Is my lymphedema serious? What are the stages of lymphedema?

Lymphedema is a chronic and progressive disease that does not improve and slowly worsen if left untreated. Below is the stages of lymphedema.

Stage 0: Swelling not visible despite impaired lymph transport. Can exist for months/ years before you notice any swelling  

Stage 1: Swelling that subsides which improves with movement and limb elevation 

Stage 2: Swelling that does not resolve with elevation

Stage 3: Elephantiasis (large deformed limb), thickening and scarring of skin


Early stages of lymphedema (stage 0-1) are usually reversible to normal size of extremity. Stage 2 above can be managed with treatment. However, tissue changes are difficult to completely reverse to normal.

It is very important for you to seek for lymphedema therapist as soon as you notice any concern symptom such as :

- Swelling on the extremity (arms or legs) or other part of body which might come and go or get bigger overtime.

- Skin in that area feels tight, tingling sensation 

- Feels heavy on arms or leg

- Jewelry and clothing becomes more tight 

- Hardening or thickening of skin 

- Pitting of the skin