Is there any relationship between obesity and lymphedema?
Several studies have described obesity or weight gain after treatment for cancer as increasing risk factors for the development of lymphedema 1 & 2. This may be due to the physical demands placed on the system due to increased fluid and body fat; those who are obese also have a tendency toward poor wound healing. Obese patients with lower extremity lymphedema often have a more difficult time since extra weight will compromise the already weakened lymphatics and, often, worsen the swelling. Obese patients who have lymphedema, or those who do not like to or cannot exercise, subsequently continue to gain weight. I urge all of you to please, please watch your diet. Drink lots of water and juices, and keep your salt intake low.