ARM AND LEG SWELLING
Edema, Oedema, Fluid Retention, Water Retention, Swollen Leg, Lymphedema, Lymphoedema
Arm and Leg Swelling
Arm and leg swelling 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.
Temporary Arn or Leg Swelling
This temporary arm or leg 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. This may also be an part of the inflammatory response your body goes through it trying to protect and heal the leg from the cause of the trauma.
Long Term Arm or Leg Swelling.
Long term arm or leg 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 Arm or Leg Swelling
****In the situation of any permanent leg swelling whether the cause is known or unknown, the diagnoses of lymphedema must be considered****
There are several groups of people who experience leg swelling from known causes, but it doesn’t go away or unknown causes where the swelling can actually get worse as time goes by.
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.
Another extremely large group that experiences permanent leg swelling are cancer patients, people who are morbidly obese, or those with the condition called lepedema. 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 consists of people who have leg 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 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 potentially life threatening complications. Treatments should NOT include the use of diuretics or what is referred to as debulking surgeries.