Lymphedema is a condition which is caused by a blockage in the lymphatic system, and it results in the building up the fluid which is thus prevented from draining well, and this causes the swelling. Since this condition usually affects just one arm or one leg, the swelling is also located in that region. However, it is not impossible that both of the extremities will be affected.
Unfortunately, at least for now, the cure for this condition has not been found yet. Some symptoms, such as reducing the swelling, for example, can be treated, and painkillers may be used in order to control the pain, but lymphedema is definitely not a curable disease. The great majority of the available treatment options is focused on helping the lymph to move out of the affected arm or leg. Some treatments may be combined, in order to increase the effectiveness, but only in cases when a person does not suffer from high blood pressure, heart failure, blood clots, infections or diabetes.
Some light, not strenuous exercises which consist of gentle muscle contractions, will encourage the lymph fluid to move out of the limb, and wrapping of the affected limb with bandages, should also encourage the lymph fluid to do the same. The lymphedema therapist will show the patient some of the method of wrapping which are the best, because it should be loosely wrapped, except around the fingers and toes. Massages can also be of help, especially the one which is called manual lymph drainage, because it is well-known to encourages the lymph fluid to be removed from your arm or leg. It is important to stress out that this kind of the massage is not for everybody, especially for the people with blood clots, some kind of a heart condition, or active cancer. There are compression garments, which are actually long stockings or sleeves intended to compress the leg or arm. They can be recommended even after the swelling is reduced, in order to prevent them in the future. Pneumatic compression is also a part of the possible treatment, and it requires wearing the special sleeve over the affected limb, and the pump to which it is connected inflates that sleeve. The pressure helps in reducing the swelling and removing the lymph fluid from out of your body.
In extreme cases, the excess tissue can be removed surgically, but however, lymphedema will not be cured this way, but only controlled to some extent.