Servicing Brisbane to Gold Coast and Nth Burnett areas to Monto

Common Questions About Lymphoedema

What is Lymphoedema?

All swelling is OEDEMA!

Lymphoedema means it is swelling caused by a problem within the Lymphatic System. Fluid regularly leaks into body tissues from the blood. The lymphatic system is a network of vessels throughout the body that drains this fluid (called lymph) from tissues and empties it back into the bloodstream. Fluid retention (oedema) occurs when the fluid isn't removed from the tissues. This is why the limb swells.

 

What are some of the causes of Lymphoedema?

Secondary Lymphoedema.  

(lymphatic system becomes damaged or blocked)

Medical conditions:

Kidney disease -

Heart failure - If ever there is a problem with the heart not pumping correctly, the body reacts in such a way to compensate for this by retaining fluid and increasing blood flow. This will cause blockages in arteries and veins, causing the liver to enlarge. The result will be an accumulation of fluid in subcutaneous tissues, causing swelling in the lower limbs. This is an example of Lymphoedema.

Chronic lung disease -

Arthritis – When joints are inflamed they will tend to swell with fluid.

After Surgery 

Accidental injury that damages the lymphatic system

Infection of the skin and tissues

Poor blood drainage through the veins

Immobility

CANCER

Breast

Gynaecological

Prostrate

Melanoma

Sarcoma

Primary Lymphoedema   

(This type of Oedema often has unexplained symptoms why their limb is swelling)

 * Often a child is born with insufficient working lymphatics. (Congenital)

* Occurs around teenage/puberty years. (Praecox)

* Diagnosed in adults around the age group of 35 (Tarda)

Pregnancy can often be the onset of Tarda Lymphoedema due to hormonal changes in the body.  

  

 How do I know if I have lymphoedema?

Signs of Lymphoedema.

After surgery from removing lymph nodes, it's quite common over a period of time to get a swollen limb especially if all the nodes have been removed. In the arm for example, the limb will start feeling heavy to lift. You will notice an increase in the size of the affected arm to the non-affected one. In some cases when you press on the limb it will leave a dent in the skin like a sponge, this is pitted oedema. If ever you notice a swollen limb is warm to hot when you touch it and its going pink in colour, consult your Dr straight away. This can be the onset of Cellulitis, (an infection of the cells under the skin). Stagnant fluid in any limb is not healthy and often is the cause of many infections, and also prevents healing of any underlying medical issues. Excess fluid in a limb over a period of time can also cause hardening of the tissues known as (Fibrosis). Hence why it's important to see a Lymphoedema Therapist who can help remove the excess fluid, leaving the limb less painful, lighter and in a healthier condition.

 

Is it treatable?

Lymphoedema is treatable not curable. Most people who have this condition find with proper treatment, after care management, a good support garment it can be kept under control for most of their life.

 

Where do I go for treatment?

If you look on the Internet under Lymphoedema Therapist and your suburb, you may find a  qualified Therapists trained in treating lymphoedema. If you can't find help near you, contact me and I will try and find someone if I can.

I suggest you ask the Therapists what training have they done. If they can show you proof of their qualifications and insurance in treating lymphoedema, this should be sufficient.

Treatment is offered in Australia by most hospitals in the cities and by Private Therapists in their own clinical practices. Most of your qualified Therapists will be Professional Massage Therapists, Physio Therapists, RN's, or OT's.

 The Physiological & Emotional Stress related to having    

                         Lymphoedema:

Lymphoedema has a huge impact on the person dealing with it:

Clients feel depressed, embarrassed, feelings of hopelessness, anger and trying to overcome mobility problems as well:

Frustration is also a factor of Lymphoedema especially when many Medical Pratitioners show very little interest in helping or advising you wher to find help:

Lymphoedema can often cause sexual dysfunction when genital Lymphoedema is present:

Cancer patients suffer even worse sometimes. Firstly, dealing with the fact they have cancer and the impact this may cause in their life. They sometimes have to deal with a swollen limb as a side effect from Chemo, Radiation or Surgery:

You are not alone with these emotions and feelings.

Many Lymphoedema sufferers all go through the same feelings.

There are many support groups in Australia that have regular meetings to help support you where they can.

Send me an email where you live and I will find someone in your area that can help you.

Searching the internet can be very time consuming and frustrating.

How expensive is the treatment?

The cost for treatment will depend on where you go. Private hospitals are quite expensive and often their cost will be covered by your private health fund, depending on your cover. In some of the public hospitals, they offer the treatment for free, bandaging and sometimes garments for free. The waiting list can sometimes be quite long though. 

Unfortunatley at the moment, a lot of the hospitals have closed their lymphoedema clinic doors to clients with lymphoedema who are not cancer related. 

Your Private Therapists cost depends on what hourly rate they charge in their clinic. Private Health Funds can claim some Private Therapists fees. 

Are there Mobile Therapist's who will do treatment in the home?

Mobile therapy is not big in Australia. You mainly need to find your way to a clinic or the out patients section of the hospital..

I personally offer a mobile service from Brisbane to the Gold Coast

There are some professinal practitioners trained by the Lymphoedema Academy of Australia, that will go mobile. Check the practitioners here on this website under "Practitioners"

I find it's easier for most clients to remain in their home after treatment, rather than trying to drive their car or catch public transport when a limb has been bandaged after treatment.

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