Lymphedema Lymphedema is a long term condition that causes swelling in the human body’s tissues, it can affect any part of the body, although it is usually develops in the legs or arms. How it developsIn the lymphatic system, lymph nodes and lymph vessels help to transport lymphatic fluid throughout the body, although if the passages of the vessels are blocked and unable to move the colourless liquid through the body and into the bloodstream, then swelling in the local body area will occur. This is lymphedema.Although, the condition may also occur when certain lymph nodes, for example the supratrochlear or popliteal lymph nodes, are removed in a surgery to help locate a certain problem in the human body. By removing these lymph nodes, it makes it difficult to transport the lymphatic fluid in and around the lymph vessels and the blood stream. Different types of lymphedema There are two main types of lymphedema, these are:-Primary lymphedema: This is caused by faulty genes that affect the development of the lymphatic system. This type of the condition is found when a person is born.Although the person may have been born with the condition, the symptoms may not appear until later on in life. -Secondary lymphedema: This is caused by damage to the lymphatic system, problems with mobility, or complications with the drainage of fluid. The secondary lymphedema can also be caused by cancer (usually breast cancer). When a patient has breast cancer, to remove the tumor, a few lymph nodes may be removed around the breast or underarm area or radiotherapy could end up damaging an area of lymph nodes. This causes a blockage in the flow of lymphatic fluid and if gos untreated can turn into lymphedema. Symptoms of lymphedema-swelling in a part or parts of a limb on the body-a tightness feeling with jewelry or clothing-difficulty with movement-hard, dry feeling skin-colourless liquid leaking through the surface of the skin-wart-like growths in the skin-unusual redness on the surface of the skinPrevention of lymphedemaThere is no way of preventing the condition of lymphedema, although if a person has gone through cancer treatment and is worried about developing secondary lymphedema, there are certain actions which can be done to reduce the risks of the disease developing. These precautions include:-ensure to take time to rest arms and legs. After cancer treatment patients are advised to do some exercise, although no extreme activity should be done after treatment, this includes surgery and radiotherapy.-make sure to be aware of extreme temperatures on the affected limbs. For example, do not place head pads onto the area, and always keep the area warm from the extreme cold – doctors advise that you should elevate the affected limb above heart level when possible-do not wear tight clothing as this can increase the chance of a blockage in the lymph nodes and muscles-always make check ups on the skin, checking for skin breakage or leakage from the skin’s surfaceTreatment/cure for lymphedemaFor stage 1 lymphedema, there is a chance of the condition being reversible as there is no serious soft tissue damage yet, although, there is still a high risk of the condition coming back and worsening. After stage 1, the condition is irreversible, and there is no cure. Furthermore, there are things that doctors advise that will help to control the symptoms of lymphedema. These treatments include:Light exercise: this helps to encourage the drainage of the lymph fluid, this can help towards doing daily tasks like walking or tidying a household. Some patients may get help by a certified lymphatic therapist, in which they advise certain types of exercise which focuses on the affected area but also helps the whole body, this can include activities like swimming. Manual lymph drainage: this is a massage technique which helps for the circulation of lymph fluid out of the arms and legs to stop build up. Some doctors advise that some patients should not go for massages if they have breakage at the skin or if they have any blood clots that they are aware of, as this would create an infection.Compression garment: These are long sleeves to place on your arms or legs, this compresses a certain area which had developed lymphedema, these help to drain out the lymph fluid that has been trapped in the affected limb. Although, doctors advice that to make sure a patient has the correct sizing and fit, they need to go to a professional, as having the band too tight could cause more damage than help. Skin care: by looking after your skin, you are insuring no infections get into an open wound, if an infection enters, this could potentially damage someone’s lymphatic system and could cause a lymphatic disorder, for example lymphedema. To take care of their skin, a patient can do daily activities like always checking for changes in the skin’s surface, treating cuts and scratches as soon as possible, avoiding hot baths as the steam could increase the swelling, and always use sun cream to reduce the risk of sunburn. Toni-ann TurnbullM2- Explain the physiological reasoning for corrective treatment(s) associated with the disorder of the lymphatic system. The recommended treatment for lymphedema is DLT, this stands for decongestive lymphatic therapy. This isn’t a cure for lymphedema, although it does help to control the effects of the disorder. Due to DLT being an intense treatment, for the patient to notice a difference in the affected area, these treatments may need to be dome daily for a few weeks, or maybe even months depending on what stage the patient is at (1-4 of lymphedema)There are four parts to decongestive lymphatic therapy, these are :-compression bandages. These are items which placed onto the affected area which will help to drain out lymph fluid from the lymph vessels, these bandages are recommended to be fitted by a train lymphedema doctor, as they will know which tightness will help for your stage of the disorder. Although these help with lymphedema, they can cause some discomfort when wearing them for a long period of time. -skin care. By helping to keep your skin clean and in a good condition, this helps to reduce the chances of infections to the skin or infections to the lymphatic system. The recommended skin care is to always make sure that the skin surrounding the affected area and all of the body is cleaned daily or every other day to stop the multiplying of dangerous bacteria. Another way of keeping up with skin care is to always check for scratches and cuts, and if there are ay on the skin, then to make sure to clean them and cover the wound from getting infectious viruses or bacteria into them. This is easy to obtain as skin care is not only essential for people with lymphedema, but these steps should also be followed by people without any lymphatic disorders. -Exercise: These movements will be chosen in a simple plan by your doctor or a lymphedema care team to help focus on the area in which has developed the lymphedema, although the exercises will also help the whole of the body to reduce the chances of developing it in any other parts of the body. As well as helping with the flow of the lymph fluid in the body, the chosen exercise plan can also help some patients to lose weight if it is needed to improve their health. Exercises that can help with the correct flow of lymph drainage can include light jogging, cycling, swimming or walking up and down stairs multiple times a day. The only problem with this part of the diagnostic lymphatic therapy is if the patient has a problem in which they are unable to walk or do the chosen exercises, this will make it difficult to help drain the lymph fluid from the lymph vessels. This increases the chances of the lymphedema worsening. -Massages: A specific massage which is directed to patients with lymphedema is called manual lymphatic drainage. This is carried out by a lymphedema specialist. The importance of this treatment is to move the lymphatic fluid from the swollen areas into parts of the body that have fully functioning lymph nodes. Although, some patients are recommended not to have this, this would be if a lymphedema patient has a split of cut in the skin, or if the doctors believe it will cause more harm rather than good. Sometimes your lymphedema therapist may also recommend a home massage treatment, this is called simple lymphatic drainage. This can be done by the patient, and and the therapist will teach you a range of techniques to help with lymph drainage in swelled areas of the body. The positives of SLD (simple lymphatic drainage) is that it helps to keep the swelling and pain down in the lymphedema affected areas of the body, while doctors are unable to perform manual lymphatic drainage. For this treatment of lymphedema, there are no serious side effects, except for weight loss due to the exercise. Although weight loss does not always happen as it can depend on the patient and the sort of exercise that they are doing.