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Lymphatic diseases

The Lymph Node

Lymphatic diseases range from mild congestion to malignant lymphoma. The most common disorder is lymphatic insufficiency, or lymph edema, which is a swelling that occurs when damaged lymph vessels can't drain fluid. The lymphatic system is important because it picks up fluid that is lost from the circulatory system and returns it. It is the first line of defense against disease and infection and it absorbs fats from food in the gastrointestinal tract.


Symptoms of lymphatic diseases may include swelling, especially of the feet and legs or arms. Enlarged lymph nodes, inflammation, breakdown of skin tissue and trauma may be noticed. The lymph system may be involved with ear infections, chest, breast and other infections as well. Fatigue, localized fluid retention, skin discoloration and sometimes deformity may occur. In lymphoma, anemia, upset stomach and a change in bowel movements may also be noted. Some things that may indicate you need to care for your lymph system include being overweight, bloating, abdominal pressure, have cellulite, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus or multiple sclerosis.


Some lymph disorders are hereditary, and some are due to injury. They can also be caused by some medications like Tamoxifen, or by surgery, parasitic infections and cancer.


Severe cases of lymphatic diseases like elephantiasis may eventually lead to deformity or venous insufficiency.

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