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Windber, PA 15963
Lymphedema is an abnormal buildup of lymphatic fluid in the arms, legs or other parts of the body, resulting in chronic, progressive swelling.
Under normal conditions, the lymphatic system collects extra fluid in the body and filters it before flowing back to the heart or being eliminated through the kidneys. In lymphedema, the fluid is unable to drain from a body area because the lymphatic system is impaired or damaged due to heredity, surgery, venous insufficiency, traumatic injury or cancer treatment.
Primary lymphedema, a genetic condition, can be present at birth or develop during puberty or in adulthood. Secondary, or acquired, lymphedema can develop as a result of cancer surgery, orthopedic or general surgery, radiation treatment, venous insufficiency, chronic obesity, medication side-effects, or trauma. When lymph nodes are removed, there is always a risk of developing lymphedema. The start of symptoms can also be due to multiple health factors that deteriorate the system’s ability to function over time. Lymphedema can develop immediately or be diagnosed weeks, months and even years after the system has been impaired. If you suspect any of the symptoms listed below, discuss treatment potential with your doctor. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment improve both the current condition and your future health.
Symptoms may include:
Lymphedema Therapy is a program offered through CSSMCW’s Occupational Therapy Department. An occupational therapist with advanced training and certification in lymphedema establishes a plan of care using the methods of Complex Lymphatic Therapy (CLT). Goals of treatment include improvements in swelling, pain, skin abnormalities, mobility and daily function/activity.
All patients must be referred for therapy by a physician. Prior medical treatment by a physician is recommended if you are newly diagnosed with one of the following conditions: Deep vein thrombosis (DVT/blood clot), congestive heart failure (CHF), kidney failure, infection and active cancer.
The following components may be used in the treatment of lymphedema: