply is swollen all the time.

The swelling may start at birth, it may begin at puberty, or may begin in the 3rd, 4th or even 5th decade of life or sometimes later.

This type of leg or arm  swelling is called primary lymphedema.  It can be caused by a genetic defect, malformation or damage to the lymph system while in the womb or at birth or be part of another birth condition that also effects the lymph system.

This is an extremely serious medical condition that must be diagnosed early, and treated quickly so as to avoid painful, debilitating and even life threatening complications.  Treatment should NOT include the use of diuretics.

What is Lymphedema?

Lymphedema is defined simply as an accumulation of excessive protein rich fluid in the tissues of the leg.  The accumulation of fluid causes the permanent swelling caused by a defective lymph system.

A conservative estimate is that there may be 1-2 million people in the United States with some form of primary lymphedema and two to three million with secondary lymphedema.

What are the symptoms of Lymphedema?

If you are an at risk person for lymphedema there are early warning signs you should be aware of.  If you experience any or several of these symptoms, you should immediately make your physician aware of them.

1.)  Unexplained aching, hurting or pain in the arm or leg.

2.)  Experiencing "fleeting lymphedema."  This is where the limb may swell, even slightly, then return to normal.  This may be a precursor to full blown arm lymphedema or leg lymphedema

3.)  Localized swelling of any area.  Sometimes lymphedema may start as swelling in one area, for example the hand, or between the elbow and hand.  This is an indication of early lymphatic malfunction.

4.)  Any inflammation, redness or infection.

5.)  You may experience a feeling of tightness, heaviness or weakness of the arm or leg.

How is Lymphedema Treated?

The preferred treatment today is decongestive therapy. The forms of therapy are complete decongestive therapy (CDT) or manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), there are variances, but most involve these two type of treatment.

It is a form of massage therapy where the leg is very gently massaged to actually move the fluid out of the leg and into an area where the lymph system still functions normally.

With these massage treatments, swelling is reduced and then the patient is fitted with a pre-measured custom pressure garment to keep the swelling down and/or is taught to use compression wraps to maintain the leg size.

What are some of the complications of lymphedema?

1. Infections such as cellulitis, lymphangitis, erysipelas. This is due not only to the large accumulation of fluid, but it is well documented that lymphodemous limbs are localized immunodeficient.

2. Draining wounds that leak lymphorrea which is very caustic to surrounding skin tissue and acts as a port of entry for infections.

3. Increased pain as a result of the compression of nerves usually caused by the development of fibrosis and increased build up of fluids.

4. Loss of Function due to the swelling and limb changes.

5. Depression - Psychological coping as a result of the disfigurement and debilitating effect of lymphedema.

6. Deep venous thrombosis again as a result of the pressure of the swelling and fibrosis against the vascular system. Also, can happen as a result of cellulitis, lymphangitis and infections.

7. Sepsis, Gangrene are possibilities as a result of the infections.

8. Possible amputation of the limb.

9. Pleural effusions may result if the lymphatics in the abdomen or chest are to overwhelmed to clear the lung cavity of fluids.

10. Skin complications such as splitting, plaques, susceptibility to fungus and bacterial infections.

11. Chronic localized inflammations.

Can lymphedema be cured?

No, at the present time there is no cure for lymphedema. But it can be treated and managed and most of the complications can be avoided.  Life with lymphedema can still be active and full, with proper treatment, patient education, and patient life style adaptation.

For extensive information on lymphedema, please visit our home page:

Lymphedema People

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com

See also:  

Leg Swelling

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/thesite/leg_swelling.htm

Arm Swelling

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/thesite/arm_swelling.htm

(c) Copyright 2005 by Pat O'Connor and Lymphedema People. Use of this information for educational purpose is encouraged and permitted.  It  must be available free and without charge and not used for financial renumeration or gain.  Please include an acknowledgement to the author and a link to Lymphedema People.

