Updated: Jan 2, 2020
Why is it so important?
Extreme Obesity Can Cause Lymphedema Independently of Surgery. Not only does obesity increase the risk of lymphedema in patients with lymphatic injury, recent studies have shown that super obese individuals can develop lymphedema even without antecedent surgery or injury.
A journal article from Frontiers in Immunology states “Similar changes in lymphatic function have been reported in obesity. For example, obesity results in structural and physiologic changes in the lymphatic system including increased lymphatic leakiness, decreased collecting vessel contractility, and decreased lymph node size and changes in lymph node architecture. Obese patients have decreased clearance of interstitial fluid as compared to lean individuals, obesity increases the risk of developing lymphedema after surgery, and severe obesity can lead to the spontaneous development of lymphedema. Interestingly, obesity induced lymphatic abnormalities decrease adaptive immune responses and are reversible with treatments that promote lymphangiogenesis and increase lymphatic transport. These findings are important because they suggest that common comorbid conditions have significant effects on the lymphatic system and these changes in turn significantly modulate immune responses.
Lymphangiogenesis is the formation of lymphatic vessels from pre-existing lymphatic vessels in a method believed to be similar to angiogenesis (blood vessel development). Lymphangiogenesis plays an important physiological role in homeostasis, metabolism and immunity
In medicine, comorbidity is the presence of one or more additional conditions co-occurring with a primary condition; in the countable sense of the term, a comorbidity is each additional condition
Lymphedema and Weight Loss. If you're overweight, you're more likely to experience problems with lymphedema. The theory is that when your body has extra fat, those tissues require more blood vessels. ... Some studies have shown that losing weight can significantly improve lymphedema symptoms in people who are overweight.
Swelling results when gravity causes this extra fluid to settle in the feet, ankles and legs. Being overweight and sitting or standing for more than an hour or two can cause edema. ... If swelling occurs in just one leg, problems with veins in that particular leg, such as varicose veins, may be to blame.