View Full Version : Just figured ot what is wrong with my friend
Feb 16, 2004, 05:26 AM
I was watching Dr Phil and an obese woman mentioned she has lymphedema...I immediatly did an internet search and determined my friend has second stage lymphedema...Drs say she is fat and the swelling will go down when she looses weight...no one dr diaganosed this correctly....so now what is he next step? Is there a specialist who knows how to treat this? How can I help direct her....she is so down on herself and the medical community..... Renee in South Florida
Feb 16, 2004, 08:28 AM
I am a physical therapist as well as a lymphedema therapist, and just wanted to respond to your post about what your friend should do next.
Of course it is impossible to make a diagnosis about your friend's condition without having seen her or knowing her history, but it sounds as if she may indeed have lymphedema. The first step is to have either a lymphedema therapist or a physician confirm the diagnosis. There are links on this site that can help you to find a qualified lymphedema therapist in your area, and I'd also be happy to help you if you'd like to respond to me directly. I would also recommend a physician rule out any other obvious causes of leg swelling (blood clot, congestive heart failure, malignant growth) prior to pursuing lymphedema treatment.
Unfortunately, the medical community does not yet have a solid understanding of how being overweight contributes to developing lymphedema, or if having lymphedema causes overweight. We do know that the more "extra" weight your body is carrying, the more area there is for your lymphatic system to service, which can lead to swelling if the lymph system is overloaded. Also, obese persons who develope a "hanging" or "pendulous" stomach may actually be cutting off circulation at the lymph nodes in their groin region, which can cause leg swelling. So being at an ideal weight is always helpful when trying to manage lymphedema.
However, if you friend is like the dozens of obese patients with lymphedema with whom I've worked, she's caught in a viscious "Catch-22"...lose weight so the edema will decrease...but how can an obese person lose weight if they are carrying large amounts of edema in their legs? Lymphedema in the legs can be very painful and make exercise near impossible. Getting treatment for the leg swelling can make the legs much more comfortable, which then allows the person to pursue an exercise program that promotes weight loss.
Please look under the "Lymphedema Information" link from the main page here, and then click on "Lymphedema Treatment Methods" if you are interested in what is involved in lymphedema treatment. You can then browse under "Seeking Lymphedema Treatment" to help find a treatment center/therapist near you. Please feel free to post here or email me directly any further questions you may have. Hopefully we can find your friend the help she needs!
P.S. - You are the third person I've heard reference the Dr. Phil episode where he is trying to help an obese woman who has lymphedema. I am THRILLED that lymphedema is getting this type of national exposure! Thanks for sharing.
Dec 16, 2004, 07:16 AM
Hi im silkie i have Primary lymphedema 54 i live in the Uk
have waited 40 years for someone to finally realise what was wrong .
Id like to talk about Dr Phil . i think hes great helping overweight people. However a word of caution. I have many friends in the USA with lymph, I know of the young lady who has done so well losing the weight Fantastic. Im so pleased for her.but the excercise regime that she did could have caused so much damage
High impact excercise is not good for lymph.
It can actually damage the lymph system even more.
Water excercise low impact exsercise and yoga all are ok with lymph.
Friends in the states wrote to doctor phil about this
they are still waiting for replys
Please look to the theropists your doctors, the support groups are full of good infomation about exercise But dont do the excercises that are hi impact
thanks for listening silkie xxxxx
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