Monday, August 27, 2007

Lymphedema Social Security Disability SSI - Applying for Disability

For information on the Social Security Disability and SSI programs (including information as to how the system works, how determinations are made, how appeals should be filed, and, generally, which types of mistakes to avoid, you may wish to click the link above that leads to Disability

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What follows is information on Lymphedema:

Generally, lymphedema is characterized by localized fluid retention in the upper and lower extremities, however in some individuals it may affect the head and neck. Although lympedema may be caused by hereditary factors such as elephantiasis or vascular abnormalities, the most common cause of lymphedema is cancer treatment that involves lymph node removal.

Individuals who have received cancer treatment may not experience lymphedema for months or even years after treatment. It has been theorized that the onset of secondary lymphedema (cancer related) may be triggered by air travel, due to compression changes within the cabin.

Lymphedema affects both men and women, however it affects women most often in the upper extremities (breast cancer) and men more often in the lower extremities (prostate, colon, and rectal cancer). Studies have indicated that women with lymphedema who wear the correct sleeve and gauntlet during flight have far less swelling.

Individuals diagnosed with lymphedema must receive treatment to prevent serious infections such cellulitis, lymphangitis, skin ulcers, and lymphadenitis within the affected areas. If lymphedema is not properly treated it may result in further damage to the lymphatic system, consequently individuals with lymphedema should recognize the symptoms of infection and seek immediate treatment for the infection.

Treatment options for individuals affected with Lymphedema include properly fitted compression bandages, Sequential Gradient Pump Therapy and Complete Decongestion Therapy (manual lymphatic fluid removal, exercises, and skin care). Additionally, there are some surgical techniques that have been used to treat lymphedema by removing the damaged lymphatic tissue or by bridging obstructed lymphatic areas with grafts.

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