Things You Should Know About Lymphoedema

Education, Care

What is Lymphoedema?

Lymphoedema is caused by poor drainage of the body’s lymphatic system and results in chronic and permanent swelling which most commonly affects limbs, but can affect any area of the body. It affects over 100,000 people in the UK of all ages and genders.

Some people are born with a lymphatic problem; these people could be affected by the swelling at any point in their life. For others lymphatic problems can be caused by the removal of lymph nodes during radiotherapy when going through Cancer Treatment.

Things you should know if you about Lymphoedema if you suffer with swelling.

Skin care is very important. If you suffer with swelling you should ensure that you wash and moisturise your skin daily. You should avoid any injections, blood tests and blood pressure measurements on the swollen areas unless it is essential for other conditions. If you notice that the swollen area is hot to touch or red you should see your GP.

Gentle exercise can be very helpful as it can help to move the fluid that will cause the swelling. When sleeping you should ensure that you sleep in a bed with your feet up rather than a chair where your feet are touching the floor.

It is important to keep the swelling compressed. If prescribed by the doctor stockings or arm sleeves should be worn every day and removed on an evening time. If the case is more severe, Multi-Layer Lymphoedema Bandaging may be applied.

There a various ways that lymph drainage can be undertaken. Simple Lymph Drainage can be taught

to you or your carer which can be done daily to assist the drainage of the limb. There is also Manual Lymph Drainage can be done but only by a trained therapist if you are recommended by your practitioner.

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