Lymphoedema is a blockage of lymph nodes in the body which results in fluid not being passed from the nodes to the kidneys, and then excreted out the body. This can cause swelling, pain and discomfort for the individual. The build-up can be seen predominantly in the limbs due to gravity.
Lymphoedema has 4 stages:
Stage 1 – This is called pitting. Placing pressure on the area of concern and this leaves a fingerprint.
Stage 2 – This is where the swelling becomes more noticeable. The pooling of fluid in the lower limbs. At this stage leakage and signs for breakdown of the skin integrity can happen.
Stage 3 – Ulcers can form and become difficult to treat when there is a build-up of fluid. A “lip” is now formed which hangs over the ankle or wrist.
Stage 4 – Swelling is noted above the joint of knee or elbow. The area feels firm to touch. Pain is now a factor with this stage of lymphoedema
We recommend to have a discussion with your GP. Heart or kidney diseases will need a referral from the GP to proceed with services. Once cleared, we have a number of treatments we can offer. In the warmer weather, most people don’t like the compression stockings, therefore there are other options to assist with self-managing the fluid retention.
Based on the stage of lymphoedema, appointments would be varied. For example, at stage 4, we suggest up to twice a week for six weeks. Once the limbs return to a smaller shape, a compression garment is suggested to be warn between treatments to maintain the limbs fluid retention. Our nurses from Lymphatic Care can assist with oedema and wound care if there are wounds to be treated, such as cellulitis.