Lymphoedema is a swelling caused by the failure of the lymphatic system to remove a normal accumulation of protein and fluid from the body tissues. If the drainage routes through the lymphatic system become blocked or damaged, lymph accumulates in the tissues and swelling (oedema) occurs.
Unlike other oedemas, lymphoedema is more than just an accumulation of fluid: there are significant changes in the number and type of cells and their activity levels, changes in the levels of oxygen in the tissues and an accumulations of protein and waste products. Among the cells affected are the Macrophages (the white blood cells) whose job it is to clear away debris such as dead or dying cells (including bacteria) and which are therefore central to the body’s immune system. If the Macrophages fail to function properly there may be a build up of fibrous (hard) tissue in the affected limb and an increased risk of infection.
There are two types of lymphoedema:
For information on Lymphoedema treatment, click here.
Secondary Lymphoedema occurs when an otherwise healthy lymphatic system becomes damaged. This may occur either as a result of treatment for cancer following surgery or radiotherapy or as result of trauma to the system. For example - infection, injury and burns or following surgical procedures.
The main signs of a developing lymphoedema are:
Many medical practitioners and health care professionals are either unaware or perhaps sceptical of treatment available for the symptoms of lymphoedema.
The development of Secondary Lymphoedema has a latent or hidden phase, a stage when the lymphatic capacity is reduced. Changes are occurring within the tissues however these changes are so subtle that no swelling is evident. Symptoms such as pain, pins and needles, heaviness and tension are all signs indicating these changes are occurring, however these signs are often ignored or misdiagnosed. If CDT is commenced at this stage the development of a full blown secondary lymphoedema may be prevented.
It is our hope that eventually all medical professionals will be aware of CDT and it effects in the successful management of this debilitating condition.
Please don't wait to be referred, call us and we will be happy to advise you on preventative techniques and treatment options if they are required.
|Copyright © Buff Whiteley||Web Design by Morgan & Me Creative|