What is edema?
Edema is a visible and palpable swelling of the skin caused by engorgement as a result of insufficient lymph (fluid) drainage. This accumulation of fluid leads to an increase in size in the relevant body area.
For various reasons, temporary or chronic, lymphatic drainage in the body can no longer function properly. Think of a congenital defect of the lymphatic system (primary), postoperative fluid accumulation (secondary) or venous as a result of varicose veins..
We distinguish high-protein and low-protein edema. An example of this is venous edema. Lymphedema is an example of protein-rich edema.
If edema is not treated, various pathological skin problems can arise, such as itching, scars, pigmentation abnormalities, scaling, and fibrosis. Specific to lymphedema, the following skin problems can occur: papillomatosis, verrucosis, elephantiasis. It is therefore very important that the skin is intact to prevent infection (erysipelas or wound rose). The bacteria can permanently attack the lymphatic vessels, which makes the treatment of edema even more difficult. The treating skin therapist will advise you on home skin care.
Fluid build-up can cause many limitations and pain in daily life if it is not recognized in time. At Huidmedzorg we have been studying the different types of edema for years and years. Read about the edema treatments at Huidmedzorg.
More information about lymphedema and lipedema can be found on the website of the Dutch Association for Lymphedema and Lipedema.
Lymphedema often develops as a result of cancer treatment. The lymph nodes are removed when the tumor has spread or they are damaged during surgery or radiation. Damaged lymph nodes can no longer function optimally. Edema begins to develop near the damage. Theoretically, it can happen on all parts of the body, but in practice it is most common in the arms or legs.