Sudden and unexplained swelling is always a cause of concern, especially given the variety of different causes that can trigger them. These causes can range from the easily treated to the ones that need immediate medical attention: and the difference between a good outcome and a bad one can be in how quickly the cause is identified.
So how do you know if it's lymphedema, chronic venous insufficiency, or pitting edema? While getting a medical expert to look you over should always be your first option, there are a few ways you can tell these conditions apart. While these signs should never be a substitute for a professional opinion, they can give you some idea of what to prepare for to manage your condition, especially after primary treatment.
Living with unwanted veins is a thing of the past, when you can simply schedule a free consultation with Vein Center Doctor and find your ideal solution today.
Lymphedema is a condition that's caused when your lymphatic system is unable to drain properly. Lymphatic drainage is crucial for getting rid of toxins, waste, and other fluids that your tissue doesn't need. These lymph vessels help keep your body's fluids balanced since they also help white blood cells get to the site of tissue that needs to fight off infection.
When your lymphatic drainage is working properly, the fluid flows without issue throughout your body. However, with a damaged lymphatic system, rapid accumulation of fluid occurs - and it's this excess lymphatic fluid that causes lymphedema.
Some of the possible causes of lymphatic obstruction include:
Obesity, age, and pre-existing conditions like arthritis can increase your risk of developing lymphedema but don’t directly cause it.
Symptoms for lymphedema can differ depending on how severe the patient's condition is. Some patients with lymphedema can experience mild to moderate symptoms immediately, while others (usually patients who've had cancer treatment) may not experience any symptoms until months or years after their cancer treatments.
Some signs to watch out for include:
Symptoms of lymphedema can often get worse over time, so it's important to get the right diagnosis of lymphedema as soon as you notice anything amiss - especially right after getting cancer treatment.
Unfortunately, there is no permanent cure for lymphedema. Most treatment options for this condition aim to reduce the symptoms as much as possible and prevent them from getting worse.
For early treatments for lymphedema, surgical options like lymph node transplantation or drainage connection can work - though these require some downtime for the patient to recover.
Pitting edema occurs when there's excess fluid build-up. Any fluid that's trapped in the tissue and isn't being drained properly can cause edema, and there are different types of edema that you can experience with a variety of causes. It can often be a sign of an issue with a certain area of your body, or it can be a systemic symptom with a specific organ group.
Pitting edema has many different causes - which can make its overall diagnosis and treatment difficult without a professional opinion. Since the majority of your body is made up of fluid, any condition that causes excess fluid production or improper fluid drainage has the possibility of triggering pitting edema.
Here are some of the more common causes of this condition:
Pregnancy, poor diet, and a sedentary lifestyle are also possible risks for you getting pitting edema, though these are not usually the cause.
The most obvious symptom of pitting edema is swelling right underneath the surface of the skin, which leaves an indentation or "pit" when pressed with a finger or pressure. Pitting edema differs from normal edema, which is usually caused by a problem with your lymphatic or thyroid system.
Some other symptoms to watch out for include:
Symptoms for pitting edema can often vary from mild to severe depending on what the underlying cause of your condition is, so always check in with a doctor.
Treatments for pitting edema usually target the underlying cause - in many cases, simply getting rid of the fluid itself won't be enough if it just pools again. Other treatments can also help manage the severity of your symptoms, while also preventing them from becoming much worse.
For more information about the best type of treatments to get for your specific condition, consult your medical provider.
Chronic venous insufficiency is when your veins aren't working properly - usually because the vein valves have failed to control the blood flow in your body. This causes blood to pool behind the valves instead of going to the heart, which causes widespread swelling and other complications.
Any condition that affects normal blood flow can cause CVI - even acute venous insufficiency can progress to this state if the original condition isn't treated immediately. Because of the conditions that can usually trigger chronic venous insufficiency (and the risk of adverse complications), it's crucial to get a diagnosis immediately.
Some causes to watch out for include:
Age, genetics, and smoking/drinking can also increase your risk of getting CVI, and may even worsen the symptoms.
CVI doesn't always manifest in symptoms - some patients can have it for years without any signs until it's already progressed into something serious. This makes catching it early extremely important since it's easier to treat.
Some symptoms to look out for include:
Symptoms for CVI can vary between patients depending on how severe their condition is; aside from extensive swelling, your symptoms can be easily mistaken for other venous conditions. For an accurate and immediate diagnosis, you should always consult with a doctor or healthcare provider before starting treatment.
Treatments for CVI will depend on how much the patient's condition has progressed. Usually, treatment aims to correct blood flow by either removing the venous obstruction, making the body more efficient at blood circulation, or helping the natural flow of blood by applying pressure to specific areas.
With consistent and skilled treatment, chronic venous insufficiency can be managed to the point where the patient can still live a comfortable life.
Swelling in the body can be explained by any number of conditions both serious and benign. No matter the reason, the first thing that patients should always do is to make sure what condition they have so they can get started on treatment as soon as possible. Patients risk developing adverse complications if they leave any of the conditions we've left above untreated - but they can also risk serious side effects if the wrong treatment is used for their condition.
Vein Center Doctor has years of experience in treating vascular diseases and vein disorders, with non-invasive yet effective treatments that offer long-term results. As trusted healthcare providers, we work with our patients to give them the results that they're looking for with the least risk and hassle to their bodies.
Reach out to us today and call 1-862-227-1054.
Find exactly what you need to get rid of your vein-related problems. Dr. Sood and the rest of our team at Vein Center Doctor are ready to help: schedule your free consultation today.
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