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What is Lymphoedema (pronounced Lim-fo-dee-ma)

It is a chronic inflammatory condition in which a part of the lymphatic drainage system fails to work effectively.  This inefficiency causes a build-up of lymph fluid in tissues of the affected area, known as oedema.  It can affect all ages and any area of the body, but most commonly develops in the arms or legs.

Lymphoedema may be Primary.  An abnormality of the lymphatic system that has been present from birth.  Evident at birth, or identified later in life, possibly triggered by an event that has caused further strain to the system.

Or it may be Secondary lymphoedema.  This occurs because of damage to a normally functioning lymphatic system.  There are many causes, but examples are cancer surgery & treatment, cellulitis, burns, wounds, bites, DVT, stroke, and some medications.

Lymphoedema Support Network - LSN, British Lymphology Society - BLS, and MLD UK are all great support and information resources, with advice and guidance about managing lymphoedema.


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