Lack of treatment or ignorance of the symptoms may lead to complications of lymphedema. Lymphedema patients have a weakened immune system and are therefore prone to chronic illnesses besides encountering complications related to lymphedema itself. There may be a major impact on the daily activities of the individual due to the impairment of limbs affected by lyphedema. New documentation pertaining to the ailment has presented a whole new list of complications of lymphedema, of which some are given below:
1. Many lymphedema patients may suffer from recurring attacks of cellulitis, a skin infection, as well as lymphangitis, a swelling of the lymph nodes.
2. Scarring of the skin is common when lymphedema wounds are drained because the fluid is acidic.
3. Lymphedema patients may lose muscle tissue which may cause a severe pain. Pressure on the nerves due to fluid buildup might also be a cause for pain in the affected area.
4. There can be severe loss of function and mobility in a lymphedema patient. Disfigurement is another probability that the patient may have to encounter.
5. Dealing with the stress and coping with the debilitation can have a serious effect on the psyche of the individual suffering from lymphedema. Depression caused as a result can be termed as one more complication of lymphedema.
6. Spread of infection in a lymphedema patient may cause complications like gangrene where it may become necessary to amputate the limb.
7. The swelling may cause deep vein thrombosis or blood clotting. This could also be on account of cellulitis or lymphangitis.
8. Lymphedema patients are persistently encountering skin-related complications like cracked skin or plaque. They are also very vulnerable to bacterial infection.
9. Lymphangiosarcoma is a type of cancer seen as a complication of lymphedema. Similarly, angiosarcoma which is cancer of soft tissues is also seen in lymphedema patients.
10. Hereditary lymphedema patients are at a higher risk of contracting lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph glands.
Lymphedema patients must get any infection treated promptly. This may help to avoid the vicious cycle that takes place with recurring attacks of infection that lowers the immunity and leaves the person prone to infection yet again. Phenoxymethyl penicillin 500mg is usually the antibiotic prescribed by doctors for the treatment of infection.
A cut or crack in the skin may lead to inflammation and the infection may travel to the lymphatic system. As the skin is the entry point for any infection, it is advisable to take proper care to prevent injury to the skin. It is important to handle any prickly or sharp items with utmost care. Skin hygiene is very important to prevent infections. A regular check up from a doctor ensures that any infection is attended to quickly thus avoiding complications of lymphedema.