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BLS Consensus/Cellulitis Guidelines

What is Lymphoedema?

Lymphoedema is the term used to describe swelling that can occur anywhere in the body, but most commonly affects the limbs. It is important to note, that swelling can occur for different reasons, and it is important that a diagnosis about the underlying cause of swelling is made by a qualified health care professional.

Lymphoedema can be classified as Primary or Secondary, depending on the cause.

Primary Lymphoedema may be present at birth, develop at puberty or in mid-life, and relates to abnormal functioning of the lymphatic system.

Secondary lymphoedema may occur following treatment for cancer, surgery, radiation therapy, recurrent infections or trauma.

If lymphoedema is left untreated, there is a risk that it may worsen over time.

Lymphoedema is not curable, but there are ways to control and manage symptoms that can also help to improve quality of life.

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last updated : 15/9/2014

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