Published: 05/28/2008 - Updated: 06/24/2016
What is lymphedema? To give a simple idea of what this is, there is the lymphatic system, which consists of a network of tissues, organs and vessel walls much thinner than that of veins. These ducts contain lymphocytes (white blood cells) involved in fighting diseases and infections. Muscles and valves within these thin walls near the surface of the skin help to collect fluids and proteins from tissues throughout the body through a colorless fluid called lymph, which are deposited into the bloodstream.
The lymph is slowly transported through lymphatic vessels, and its route crosses small bean-shaped structures to which they are called lymph nodes. The lymph nodes filter out harmful or toxic substances from the body and activate the immune system (defense) of the body. When there are large proteins or other compounds that cannot be transported, stick to the walls of the veins may reach a cumulative, and after a time form lumps (edema), and as a blockage in the lymphatic system. When this happens, the lymph node will accumulate in fatty tissue (adipose), which is located underneath the skin (dermis), giving rise to the so-called lymphedema, a problem that, when it affects the lower limbs, feet ankles and legs tend to swell.
This usually happens especially in pregnancy, when there is excess during the menstrual period, to remain standing long time or when there is hot weather. It mainly affects women and symptoms, in addition to swelling, are the high temperature in this area, and a higher sensitivity.
There are several types of lymphedemas, the primary ones, which can occur at any stage of life, in that category are placed those caused by obstruction of the lymph node that occurs in adolescence due to hormonal imbalances that the body undergoes at this stage of life, and often disappear once the body is stabilized.
The secondary lymphedema result from a blockage or interruption in the lymphatic system, which is usually given in armpits, and may be due to infection, cancer or scar tissue resulting from surgery (usually occur in women who were removed for a breast tumor), radiation, and so on.
The tertiary lymphedema often occurs after an insect bite or a minor burn injury, the affected area often appear swollen, sensitive and very hot to the touch. In this case it is advisable to lift the member and the administration of a therapy or cure for its improvement.
The development of lymphedema can be due to several reasons, among which are:
Cellulite: This condition is characterized by the formation of large lumps and irregular deposits of fat in areas such as thighs, hips and buttocks. Cellulite is the result of the veins located in these regions losing tone and elasticity, which causes the blood to not flow smoothly and that the cells are not fed as they should be. When the accumulation of excess fat or is abnormal, destroys collagen and elastin (elements that help keep skin smooth and firm), and this is what causes sagging. If this does not correct the problem, it worsens with age, especially if it is sedentary lifestyles, poor diet, high in fiber and low in saturated fat.
Another of the causes of lymphedema is overweight and radiotherapy that is used to fight cancer in certain regions, which can affect the lymph nodes in areas surrounding the affected area.
- Moving: active physical activity and healthy circulatory system and thus becomes more fluid movement of the lymph.
- Avoid cellulite: the detection before the appearance of cellulite is the best remedy to combat it. If you feel pain or heaviness in the limbs, if there is redness, swelling or loss of strength in feet and hands, try to keep leaning on a diet low or no saturated fat, avoid at all costs fries, sausages, milk cows and their derivatives. We must immediately start a routine of exercise like running, swimming or dancing, and it is getting to be a table somewhere inclined by at least 20 minutes a day, so the gravity against allowing a vessel movement fluid and vigorous.
- Avoid overweight: Bring a diet low in animal protein and remove the white sugar. On the other hand, increase consumption of fiber, water and fresh vegetables.
- To control nuisance and prevent lymphedema: it is further recommended the lymphatic massage, which must be implemented by specialized physiotherapists, with the aim of draining the lymphatic ducts in the skin.