5 things every person
with swelling should know about lymphoedema
Lymphoedema is a
chronic and permanent swelling which can affect any area of
the body, most commonly affecting the limbs. It results from
poor drainage of the body’s lymphatic system. It affects
over 100,000 people in the UK of all ages and genders. It
can impact on your body image, self-esteem and cause not only physical,
but emotional distress as well. If you notice any
unexplained swelling you should consult your GP and, if
necessary, ask for a referral to a specialist clinic.
You can reach Touching Well by mobile:
0794 227 6538, or via our new landline 0115
648 9636, or the
Please could new clients complete my Initial Screening form.
Stay mobile and sane. Hope to see you soon.
With warm regards, Regina
- Primary – i.e. a person is born with a lymphatic problem and
swelling occurs for no apparent reason. This can happen at any
point in life and can run in families.
- Secondary – Cancer treatment which involved removing lymph
nodes and radiotherapy can make you more prone to developing
lymphoedema; If you have a long term condition and cannot walk
very far you may develop swelling in the legs.
2 Skin Care
- Wash daily and moisturise the skin.
- Avoid cuts, scratches and burns to your skin which may get
- Avoid injections, blood tests and blood pressure measurements
to your swollen (or at risk) limb, unless essential for
treatment of other conditions.
- See your GP if you have any signs of infection: area of
redness, hot to touch, fever. Sooner rather than later.
- Gentle exercise will help move fluid which is causing the
swelling from your limb. There is some evidence that more vigorous exercise is okay as long is compression is worn.
Sensible positioning of the affected limb/s can help reduce
- NB: It is important not to sleep with your feet down. Sleep
in a bed and not in a chair.
- Garments such as stockings or arm sleeves, if prescribed need
to be worn every day as directed by your medical practitioner
and removed at night.
Multi-layer Lymphoedema Bandaging may be applied in more
- Simple Lymph Drainage can be taught for you or your carer to
do daily to assist in drainage of your limb.
Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) should only be done by a trained
therapist if your medical practitioner recommends it – LSN, MLD
UK and BLS can provide further information and advice.
This was first published by the by the British Lympholgy Society, I produced it here word for word. I have added my comments in italics.
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