Obesity may raise odds for painful leg condition
Excess weight can lead to fluid backup called lymphedema.
(HealthDay) -- The health risks associated with being overweight and obese are well publicized, but new research may add another condition to this list: leg lymphedema, pain and swelling due to blockage of the lymph nodes in the groin area.
Lymphedema in the arms traditionally is associated with breast cancer surgery that involves removal of or damage to the lymph nodes. A blockage in the lymphatic system can prevent proper drainage of lymph fluid. As fluid builds up, pain and swelling can occur.
In a letter published in the May 31 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Arin Greene and colleagues at Children's Hospital Boston reported on 15 obese individuals with swelling in both legs. They diagnosed five of these individuals with leg lymphedema, and the cause of the condition was obesity.
"We now believe that obesity is a risk factor for lymphedema if the body-mass index becomes greater than 60," Greene said. "It only seems to affect the legs, but we have not investigated the arms."
Individuals in the study who had a body-mass index (BMI) lower than 54 had normal lymphatic function. The average BMI of the patients with lymphedema was 70; BMI of 30 or greater is considered obese. BMI is a measure of body fat based on an individual's height and weight.
Other risk factors for leg lymphedema include injury to the lymph nodes in the groin because of infection, surgery or radiation. In addition, people can be born with the condition. Regardless of the cause, leg lymphedema can cause pain, swelling and infections.
Although there is no cure for lymphedema, compression and significant weight loss may help relieve the pain and swelling, Greene said.
Lymphedema in the legs manifests itself as swelling, pain, discomfort, tightness in the skin, decreased flexibility and difficulty walking, said Cathy Kleinman-Barnett, a lymphedema specialist at the Lymphedema/Edema Management Program at Northwest Medical Center in Margate, Fla.
"Obesity causes lymphedema because the sheer additional weight puts too much pressure on the lymph nodes in the groin area, compromising the system," she said. "This causes a fluid backup like a clogged drain. Skin can thicken, harden and become red, dry and warm to touch."
It's important to treat the condition, she added, because "it can really interfere with a person's quality of life in a physical and a psychosocial way as people may be less inclined to go out and interact with others."
Kleinman-Barnett said lymphedema therapists can prescribe a program of manual lymphatic drainage, which helps direct lymph flow out of the congested areas. Recommendations on skin care, compression bandaging and exercises also can help, she said.
More than 35 percent of U.S. adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity already is known to increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and certain types of cancer.
More information: Get tips for preventing lymphedema at the National Lymphedema Network.
Journal reference: New England Journal of Medicine
Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
- MU researchers recommend exercise for breast cancer survivors, lymphedema patients Dec 01, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Obesity increases lymphedema risk for breast cancer survivors Dec 18, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Breast cancer survivors don't need to be afraid of air travel: study Aug 19, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- How women can improve their quality of life after breast cancer treatment Nov 06, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- New registry will track lymphedema among breast cancer patients Dec 13, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Assumptions of Griffith's fracture theory
1 hour ago Any experts on Griffith's fracture theory? I am studying the subject and I am having hard time finding out if the theory is valid for all possible...
Current leading voltage or vice versa concept
2 hours ago Hello, I was wondering if there is a conceptual explanation for when current leads voltage or vice versa for capacitors or inductors with AC...
Angular Frequency of AC voltage
5 hours ago Hello, I am wondering, what is the physical interpretation of the angular frequency of AC voltage? I don't see the physicality of what the angle...
Modeling Rigid Body - Unsure about Euler angles and angular velocity
5 hours ago I'm modeling a single 3D rigid body in preparation for some more complicated modeling in order to gain a better understanding of Euler angles, the...
Function for a bullet's path
7 hours ago I've been mulling this over all weekend, and I've decided to get some help on this. The problem is writing a function to describe a bullet's path....
Elementary questions relating to Newton's laws of motion
8 hours ago i) If a wall breaks when it gets hit by a cannonball, did the wall exert an equal and opposite force on the cannonball? ii) Would the force...
- More from Physics Forums - Classical Physics
More news stories
(Medical Xpress)—Research by the University of Leeds has shown that very young children appear to reject story book characters who are overweight, but not those who are disabled.
Overweight and Obesity May 16, 2013 | 3 / 5 (1) | 4
(HealthDay)—Weight gain in men and women is predicted by two different genetic variations—so-called polymorphisms, according to a new study from the Netherlands.
Overweight and Obesity May 15, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
(HealthDay)—Drinking 500 ml of purified water is not associated with increases in resting energy expenditure (REE), according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the European Congress on Obesity, ...
Overweight and Obesity May 14, 2013 | 2 / 5 (2) | 1
(HealthDay)—Reviews that are funded by industry tend to find the evidence weak for a causal link between sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and the increasing prevalence of obesity, while other reviews consider ...
Overweight and Obesity May 14, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
3 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
8 hours ago | 4.6 / 5 (12) | 4 |
11 hours ago | 4.8 / 5 (11) | 2 |
12 hours ago | 4.8 / 5 (6) | 2 |
12 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Bacteria resistant to the antibiotic colistin are also commonly resistant to antimicrobial substances made by the human body, according to a study in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microb ...
3 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0