What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Lymphedema?


Quick Answer

Signs and symptoms of lymphedema include swelling of the arms, legs, toes or fingers, according to the National Cancer Institute. Other symptoms include a feeling of tightness in the skin, arms or legs that feel heavy or full, and difficulty moving the joint in an arm or leg.

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Full Answer

People with lymphedema often experience a thickening of the skin, which may or may not be accompanied with changes such as warts or blisters, states the National Cancer Institute. The swelling causes clothing or accessories to feel tighter than usual. Lymphedema sometimes causes a burning feeling in the legs or itchiness in the legs or toes. People with lymphedema often lose their hair, and they have difficulty sleeping at night.

Symptoms happen slowly over time, or they are hastened by an infection, notes the National Cancer Institute. An infection can be caused by an injury to the arms or legs. Some symptoms of lymphedema are caused by other diseases or conditions, so it is important to speak to a doctor about them if they occur.

Lymphedema symptoms often disrupt professional or social obligations, states the National Cancer Institute. There are three stages associated with lymphedema, and the symptoms vary depending on the severity of the disease. In the final stages, limbs become swollen to a very large size.

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