I have secondary Lymphdema, which is a build up of fluid in your body’s tissue (I will explain fully below) It basically mean you have large lumps of tissue and fluid, I was quite tempted to name this blog post ” my lumps my little lady lumps” after the Fergie song however I refrained ha, Though there is no cure for lymphdema it can be managed a little with compression and massage, but because I am bed bound, I have a profiling mattress which is to prevent skin sores but it also seems to help with moving the fluid round as it turns me every 10 minutes.
Since I have lost the weight, I have so far, I have noticed a lot of improvement in mine, as It definitely isn’t as painful, though it does vary & some days are worse than others, however My skin no longer leaks fluid or at least hasn’t for about 8 months now, which no longer causes sores, as the photo shows of my leg now and in January 2017, when it was very ulcerated & leaking constantly, you can also see by the two pictures, how much better the lymphdema looks now, it is not as compacted as it was and hopefully I will get to the point where I can walk again, other issues allowing and can possibly use the compression garments to help once that happens.
The smart explanation
Lymphoedema is a long-term (chronic) condition that causes swelling in the body’s tissues. It can affect any part of the body, but usually develops in the arms or legs.
It develops when the lymphatic system doesn’t work properly. The lymphatic system is a network of channels and glands throughout the body that helps fight infection and remove excess fluid.
It’s important that lymphoedema is identified and treated as soon as possible. If it isn’t treated, it can get worse.
Symptoms of lymphoedema
The main symptom of lymphoedema is swelling in all or part of a limb or another part of the body. It can be difficult to fit into clothes, and jewellery and watches can feel tight.
At first, the swelling may come and go. It may get worse during the day and go down overnight. Without treatment, it will usually become more severe and persistent.
Other symptoms in an affected body part can include:
- an aching, heavy feeling
- difficulty with movement
- repeated skin infections
- hard, tight skin
- folds developing in the skin
- wart-like growths developing on the skin
- fluid leaking through the skinLymphoedema is caused by a problem with the lymphatic system, a network of vessels and glands spread throughout the body. The main functions of the lymphatic system are helping fight infection and draining excess fluid from tissues.
There are two main types of lymphoedema:
- primary lymphoedema – caused by faulty genes that affect the development of the lymphatic system; it can develop at any age, but usually starts during infancy, adolescence, or early adulthood
- secondary lymphoedema – caused by damage to the lymphatic system or problems with the movement and drainage of fluid in the lymphatic system; it can be the result of an infection, injury, cancer treatment, inflammation of the limb, or a lack of limb movement
Lymphoedema is thought to affect more than 200,000 people in the UK. Primary lymphoedema is rare and is thought to affect around 1 in every 6,000 people. Secondary lymphoedema is much more common.
There’s no cure for lymphoedema, but it’s usually possible to control the main symptoms using techniques to minimise fluid build-up and stimulate the flow of fluid through the lymphatic system.
These include wearing compression garments, taking good care of your skin, moving and exercising regularly, having a healthy diet and lifestyle, and using specialised massage techniques.
Cellulitis is the most common complication of lymphoedema. It can also have a significant psychological impact.
If you have lymphoedema, the build-up of fluid in your tissues makes you more vulnerable to infection.
Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the deep layer of skin (dermis) that often affects people with lymphoedema. Cellulitis can also sometimes cause lymphoedema.
Symptoms of cellulitis can include:
- redness and a feeling of heat in the skin
- pain and increased swelling in the affected area
- a high temperature (fever)
Antibiotics taken by mouth (orally) can usually be used to treat cellulitis, although severe cases may need to be treated in hospital with antibiotics given directly into a vein (intravenously).
Living with a long-term condition that affects your appearance can cause a great deal of distress and lead to periods of depression.
You may be depressed if you’ve been feeling down for the past few months and no longer find pleasure in things you usually enjoy.
If this is the case, talk to your GP or a member of your lymphoedema treatment team. Effective treatments are available for depression.
Talking to other people with lymphoedema can be reassuring and decrease feelings of isolation, stress and anxiety.