There are two types of lymphedema:
1.) Acquired lymphedema is occasionally called secondary-lymphedema and results from damage to the lymphatic system causing lymphedema. This type of lymphedema is much more widespread than primary lymphedema.
2.) Inherited lymphedema or primary lymphedema happens when a person is born with missing lymph-vessels and nodes. Swelling normally happens during a person’s adolescence and involves the calf or foot. Another rare type of primary lymphedema takes place during infancy and is known as Milroy’s disease.
Chronic lymphedema can last for a person’s entire lifetime and can be difficult to treat. Swollen appendages can become susceptible to infection as well. For example, a minor injury to the skin such as an insect bite, athlete’s-foot between the toes, a scratch, or cut, can lead to a severe infection that physicians call lymphangitis. Lymphangitis damages the connective-tissue beneath the skin. Recurrent infections can result in scarring that leaves the tissue vulnerable to more infections and swelling. Tissues can become hard, known as fibrosis, which is a sign of advanced chronic lymphedema.
NEXT: Causes of Lymphedema