Okay to ignore fluid build-up on elbow?

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Question from Dane: There is always a little bit of build up of fluid on my arm, around the elbow area. This has been present for over 5 years. It does not worry me, so am I correct in ignoring it?
Answers - Nicole Stout No!
Kathryn Schmitz This is one of those questions that I worry about, because we don't want anyone reading this or looking at the transcript to walk away freaked out unnecessarily. That said, Nicole's No! is well taken. We've known for a long time that early intervention and management is effective at preventing or attenuating worsening of lymphedema. At the very least, monitoring that limb is worth pursuing.
Nicole Stout Your arm is telling you a story right now. It is telling you that there is a fluid congestion; it is telling you that it is likely related to lymphatic overload. Even though it hasn't progressed, it doesn't mean there's not still a risk, especially for infection. It may not bother you and it may not ever get worse, but because it exists and it's there, it's your limb telling you already that it's a little bit too stressed. You have to heed that little bit of a warning, so just keep an eye on it.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Preventing and Treating Arm Lymphedema featured Kathryn Schmitz, Ph.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S.M.,Nicole Stout, M.P.T. C.L.T.-L.A.N.A., and moderator Jennifer Sabol, M.D., F.A.S.C. answering your questions about ways to prevent and manage lymphedema.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in April 2008.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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