Lymphoedema common on the Peninsula
Lymphoedema is now one of the most common conditions treated on the Peninsula, according to a local physiotherapist.
"If the lymphatic vessels or nodes are missing, damaged or blocked, lymph fluid accumulates in the tissue, causing them to swell," said physiotherapist Ms Jacqueline Eaton.
"This condition is known as lymphoedema."
"Over the long term, the tissue thickens, becomes fibrotic and fat deposits develop.
"Skin changes, reduced range of motion and heaviness may occur."
Causes may include surgery in which parts of the lymphatic system have been disrupted or removed, radiation and chemotherapy treatment for cancer, infections, orthopaedic surgery, physical trauma and age-related degeneration.
"Some people are born with lymphoedema, due to missing parts or a slow lymphatic system."
Ms Eaton said she had conducted around 240 appointments with people living on the Peninsula with lymphoedema in the past six months.
"Complex lymphoedema therapy is a treatment method used to speed up the lymphatic system, remove excess fluid and maintain the volume of a limb or a body part.
"We use specific, individualised massage techniques, compression bandaging, garments and pumps, exercises and skin care regimes to reduce swelling and maintain a healthy limb.
"This therapy has evolved over the past 150 years.
"Today, it is performed by qualified lymphoedema professionals, such as physiotherapists, doctors, registered nurses and occupational therapists.
"While lymphoedema is a chronic, incurable condition, with effective management, the negatives can be minimised to allow patients to live a full and happy life."
Ms Eaton said lymph fluid contained the body's waste products.
"This fluid is absorbed by the lymphatic vessels and transported to lymph nodes and eventually to the kidneys and the heart.
"The lymphatic system is important to maintain the body's fluid levels, immunity and absorbing fats from the intestines."
Media release, 10 Jan 2018
Jacqueline Eaton, Physio For You