March is Lymphoedema awareness !

Lymphoedema? What is it?

LYMPH
Is a colourless fluid which forms in the body and drains into the blood through a network of vessels and nodes… This is helped by movement unlike the blood which is pumped by the heart.

OEDEMA
Swelling of fluid in the tissues.

LYMPH NODE or LYMPH GLAND
Is a pea size organ of the immune system. Lymph nodes are distributed throughout the body and are linked by lymphatic vessels. They act as filters and trap bacteria to protect against infection. Their main locations are neck, jaw, under the arms, in the region of the liver and the groin. Episodes of cellulitis occur when the lymphatics are compromised.
The lymphatic system, lymph vessels and lymph …

The lymphatic system, lymph vessels and lymph nodes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LYMPH VESSELS
Are tiny tubes that are present wherever there are blood vessels. Lymph vessels drain approximately 10% of fluid from the tissues of the body.How ever unlike the blood which is pumped by the heart the lymph system relies on movement to circulate through the vessels.

LYMPHOEDEMA
is a chronic swelling of a part or parts of the body caused by a an accumulation of fluid and protein in the tissues. It occurs when the lymphatic system is damaged. It commonly occurs in the arms or legs after removal of lymph nodes….but can occur anywhere in the body. It can be very debilitating and limbs may reach huge proportions and be very disfigured especially if left untreated.

TYPES OF LYMPHOEDEMA

Lymphoedema of leg

PRIMARY
Can occur when the lymphatic system is not fully developed. It commonly affects one or both legs but may occur in other parts of the body. May be congenital or develop Later in life. It may also be genetic.

SECONDARY
May develop due to damage to the lymphatic vessels or lymph nodes. It can occur anytime following surgery from days, months or years. It usually affects the arms or legs although it can affect the breast, head and neck, trunk or genital area. Risk factors include any surgical procedure where there is damage to the lymphatic system. Lymph node removal for biopsy, infection (cellulitis), mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, trauma, genetic or filariasis.

MIXED
Can be described as functional deterioration of the lymphatic system. It can be related to lipoedema, increased body mass index (BMI), obesity, immobility, venous disease, varicose vein surgery.

Lymmphoedema of arm following removal of lymph nodes for breast cancer

EARLY WARNING SIGNS
Tightness, swelling, pain, pins and needles, numbness, discomfort, infections…. Maybe one or more symptoms may be present. The first sign maybe that clothes become tighter on one limb…

This is is a link to information on Lymphoedema you may be interested in from Healthline
http://www.healthline.com/health/lymphatic-obstruction#

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