Q. Are there different kinds of lymphedema?
Yes. Lymphedema is associated with both a primary and secondary type. Primary lymphedema typically stems from a malformation of the lymphatic system. Secondary lymphedema most commonly occurs from an injury, scarring, excision, and/or radiation therapy of the lymph nodes. Mastectomies and venous insufficiency — poor or impaired flow of venous blood from the legs and feet to the heart — are other causes.
Q. How is lymphedema treated?
Treatment is non-invasive with an approach known as “Complete Decongestive Therapy,” or CDT for short. There are four components to this kind of therapy, including manual lymph drainage, compression therapy, decompression exercises, and skin care. Education is also critical in not only helping patients understand the nature of lymphedema, but in helping them identify the signs and symptoms of infection.
Q. Can any health care professional provide lymphedema therapy?
No! Doctors, nurses and therapists who treat lymphedema must be specially certified. Certification includes at least a 135-hour course. Upon completion of the certification and one year of experience in lymphedema, the clinician becomes eligible to sit for a special exam to earn the proper credentials. Empathy Care’s clinicians include two certified professionals with years of patient experience, expertise, and a genuine empathy for people with whom they work.
Q. Where can I learn more about lymphedema?
There are a number of resources available on the Internet. One that you might find particularly useful is the National Lymphedema Network