Lymphedema affects 2.5 million people in the U.S. and is a progressive condition of chronic swelling that usually affects the arms and legs, but can also affect other parts of the body.
It is caused by insufficient or damaged lymph pathways that transport excess fluid from around the cells back into the circulation. Insufficient lymph vessels can result from a birth defect or an overworked system, while damage can result from trauma, surgery, cancer, cancer treatments, or infections due to parasites.
Complications may result from the presence of stagnant, protein rich fluid around the cells that provides a positive culture medium for bacteria growth; impedes wound healing; increases tissue size and decreases oxygen availability, putting those individuals with lymphedema at an increased risk for infection, injury, deformity, and disability. While there is no cure for lymphedema, there is a treatment option that provides effective relief and long-term management of the condition, a news release said.
Nevada Regional Medical Center is now offering complete decongestive therapy through its Wound and Skin Management Center. CDT is considered the gold standard in lymphedema therapy, the release said.
This therapy can provide the following benefits to its patients:
* Pain relief
* Restoration of normal or near normal limb size and shape
* Increased mobility
* Softening of tissue
* Infection prevention
* Improved quality of life
Complete decongestive therapy has two phases of treatment that focus on:
* Skin care to minimize the risk of infection
* Manual lymph drainage to re-route excess fluid to functional pathways
* Compression wrapping/garments to restore size/shape
* Basic exercise to maximize treatment and improve function
* Patient education/empowerment
"Lymphedema is a chronic disease that requires lifelong management. With CDT we work with the patients, who have to be active participants in the care and treatment of their condition, to give them an improved quality of life," Suzanne Rodgers, lymphedema therapist at NRMC, said in the release.
For more information on this service, call the Wound and Skin Management Center at (417) 448-3603.