What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is abnormal swelling of the tissues with stagnant, and protein-rich lymph. This condition occurs when the lymphatic system has either failed to develop properly or has been damaged.
Primary lymphedema is an inherited disorder resulting from malformations or abnormalities of lymphatic vessels that cause swelling usually affecting the feet and legs.
Secondary lymphedema is an acquired disorder caused by damage to the lymphatic system. The swelling of secondary lymphedema develops in the tissues adjacent to the lymphatic structures that have been removed or damaged.
Fibrosis is the abnormal hardening of the tissues that accompanies the more advanced stages of lymphedema.
Filariasis, also known as lymphatic filariasis, infects more than 120 million men, women, and children throughout the world. This form of lymphedema is caused by a parasitic worm and is unlike either primary or secondary lymphedema.
Lymphatic malformations are rare conditions in which there is abnormal prenatal development of the lymphatic system that can affect any body part.
Are you at risk for Lymphedema?
The risk factors for lymphedema relate to the two forms of this condition. Primary lymphedema, which is a hereditary condition, and secondary lymphedema caused by injury or damage to the lymphatic system.
Delayed Onset of Lymphedema
Not everyone who is at risk for lymphedema develops this condition immediately; however individuals who are at risk for any reason, always remain at risk. Without warning the onset of the swelling of lymphedema can occur weeks, months, or even years later.
Approximately 90% of all lymphedema cases are diagnosed on the basis of a medical history and current symptoms. The remaining 10% of lymphedema cases require more complex diagnostic measures.
Starting Treatment: The Intensive
An intensive is a brief, usually one to two week period, of daily treatment of lymphedema working toward the goal of bringing the condition under better control.
Manual Lymph Drainage
Manual lymph drainage, which is referred to as M-L-D, is performed by the lymphedema therapist to stimulate the flow of lymph from the affected area. This treatment is based on specialized manual techniques that have been used successfully in Europe since the 1930′s.
An overview of the compression methods used in the treatment of lymphedema to control swelling and to reduce the hardening of the tissues
Diuretics are Not the Answer
An explanation as to why diuretics are not commonly used in the treatment of lymphedema.
Aromatherapy and Lymphedema Treatment
The use of clinical aromatherapy, in combination with traditional forms of lymphedema treatment, creates a more comprehensive and holistic approach that improves the patient’s quality of life.
Avoiding Hospital Infections
Being hospitalized with cellulitis is an all too familiar scenario for many lymphedema patients. In addition to the initial problem now there is the increasing risk of acquiring nosocomial infection (An infection acquired in a hospital, clinic, or healthcare facility). This article includes suggestions for protecting yourself against this risk.
The Lymphatic System
A simplified explanation of how the lymphatic system normally functions.
The Immune and Lymphatic Systems
As you learn about lymphedema, and the lymphatic system, you often come across the comment that these two systems work in close cooperation with the immune system. This cooperation is essential to maintaining the health of the body.
Understanding the Lymphatic System
The treatment of lymphedema is based on an understanding of how the lymphatic system works.
The Circulatory and Lymphatic Systems Compared
The human body has two circulatory systems. These are the cardiovascular system, which is visible as blood flows through the system. The lymphatic system is invisible as the clear lymph flows through lymphatic vessels.
Is My Therapist Experienced and Trained?
All therapists should be proud to display their credentials and these should show that your therapist meets the basic standards as outlined by LANA. This includes a being a licensed healthcare professional plus 135 hours of Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) training.
Dolores J. Gozzi LMT, CLT received her training at The Academy of Lymphatic Studies
(verification phone number) 772-589-3355
She has participated successfully in the 135 hour training program of Manual Lympth Drainage – Modified Vodder Technique and Complete Decongestive Therapy.
Information provided by www.lymphnotes.com