ZocdocAnswersCan obesity cause lymphedema?

Question

Can obesity cause lymphedema?

Hello. I'm 29 and considered obese. Could this be why I developed lymphedema?

Answer

Lymphedema is a common problem. This, unfortunately, can also be very troubling and ultimately dangerous to your overall health. I would recommend that you discuss this with your primary care physician. If required, he or she could refer you to a nutritionist or dietician to help you with your weight. In addition, he or she could refer you to a vascular surgeon or vascular medicine expert to help directly address the lymphedema. To answer your question -- YES -- lymphedema can be and very often is caused by obesity. Obesity is can effect lymphedema in multiple ways. Firstly, the pressure in the veins can be increased by the excess tissue. This can occur in the leg itself, in the abdomen against the larger vessels, in the chest or in the heart. Obesity is a leading contributor to heart failure -- which can cause edema. In addition, obesity can cause high blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension) which can cause this edema. Obesity also leads to obstructive sleep apnea which often worsens lymphedema. Fortunately, there are many ways to treat both obesity and lymphedema. Diet and exercise of fundamental to weight control. Even outside of lymphedema there are many other reasons you need to achieve a healthy weight. I would strongly recommend addressing this with your doctor.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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