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Swelling

Alternative names    

Edema; Anasarca

Definition    

Swelling involves the enlargement of organs, skin, or other body structures caused by excessive buildup of fluid in the tissues. This buildup can lead to a rapid increase in weight over a short period of time (days to weeks).

Swelling can occur throughout the body (generalized) or it may be limited to a specific part of the body (localized).

See also:

Considerations    

Slight edema of the lower legs commonly occurs in warm summer months, especially if a person has been standing or walking a lot.

Generalized swelling, or massive edema (also called anasarca), is a common sign in severely ill people. Although slight edema may be difficult to detect, especially in an overweight person, massive edema is very obvious. Edema can indicate a chronic and progressive medical illness.

Edema may be generally described in one of two ways:

Common Causes    

Home Care   

Follow prescribed therapy to treat the underlying cause of the swelling. Discuss with your health care provider the options to prevent skin breakdown (for chronic edema) such as a pressure-reducing mattress, a lamb's wool pad, or a flotation ring.

Maintain everyday activities. When lying down, keep limbs above the heart level, if possible, to facilitate drainage. Do not do this if shortness of breath results -- see your doctor instead.

Reduced sodium (salt) in the diet may be recommended.

Call your health care provider if   

If you notice any unexplained swelling, contact your health care provider.

What to expect at your health care provider's office    

Except in emergency situations (such as cardiac failure or pulmonary congestion), your health care provider will obtain your medical history and will perform a physical examination.

Medical history questions documenting swelling in detail may include the following:

Diagnostic tests that may be performed include the following:

Treatment may include fluid and sodium restriction, diuretics, or water pills. Your fluid intake and output should be monitored, and you should be weighed daily.

Avoid alcohol if liver disease (such as cirrhosis or hepatitis) is causing the problem. Vascular support hose may be advised.

Update Date: 11/19/2002

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003103.htm

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SWELLING

All Refer.com Health

http://health.allrefer.com/health/swelling-info.html

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Pitting Edema on the Leg

Pitting Edema on the Leg

http://health.allrefer.com/health/swelling-pitting-edema-on-the-leg.html

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Lower leg edema

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/8857.htm

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Lymphedema ArmLymphedema is swelling,

 

 

 

 

 

* Link no longer available

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Peripheral edema - Overall Swelling

Definition

Peripheral edema is an abnormal build-up of fluids in ankle and leg tissues. 

Alternative Names

Swelling of the ankles - feet - legs; Ankle swelling; Foot swelling; Leg swelling; Edema - peripheral

Considerations

Painless swelling of the feet and ankles is a common problem, particularly in older people. It may affect both legs and may include the calves or even the thighs. Because of the effect of gravity, swelling is particularly noticeable in the lower legs.

When squeezed, the fluid will move out of the affected area and may leave a deep impression for a few moments.

Swelling of the legs is many times related to systemic causes (for example, heart failure, renal failure or liver failure).

Common Causes  Home Care

Elevate the legs above the heart while lying down. Avoid sitting or standing without moving for prolonged periods of time. Avoid putting anything directly under the knees when lying down, and don't wear constricting clothing or garters on the upper legs.

Exercising the legs causes the fluid to work back into the veins and lymphatic channels so that the swelling goes down. The pressure applied by elastic bandages or support stockings can help reduce ankle swelling.

A low-salt diet may help reduce fluid retention and decrease the ankle swelling.

Call your health care provider if

Call your health care provider if ankle swelling persists or worsens after the above measures have been taken.

What to expect at your health care provider's office

The medical history will be obtained and a physical examinationperformed.

Medical history questions documenting ankle, feet, and leg swelling in detail include:

The physical examination may include emphasis on the heart, lungs, kidneys, and legs.

Diagnostic tests that may be performed include:

Intervention:

The specific treatment will be directed at whatever underlying cause is found. Diuretics (fluid pills) may be prescribed. These are effective in reducing the swelling but have some side effects. Home treatment for benign causes of leg swelling should be tried before drug therapy under medical supervision.

