What is lymphoedema?
- Lymphoedema is a failure of the lymphatic system to collect and remove proteins from the fluid of the body's tissues.
- When proteins remain trapped in the tissue for prolonged periods of time they act by their osmotic action like a magnet attracting more fluid resulting in swelling (oedema).
- If left uncorrected collagen fibers may bond to the protein molecules of the connective tissue resulting in hardening of the tissue (fibrosis).
What are the signs and symptoms of lymphoedema?
- Tightness of the skin in affected area or limb.
- Heaviness of limb.
- Tingling or pins and needles.
- Swelling in the affected area or limb.
- Increase in limb size, clothing feels tight.
- Changes in skin texture e.g. thickness, creases, lumps.
- Changes in skin colour.
- Loss of function in affected limb.
- Hardening of the tissue (fibrosis).