Lymphoedema

Understanding the Relationship Between Lymphatic Health and Lymphoedema

Lymphoedema is a chronic condition characterised by the accumulation of lymph fluid in the tissues, leading to swelling, most commonly in the arms or legs. It can be a result of cancer treatments, particularly those involving the removal of lymph nodes or radiation therapy, as well as hereditary factors, infections, or physical trauma.

Understanding lymphoedema and its connection to the lymphatic system is crucial for effective management and improving the quality of life for those affected.

The Lymphatic System and Its Role

The lymphatic system is an essential part of the immune system, comprising lymph vessels, lymph nodes, and lymph fluid. It functions to transport lymph, a clear fluid containing white blood cells, throughout the body to help remove toxins, waste, and other unwanted materials. It plays a crucial role in maintaining fluid balance and protecting the body against infections.

In cases of lymphoedema, the lymphatic system’s ability to drain lymph fluid from tissues is compromised, leading to fluid accumulation and swelling. This can occur due to damage or removal of lymph nodes, often as a part of cancer treatment, particularly breast cancer.

CJ&CO Circulate Hire Program

If you are unsure of whether the Circulate will be the right thing for you, we offer an hire program to allow you to try the system before committing to purchase.

This will help you decide on if you want to invest in your own Circulate.

Lymphoedema and Breast Cancer Treatment

Breast cancer treatment, including surgery and radiotherapy, can significantly impact the lymphatic system. Approximately 1 in 5 patients with breast cancer who undergo axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) experience secondary lymphoedema as a surgical complication. The risk of lymphoedema nearly doubles when surgical treatment is combined with radiotherapy or chemotherapy .

Mechanism of Lymphoedema Post-Treatment:

  • Surgery: Removal of lymph nodes disrupts the normal lymph drainage pathways, leading to fluid buildup in the affected area.
  • Radiotherapy: Radiation can cause scarring and inflammation in lymph nodes, further impairing lymph drainage.
  • Chemotherapy: Some chemotherapy agents can damage lymphatic vessels, contributing to lymphoedema.

Symptoms:

  • Swelling in the arms or legs.
    Redness and blotchy skin appearance.
  • Sensations of itching, burning, or pain.
  • Decreased mobility and discomfort.

Risk Factors and Prevalence

The prevalence of lymphoedema varies based on the type of cancer treatment. About 20% of women who undergo ALND develop lymphoedema, while approximately 5% of women who undergo sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) experience the condition. The risk is higher within the first three years post-treatment, with more than 70% of cases developing within the first year.

Managing Lymphoedema

Early intervention and proper management are key to preventing the progression of lymphoedema. Here are some effective management techniques:

Self Lymphatic Drainage (SLD)
Everyday at home body brushing following the Chelsey Jean Lymphatic Sequence to keep lymph moving. Click here to watch the “how-to” video – it’s quick and easy!

Exercise
Regular physical activity helps improve lymph circulation and prevent fluid buildup. However, it’s important to start slowly and avoid overexertion. Try aqua activities, rebounding, dancing, anything that you love!

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)
MLD is a specialised massage technique that helps move lymph fluid towards the central circulation, reducing swelling and discomfort. To be honest, every massage therapist should be following lymphatic flow. Don’t go to one who doesn’t!

Hydration and Nutrition
Staying well-hydrated and maintaining a healthy diet supports lymphatic function and overall health. Eat foods that are individually compatible with you to keep inflammation down, also do not always believe the cut out salt advice ;) But do think about having digestive enzymes at each meal.

Skin Care
Keeping the skin clean and moisturised with our LymFATics cream can prevent infections, which can worsen lymphoedema. Avoid soaps, get adequate sunshine and Vitamin D for better skin integrity.

Weight Management
Maintaining a healthy weight can be difficult but will reduce the strain on the lymphatic system and lower the risk of further symptoms.
Education, Awareness and Support:
Educating patients about the signs and symptoms of lymphoedema, as well as preventive measures, is essential for early detection and effective management, unfortunately this is very poorly done in Australia. Please join our BooB CamP community here.

Compression
Wearing compression sleeves or stockings can help reduce swelling but are a pain in the butt. Our CJ&CO Circulate Compression range has helped hundreds of women reduce the swelling without the struggle of daily garments.

Innovations and Research

Recent research has focused on improving lymphoedema management and exploring new treatment options. For instance, studies have shown that lymphatic drainage exercises and advanced compression techniques can significantly reduce swelling and improve quality of life for lymphoedema patients.

But we dont believe this is good enough.

We are in constant touch with lymphatic specialists across the world who are taking great steps towards reducing lymphoedema permanently. Additionally, ongoing research aims to develop better surgical techniques to minimise the risk of lymphoedema post-cancer treatment.

The Psychological Impact

Lymphoedema not only affects physical health but also has a significant psychological impact. Patients often experience anxiety, depression, and a decreased quality of life due to the chronic nature of the condition and the visible changes in their body.

Providing psychological support and counseling can help patients cope with the emotional challenges associated with lymphoedema.

If you are living with Lymphoedema, join our BooB CamP Facebook group for great community support.

Recommendations from Chelsey Jean Lymphatics

At Chelsey Jean Lymphatics, we are committed to helping individuals manage lymphoedema and maintain optimal lymphatic health. Here are some personalised recommendations:

Lymphatic Massage
Our specialised lymphatic massage in-clinic techniques help stimulate lymph flow, reduce swelling, and alleviate discomfort.

Our staff are very friendly and compassionate, we guarantee you will leave knowing what you can do to feel better.

Compression Therapy
We offer a range of high-quality affordable pneumatic compression devices designed to support lymphatic drainage, improve mobility and reduce lymphoedema swelling.

We even have a hire to buy option as we believe nothing beats a 30 minute compression massage at home each day.

Nutritional Guidance
We provide expert advice on maintaining a balanced diet and staying hydrated to support lymphatic function by following your personalised biocompatibility food results. We also have naturopathic and nutritional professional staff available for consultations.

Holistic Approach
Our holistic approach combines in clinic physical treatments with emotional support to ensure overall well-being for our patients.

At Home Care
Our range of Chelsey Jean Lymphatic products are designed perfectly for lymphoedema ladies. Use your gloves twice a day, following the directions as well as the naturopathically formulated moisturiser. Our special bundle is great value.

Take Proactive Steps

Understanding the relationship between lymphatic health and lymphoedema is crucial for effective management and improving quality of life.

By following the recommendations and techniques outlined above, and in this video, individuals can take proactive steps in managing lymphoedema and supporting their lymphatic system.

At Chelsey Jean Lymphatics, we are dedicated to providing the best care and support for those affected by lymphoedema.