are diabetes and oedema linked?: if you suffer from... - LSN

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are diabetes and oedema linked?


if you suffer from lymphoedema, does it mean that you are diabetic ? Iam pretty confused about the correlation between those two conditions. can someone know the connection?

12 Replies

I have lymphedema in both legs but I am not diabetic.I am overweight and carry all the symptoms but I have managed to avoid it so far.If you were diabetic your gp should have given you blood tests to see if you are diabetic when diagnosing your lymphedema.There is no evidence to say that diabetes is linked to lymphedema,and if there is I haven't read about it anywhere.

thanks Galtyboi.

I may be wrong but I think the answer is not necessarily. I have lymphodema but I am not diabetic.


My son has primary lymphoedema and T1 diabetes. T1 is an autoimmune disease, and as far as I know there is no link between them. T2 diabetes is insulin resistance and sometimes affects people who are overweight, and I think it's correct to say that being overweight can exacerbate lymphoedema. But I'm not aware of any connection between the two conditions other than that.

As far as I am aware there is no causal connection though T2 diabetes could develop in older people that already have lymphoedema I think just by statistical lilelihood?

thanks loveradion. that is the link i was hoping to get !

I reckon in the old days, Lymphedema was not known and People with Diabetes had it and thought that was just a consequence of the disease.

I've actually just spent some time trying to find the answer on this, as we have primary lymphedema in my family and also diabetes, and a sack of other things. It seemed to me that we can't be that 'unlucky' and as they were all genetic the greater likelihood felt to me like a link, that they are all symptoms of one problem.

It transpires that the Foxc2 gene is one of the malfunctioning genes that causes primary lymphedema. It also causes insulin resistance 'regardless of the visceral fat' i.e. if your Foxc2 is on the blink it doesn't matter if you are slim as a whip or eat super healthily you still will be insulin resistive.

I don't believe that lymphedema will 'cause' diabetes, as it is subcutaneous material, apologies I'm not a medical doctor so excuse me if I am not quite wielding these words correctly but basically its fat around your organs that can bring diabetes on. I have had my abdomen scanned by Dr Mortimer a few years back so can state confidently that I don't have any of that, I only have lymph stuck on the surface (everywhere). So unless you happen to have lymph stuck around your pancreas etc, or have a large layer of body fat as well as lymph (which I'm sure happens often as it's terribly hard to be fit like this) there's no reason that it would 'cause' it.

So for myself it is correct to say that I am effectively a slim fit person with a huge depth of lymphedema everywhere (around 8 inches on my abdomen). This is caused by a malfunctioning Foxc2 gene, as is my diabetes. I think this is very relevant information to anyone with this kind of lymphedema as I was only diagnosed due to chance on a broad spectrum bloodtest. There may be a bunch of us merrily running round with wonky Foxc2 genes not realising this possible link, so it's worth getting a check. I personally was fine as I had already realised that simple carbs are NOT the friend of a lymphie and so my blood sugar levels are very well controlled to just within the 'normal person' range.

Either way eating less simple carbs is not a bad thing for most western diets health wise, and as they make lymph worse might be worth keeping the sugars low.

Hi suziedangergirl,

Love the name by the way.

Welcome to the club as I am also dedicating so much time to figure out why I am suffering from this condition while apparently nobody in my family.

Thanks for the information about the wonky Foxc2 gene, i will investigate this matter next time i do a check up. Is it through a regular blood test that you can find it out ?

I might be primary and I agree with you, start realising that carbs are not my friends at all which makes it so hard cause i like them even more. :-).

However, i tend to believe that there must be a connection not found yet between those two conditions. Surely Lymphedema does not bring up Diabetes but what about lymphedema could be a direct consequence of diabetes? was it what you were trying to say?

We have a sack of lots of things in my family as well so dont feel lonely anymore. :-)

Hi I have had Lymphoedema for about 5 years and I have never had diabetes and as a Health Practitioner I have never heard of any connection.

I have lympheodema in both legs and spina Bifida my legs/feet get sores and I'm seen by diabetic foot clinic but I don't have diabetes but my sores can take years to heel and give all signs but I have regular tests which are clear

Hi I have just joined.

Original diagnosis was for Invasive Lobular Breast cancer.

Came across you by chance whilst trying to find info about lymphoedema. So glad I have. After reading through some of your replies to each other have realised you have all the answers I needed.

Physiotherapist put tightness etc down to needing to do more exercise despite my protests that I am doing lots and it is not getting better.

I have been through chemo,surgery and radiotherapy and am in agony with a swollen left arm and pain in my chest and breast plus restricted movement. I thought I was over reacting about the pain and possible lymphoedema.

Have an appointment for later this month to see lymphoedema nurse but was worried it was all in my mind.

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