After seeing your health care provider:

You may want to add a diagnosis related to ankle, feet, and leg swelling to your personal medical record.

Last Reviewed: 10/27/2001 by Jeffrey Heit, M.D., Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

*Link no longer available

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Symptom: Abdominal swelling

http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/sym/abdominal_swelling.htm

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Swelling

Swelling is an increase in the size or a change in the shape of an area of the body. Swelling can be caused by collection of body fluid, tissue growth, or abnormal movement of tissue.

Body fluid

Body fluid can collect in different tissue spaces of the body (localized) or can affect the whole body (generalized).

http://my.webmd.com/hw/health_guide_atoz/tp17753.asp

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Knee swelling

Swelling is a common problem after an injury. Swelling that develops slowly usually indicates a less serious problem. Swelling in the knee may limit the range of motion of the joint, or the joint may feel "tight or stiff" when you try to fully bend or straighten it. If it improves with home treatment, a visit to a health professional is probably not needed.

Knee swelling may be caused by:

Swelling is more serious when:

Swelling that continues and does not improve with home treatment may mean an injury is:

http://my.webmd.com/hw/health_guide_atoz/aa62065.asp?navbar=aa62106

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Neck Swelling

http://familydoctor.org/x2556.xml

Swelling - Home TreatmentSwelling During Pregnancy

http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/tc/swelling-home-treatment

Swelling During Pregnancy


http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/pregnancyswelling.html


Swelling Symptoms

http://health.bettermedicine.com/article/swelling-symptoms

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Lymphedema People New Wiki Pages

Have you seen our new “Wiki” pages yet?  Listed below are just a sample of the more than 140 pages now listed in our Wiki section. We are also working on hundred more.  Come and take a stroll! 

Lymphedema Glossary 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=glossary:listing 

Lymphedema 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=lymphedema 

Arm Lymphedema  

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=arm_lymphedema 

Leg Lymphedema 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=leg_lymphedema 

Acute Lymphedema 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=acute_lymphedema 

The Lymphedema Diet 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=the_lymphedema_diet 

Exercises for Lymphedema  

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=exercises_for_lymphedema 

Diuretics are not for Lymphedema 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=diuretics_are_not_for_lymphedema 

Lymphedema People Online Support Groups 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=lymphedema_people_online_support_groups 

Lipedema 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=lipedema 

Treatment 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=treatment 

Lymphedema and Pain Management 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=lymphedema_and_pain_management 

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) and Complex Decongestive Therapy (CDT)

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=manual_lymphatic_drainage_mld_complex_decongestive_therapy_cdt 

Infections Associated with Lymphedema 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=infections_associated_with_lymphedema 

How to Treat a Lymphedema Wound 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=how_to_treat_a_lymphedema_wound 

Fungal Infections Associated with Lymphedema 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=fungal_infections_associated_with_lymphedema 

Lymphedema in Children 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=lymphedema_in_children 

Lymphoscintigraphy 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=lymphoscintigraphy 

Magnetic Resonance Imaging 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=magnetic_resonance_imaging 

Extraperitoneal para-aortic lymph node dissection (EPLND) 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=extraperitoneal_para-aortic_lymph_node_dissection_eplnd 

Axillary node biopsy 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=axillary_node_biopsy

Sentinel Node Biopsy 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=sentinel_node_biopsy

 Small Needle Biopsy - Fine Needle Aspiration 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=small_needle_biopsy 

Magnetic Resonance Imaging 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=magnetic_resonance_imaging 

Lymphedema Gene FOXC2

 http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=lymphedema_gene_foxc2

 Lymphedema Gene VEGFC

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=lymphedema_gene_vegfc

 Lymphedema Gene SOX18

 http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=lymphedema_gene_sox18

 Lymphedema and Pregnancy

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=lymphedema_and_pregnancy

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See also:

