Posted by: patoconnor | October 29, 2008

Real People Real Complications of Lymphedema

Real People Real Complications of Lymphedema

Perhaps after Barbara’s article,  it is time to post some illustrations of what really does happen to those of us with lymphedema.

Think this doesn’t apply to you?

Remember if you have ever had any of these experiences you are at risk and a possible victim of lymphedema:

 

1.) Lymph node removal for biopsies

2.) Serious infections that include lymphangitis, cellulitis or erysipelas.

3.) Deep invasive wounds that might tear, cut or damage the lymphatics.   

4.) Radiation treatments, especially ones that are focused in areas that might contain “clusters” of lymph nodes

5.) Morbid obesity can cause secondary lymphedema by “crushing” the lymphatics

6.) Serious burns, even intense sunburn 

7.) Infection of the microscopic parasite filarial larvae, though this is more common in tropical countries

8.) For primary lymphedema any person who has a family history of unknown swelling of a limb

9.) Spider or insect bites

10.) Surgeries that cut or damage the lymph system.

COMPLICATIONS

 

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. I just had surgery for this as my lungs continue now to fill up every three weeks. Hopefully, the surgery can prevent it.        

      

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

                                             

Elephantiasis nostras verrucosa     Lymphomatoid Papulosis        Hyperkeratosis, Papillomatosis

11. Chronic localized inflammations.

                   

 

 

12. Angiosarcoma, a cancer of the soft tissues

    

Cancers – New research is indicating that those of us with lonh standing lymphedema run a 1 in 10 risk factor for these cancers

13. Lymphangiosarcoma which is a rapidly progressive, non curable cancer of long term lymphedema  patients.  Almost always fatal within six months of diagnosis

14. Lymphoma, new research indicates a possibility of this with hereditary lymphedema.  I have been diagnosed with two forms of lymphoma.     

                                                                                                               Skin lymphoma

15. Kaposi’s Sarcoma, another cancer that can and does arise from lymphedema.

16. Septic arthritis  – type of arthritis triggered/caused by systemic infections, cancers and more

                       
Septic arthritis in knee                Septic arthritis in hand


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