Leg Heaviness with lymphedema

What is Leg Heaviness with Swelling & Lymphedema

Lymphedema is a very common diagnosis of exclusion among patient with leg swelling.  There are many underlying medical conditions that cause lymphedema and having a through primary care practicioneer can most often find the cause.  However, may patients do present with leg swelling and edema that often goes mis-diagnosed. 

Lymphedema is a protein driven problem.  One of the jobs of the lymphatic system is to move large protein molecules that are created when cells make energy.  Some of the molecules created are too large to be picked up by the circulation and if the system is damaged, protein molecules will stay in the tissues and attract fluid, causing swelling and “lymphedema”.  Lymphedema can be either primary or secondary.  In Primary Lymphedema you are born with an insufficiency that may present itself at birth, around puberty, or later in life.  Secondary Lymphedema is caused by a medical condition such as cancer treatment (lymph node removal, scarring from surgery, radiation), trauma, blood clots, venous disorders, cellulitis, and obesity. If your lymphedema is the result of an underlying venous condition, then we can assist in treating this condition.