Comparison of Edema versus Lymphedema

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=edema

Edema and Chronic Venous Insufficiency

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/thesite/edema_chronic_venous_insufficiency.htm

Edema and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/thesite/edema_and_reflex_sympathetic_dystrophy.htm

Edema and Venous Pooling

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/thesite/edema_and_venous_pooling.htm

Edema and Angioedema

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=angioedema

Edema of the Neck

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/thesite/lymphedema_of_the_neck.htm

Edema and Nephrotic Syndrome

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/thesite/edema_nephrotic_syndrome.htm

Edema of the Face

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/thesite/edema_of_the_face.htm

Edema and Thrombophlebitis

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=thrombophlebitis

Edema and Diabetes

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/thesite/lymphedema_and_diabetes.htm

Edema and Congestive Heart Failure

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/thesite/lymphedema_and_congestive_heart_failure.htm

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Men with Lymphedema

If you are a man with lymphedema; a man with a loved one with lymphedema who you are trying to help and understand come join us and discover what it is to be the master instead of the sufferer of lymphedema.

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/menwithlymphedema/

Subscribe: menwithlymphedema-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Pat O'Connor

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Join us as we work for lymphedema patients everywehere:

Advocates for Lymphedema

Dedicated to be an advocacy group for lymphedema patients. Working towards education, legal reform, changing insurance practices, promoting research, reaching for a cure.

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/AdvocatesforLymphedema/

Subscribe: AdvocatesforLymphedema-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Pat O'Connor

Lymphedema People / Advocates for Lymphedema

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Lymphedema People - On Line Support Groups

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Children with Lymphedema

The time has come for families, parents, caregivers to have a support group of their own. Support group for parents, families and caregivers of chilren with lymphedema. Sharing information on coping, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. Sponsored by Lymphedema People.

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/childrenwithlymphedema/

Subscribe: childrenwithlymphedema-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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Lipedema Lipodema Lipoedema

No matter how you spell it, this is another very little understood and totally frustrating conditions out there. This will be a support group for those suffering with lipedema/lipodema. A place for information, sharing experiences, exploring treatment options and coping.

Come join, be a part of the family!

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/lipedema_lipodema_lipoedema/?yguid=209645515

Subscribe: lipedema_lipodema_lipoedema-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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MEN WITH LYMPHEDEMA

If you are a man with lymphedema; a man with a loved one with lymphedema who you are trying to help and understand come join us and discover what it is to be the master instead of the sufferer of lymphedema.

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/menwithlymphedema/

Subscribe: menwithlymphedema-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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All About Lymphangiectasia

Support group for parents, patients, children who suffer from all forms of lymphangiectasia. This condition is caused by dilation of the lymphatics. It can affect the intestinal tract, lungs and other critical body areas.

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/allaboutlymphangiectasia/

Subscribe: allaboutlymphangiectasia-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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Lymphatic Disorders Support Group @ Yahoo Groups

While we have a number of support groups for lymphedema... there is nothing out there for other lymphatic disorders. Because we have one of the most comprehensive information sites on all lymphatic disorders, I thought perhaps, it is time that one be offered.

DISCRIPTION

Information and support for rare and unusual disorders affecting the lymph system. Includes lymphangiomas, lymphatic malformations, telangiectasia, hennekam's syndrome, distichiasis, Figueroa
syndrome, ptosis syndrome, plus many more. Extensive database of information available through sister site Lymphedema People.

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/lymphaticdisorders/

Subscribe: lymphaticdisorders-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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All About Lymphangiectasia Yahoo Support Group

Support group for parents, patients, children who suffer from all forms of lymphangiectasia. This condition is caused by dilation of the lymphatics. It can affect the intestinal tract, lungs and other critical body areas.

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/allaboutlymphangiectasia/

Subscribe: allaboutlymphangiectasia-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

This page updated Nov. 29, 2011

Home page: Lymphedema People

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com