Like several other diseases, lymphedema has stages characterizing its development. The first stage is considered spontaneously reversible which is why it is generally referred to as the reversible lymphedema stage. The second stage is known as spontaneously irreversible lymphedema while the third stage is referred to simply as irreversible lymphedema.
The first stage of lymphedema is controllable. Often, it is difficult to diagnose this sickness because the limb still looks normal. Yet, once the affected area is tested with pressure, like pressing it down, the skin doesn’t bounce back immediately. Instead, an indention is temporarily left on the skin’s surface known as pitting edema. This is caused by the protein-rich fluid that is retained in the tissues. The fluid however, known as lymph, has not yet hardened. People with reversible lymphedema may also experience the tightening of certain worn articles like watches, rings, anklets and shoes. Once these symptoms are noted, you must consult a doctor right away.
For temporary relief of reversible lymphedema, you can raise your limbs while sleeping. Do this by placing a stack of pillows underneath the affected area. Patients should also avoid extreme weather conditions like cold or hot temperatures. If you have lymphedema, you should also exercise moderately and maintain a low-sodium diet. You should drink lots and lots of water to flush out the toxins in the body and avoid caffeine and alcohol.
Fruits and vegetables that are not canned are also recommended. According to doctors, one wrong food choice can lead to more edema and cause increase swelling. Compression bandages may also be used to lessen the swelling and help increase circulation. In addition, a special type of massage is regularly done to patients to drain the retained fluid at the affected area.
If you are experiencing reversible lymphedema, it’s best that you avoid complications by practicing good skin hygiene. Remember, if it’s not treated immediately the disease may progress to the second stage. This usually happens after a term of 3 months when it is then considered as chronic.
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