After previously sharing her struggles with Graves disease, Wendy Williams revealed she's dealing with yet another health condition when her eponymous talk show returned this week. The 54-year-old host received a lymphedema diagnosis this summer, she told her fans in an update.
"Lymphedema, by the way, I’ve been diagnosed," she explained in response to recent paparazzi photos showing her with swollen ankles. "It’s not going to kill me, but I do have a machine — and how dare you talk about the swelling of it all. It's lymphedema. I've got it under control."
Wendy previously took an extended hiatus from The Wendy Williams Show in January and February of this year due to complications related to her Graves disease, an autoimmune condition affecting the thyroid. When she returned in March, Wendy shared that she was seeking treatment for addiction and living in sober house, which she moved out of later this spring.
Wendy dishes about her summer break! pic.twitter.com/lDPbocmvoo— Wendy Williams (@WendyWilliams) July 8, 2019
So what does this latest development mean for Wendy? Here's what you need to know about lymphedema:
What is lymphedema?
Lymphedema is a type of swelling that typically occurs in the arms or legs, according the Mayo Clinic. The changes can range from hardly noticeable to extreme — enough to make the limb hard to move. The most common symptoms include:
- Swelling of part or all of the arm or leg, including fingers or toes
- A feeling of heaviness or tightness
- Restricted range of motion
- Aching or discomfort
- Recurring infections
- Hardening and thickening of the skin
What causes lymphedema?
Lymphedema is related to changes in your lymphatic system. Typically, lymph fluid circulates throughout the body, removing waste and harmful substances through your lymph vessels. But in patients with lymphedema, the fluid builds up and manifests as swelling.
An inherited condition can cause lymphedema on its own (called primary lymphedema) or other factors like cancer, infection, radiation treatment, or lymph node removal can cause it as well (called secondary lymphedema).
Wendy did not divulge which type of lymphedema she has, but the secondary kind is much more common, the Mayo Clinic states.
How is lymphedema treated?
There is no cure for lymphedema, but different lifestyle changes and noninvasive therapies can help manage the symptoms, according to NYU Langone. These can include:
- Moisturizing and following proper skin care to prevent infection
- Avoiding tight clothing, shoes, and jewelry, which can worsen swelling
- Wearing compression garments over swollen areas to keep lymph fluid moving
- Following a low-sodium diet to avoid bloating
- Elevating affected limbs to reduce swelling
- Using a pneumatic compression device to apply intermittent pressure
Wendy alluded to using a compression device on her show this week. "If (the swelling in) my feet and lower things never go all the way down, at least I have this machine," she shared. "I sit for 45 minutes a day. And believe me, it’s the best party entertainer ever. Everybody who comes over wants to do this."
The device typically involves a padded, inflatable sleeve or stocking connected to an external pump that delivers pressure. This in turn stimulates the flow of lymphatic fluid to reduce swelling, NYU Langone explains.
In addition to her new diagnosis and machine, Wendy shared some other major news in Monday's episode. The host revealed that she's currently dating "somebody that I'm crazy about" following her recent divorce from ex-husband Kevin Hunter. The Wendy Williams Show will air for four more weeks until it takes a hiatus prior to the Season 11 premiere on September 16, 2019.
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