Lymphedema is a swelling of a body part, most often an extremity, caused by the abnormal accumulation of lymph fluid. It can also occur in the face, neck, abdomen and lung. Although it is a chronic and progressive condition, it can usually be brought under control by good care and attention to certain basic rules. Lymphedema is compatible with a normal and active lifestyle.
The condition most often causes a feeling of heaviness cosmetic deformity, slight discomfort, repeated episodes of infection (cellulitis and lymphagitis) and, in rare cases, malignant degeneration. Severe cases are associated with thickening of the skin, hardening of the limb, leakage of lymph and massive swelling (elephantiasis). Although many physicians think of lymphedema as a rare condition, it is, in fact, fairly common, affecting roughly one percent of the population of the USA.