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The Lowdown on Lymphedema

As you may know, lymphedema is a common disease affecting approximately 1 in 1000 Americans. But what exactly is lymphedema?

Lymphedema is a condition that occurs when your lymphatic system is unable to effectively drain away lymph fluid. Typically, this results in excess fluid remaining in the fatty tissues just beneath the skin. Typical areas of the body that are affected are the arms and legs, but sometimes the face and neck can be affected as well. Many factors can cause the condition, the most prevalent being cancer surgery, especially when lymph nodes are excised. Radiation therapy can also contribute to lymphedema as well as other health disorders such as eczema, arthritis and vascular disease.

Not only that, lymphedema can be classified as “primary” and “secondary.” Primary lymphedema is inherited and happens on its own through genetic coding. Secondary lymphedema is always the unwelcome result of another condition such as previous surgery, trauma, cancer infection, etc..

Primary lymphedema is less common than secondary lymphedema. Some examples of primary lymphedema are Milroy’s disease, Meige’s disease and late-onset lymphedema, which typically occurs after age 35.

Secondary lymphedema is far more common due to the vat number of medical conditions that can cause it, such as age, excess body weight and Rheumatoid arthritis. Lymphedema in your arm or leg can lead to serious complications, such as bacterial skin infections (cellulitis) and infections of the lymph vessels (lymphangitis). In more serious cases, a rare form of soft tissue cancer (lymphangiosarcoma) can result if lymphedema goes untreated.

 

What can be done to treat Lymphedema?

One of the methods in treating early stages of lymphedema is the use of graduated compression stockings. Worn over the affected area or limb, compression stockings are medical-grade devices designed to assist blood flow and drainage of lymphatic fluid in the feet, ankles and legs. The levels of compression can range from mild to extra firm support.

Another way to assist the lymphatic system is through the use of dietary supplements. Widely used in Europe, diosmin has been used to support patients with dysfunction of the lymph system and blood vessels. Diosmin has been shown to strengthen the walls of blood vessels and offer relief from venous-related conditions such as hemorrhoids, leg ulcers and chronic venous insufficiency.

Other supplements that aid in the fight against lymphedema include selenium and vitamin D3.

Selenium is a mineral that naturally occurs in soil, water and some foods such as Brazil nuts, pork, beef and whole wheat among others. It is believed that selenium has strong antioxidant properties and plays an important role in the body’s overall metabolism and immune support.

Vitamin D, is a fat-soluble compound created when our skin is exposed to sunlight. Its importance in the fight against lymphedema cannot be overstated. Inflammation is by far one of the most outwardly visible symptoms of lymphedema, and there is ample evidence that shows vitamin D deficiency contributes to higher levels of inflammation in the body. Therefore, vitamin D in your system, helps control inflammation.

Diosmin is a naturally occurring compound which falls in a class of polyphenols called bioflavonoids.

 

What is a bioflavonoid?

You know that fibrous white stuff between the peel and fruit of an orange? It’s called ‘pith’ and this is the origin of the bioflavonoid, diosmin. In small-scale studies, diosmin was shown to reduce secondary swelling caused by radiation treatment in breast cancer patients, as well as increase lymphatic contractions and microcirculation in the body. In fact, diosmin increased lymphatic migration speed by six times in comparison to control groups in these small-scale studies.

Other benefits of diosmin include the reduction of swelling in the ankles and calves, and the symptoms of restless leg syndrome.

 

Where can I get a dietary supplement that is rich in bioflavonoids? 

VItasupportMD, the leader in bioflavonoids, manufactures a remarkable product called “Lymphatic Formula” which is a unique combination of selenium, vitamin D3 and diosmin that was specifically formulated for individuals with lymphedema, lipedema, Dercum’s disease, and edema (swelling of the legs).

Created by a Board-Certified cardiovascular surgeon, one bottle is a two-month supply. And since it is micronized, it is more readily absorbed into the bloodstream and therefore more beneficial than non-micronized formulations one may find elsewhere in the marketplace.

VitasupportMD’s line of bioflavonoid-rich dietary supplements can help your patients who might be suffering from venous and lymphatic conditions and we invite you to view our product line at www.vitasupportmd.com to see if our supplements can benefit your practice and your patients. All VitasupportMD dietary supplement capsules are gluten-free, non-GMO, vegetarian and manufactured in USA in FDA-registered facilities.