Lymphedema Life Expectancy | Life After Lymphedema Diagnosis

Are you wondering about life quality and expectancy after being diagnosed with lymphedema? 

Lymphedema occurs due to obstruction in your lymph nodes that further hinders fluid from flowing and ultimately causes swelling or edema. About 140 to 150 million people are affected by lymphedema globally, and 1 out of 1000 people in the US. 

Managing lymphedema is essential to maintaining quality of life. Dig into this article to learn about life after lymphedema diagnosis!

Lymphedema

Life After Lymphedema Diagnosis

Lymphedema is a chronic condition, and living with it can be painful. If left untreated, it can result in serious consequences. Filariasis is one of the common causes of lymphedema and is estimated to affect around 200 million people globally. 

Either it is congenital, or it can be diagnosed later in life with no apparent cause. It usually affects the lower or upper extremities, head, neck, genitals, and breasts. Due to swelling, patients with lymphedema experience pain along with restricted range of motion, difficulty performing activities of daily living, difficulty in walking, depression, or anxiety. 

Some of the problems you can face after being diagnosed with lymphedema are mentioned below:

Functional Limitation

Lymphedema causes functional disability due to pain, heaviness, limited range of motion, infection, or impaired wound healing. The disabilities of arm, shoulder, and hand (DASH) questionnaire is used to assess functional disability of the upper extremity. The lower extremity functional scale (LEFS) is used to evaluate functional disability of the lower extremity. 

Psychological Impact

Patients with lymphedema experience psychological disturbance due to various reasons. 

The functional limitation usually results in decreased social interaction, depression, or anxiety. The chronicity of the condition causes frustration and loss of comfort. The psychological toll on mental health results in social anxiety, low confidence, and low self-esteem. 

According to research, 27% of people avoid social interaction, and 20% do not meet their friends.

Obesity

Bodily changes occur after lymphedema. An impaired lymphatic system due to lymph node dissection or abnormal lymphatic system development can trigger the deposition of adipose tissues by activating adipose differentiation genes, causing obesity

Impact On Skin

People with lymphedema usually complain of tight skin. The affected part of the body feels heavy, and jewelry or clothes may feel highly fitted. The skin may look thick or leathery.  

Restrict Ability To Work Or Employability:

Lymphedema significantly negatively impacts work and career, resulting In reduced ability to work due to the limited function of the affected extremity. However, emotional stress was also observed in people due to the visibility of the condition and career worries.  

Weakness And Fatigue

People with lower extremity lymphedema experience dyspnea, reduced physical activity, and fatigue. Prolonged standing or walking aggravates these symptoms. 

Sexual Dysregulation:

People with genital lymphedema may experience discomfort and pain in the genital region. These symptoms are specifically experienced in penile-scrotal lymphedema. However, only 0.6% of people worldwide suffer from genital lymphedema. 

How To Manage Life After Lymphedema Diagnosis

Being diagnosed with lymphedema does not mean the end of life. You can manage your lymphatic system and prevent its complications by following the tips below. 

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Manual lymphatic drainage is a technique in which lymphatic fluid is drained into the bloodstream and facilitates its movement into tissues. It helps relieve swelling and pain associated with lymphedema. However, it is only performed by specialists.

Take Care Of Your Diet

Diet plays a crucial role in managing lymphedema. Carbohydrates, refined sugar, caffeine, and alcohol trigger fluid accumulation, leading to edema. 

Exercise

Physical activity and exercise have shown great improvement in the quality of life of people with lymphedema. Exercise encourages lymphatic fluid drainage by unblocking the lymphatic system. You can practice a headstand with your legs supported by the wall. This will encourage the flow towards the heart, which will drain successfully. 

Dry Brushing

Dry brushing is a technique in which a bristle brush is rubbed on dry skin to encourage lymphatic fluid drainage. During dry brushing, your sweat glands are stimulated, and the pores on your skin open, allowing the toxins to get out of your body through sweating and ultimately correcting the lymphatic flow. 

Avoid Tight-Fitted Clothes During Sleeping

Tight clothes may hinder lymphatic flow and trigger swelling and edema. Your body detoxifies the lymphatic system naturally when you are sleeping. Tight clothes may allow toxins to stay in your body, leading to illness and infection. Therefore, it is recommended to wear loose clothes while sleeping. 

Wear Compression Garment

Wearing compression stockings or multilayer bandages helps release lymphatic fluid into circulation. This decreases swelling and prevents further complications associated with lymphedema. 

Lymphedema Life Expectancy

Life after lymphedema diagnosis is challenging, and there is no cure if the disease advances. However, daily maintenance is essential to manage symptoms and live a healthy life. 

Lymphedema is a lifelong disease, but it is not life-threatening until you follow the proper measures to prevent its complications, like cellulitis, fungal infection of the skin, elephantiasis, etc. However, if the condition worsens, leading to the development of lymphangiosarcoma, then life expectancy may reduce from a few months to two years. 

Living with lymphedema in the legs is more frustrating as it becomes an obstacle in everyday activities like walking. It also creates problems in employability, leading to career anxiety.

Where To Get Effective Therapy For Lymphedema In NYC:

Life after lymphedema diagnosis is not simple, yet it can be easy living with it if you manage its symptoms. So, MOCEAN is the right choice if you are looking for effective therapy!

At MOCEAN Wellness Center in NYC, our experts provide multiple therapies to help drain lymphatic fluid. Manual lymphatic drainage, compression therapy, and dry brushing are techniques that can unblock your lymphatic system.

The Bottom Line

Life after lymphedema diagnosis requires symptom management to maintain quality of life. It is a life-long disease that has no cure, and it leaves many physical and psychosocial impacts. However, it’s manageable. Lymphedema life expectancy reduces if a complication like lymphangiosarcoma occurs. 

Book your appointment at Mocean Longevity Center in NYC today to manage lymphedema symptoms!

Then we create a health plan tailored to your needs.

Based on the results, we develop a personalized treatment plan for each individual to promote optimal health. With 1-on-1 consultations, cutting-edge technology, and a team of experts who care about getting you better, MOCEAN offers you a comprehensive road map on how to become the healthiest version of yourself.