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Thyroid Diseases

Do I have Lymphedema?

08/23/2007

Question:

This is a question I want to take to my doctor, because he is not helping me. I have been steadily gainig weight (a pound a month) in my legs, and abdomen since 2005. My doctor tells me to lose weight. My leg muscles burn and feel heavy and stiff. My abdomen is swollen, also. I am eating less, and just started eating rice and vegetables.

Could my heaviness be caused by lymphedema? Does lymphedema create weight gain along with swelling? I have other symptoms too, like tiredness and rashes on my chest and face.

What causes lymphedema? Can a disease cause it? Should my doctor test me for lymphedema? What tests should he do?

Answer:

Whether you have lymphedema or nor cannot be determined based on your information. Lymphedema is a palpable swelling as a result of interstitial fluid expansion, so your physician should be able to answer your question by simple examination of affected area.

If you have no fluid retention, and you have been gaining 1 lb per month for the last 2 years, other metabolic abnormalities associated with weight gain, such as glucose or lipid abnormalities and hypertension should be evaluated.

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Response by:

Marzieh  Salehi, MD Marzieh Salehi, MD
Assistant Professor of Endocrinology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati