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What is lymphoedema

Lymphedema, information from the Scandinavian Forum for Lymfologi

This document contains information from the Scandinavian Forum for Lymfologi. For a detailed review of the cause, classification and treatment.

The lymphatic system
The lymphatic system is a transport system that works with blood circulation in the body. Circulation is a closed-loop system consists of arteries and veins. It can be likened to a branched pipe system, where the heart is the engine. The large arteries that are difficult to penetrate, causes the blood to body organs. Where the branch beyond, are becoming smaller and more permeable blood vessels (capillary harrorsarer). The arteries supply the body's organs nutrients and oxygen-rich blood. The capillaries release easily through the blood because of blood pressure in arteriesiden: using protein pressure on the venous side, 90% of waste products into the venous system and transported away. The remaining 10% is lymph mandatory, i.e. the larger protein molecules are transported via the lymphatic system. These 10% one is about 2-3 liters per day. The lymphatic system starts blindly in the tissue - small lymphatics which, again via the pressure, opening and closing. When the fluid enters the lymphatic system, it is transported to greater and larger lymph vessels by flaps in years. In the sinistral venous angle drained ¾ of lymph from the leg's internal organs - and the rest of the left side. In the right vein drained angle of neck, head and right chest (thoracic). In broad outline follows the larger lymph vessels, collectors, the venous system Both the venous system and the lymphatic system is mainly controlled by body movements, muscle pump and respiration. The fluid in the lymph vessels proceeding to the lymph nodes that have a filtering and regulatory function. We have about 600 nodes in the body, and the lymphatic system has a major function in connection with the immune system.

what is lymphedema management

Damage to the lymphatic system enables fluid and large proteins (albumin) remains in the tissue (interstitiet). Basically, the pile-up of fluids along with protein and it will be left in the tissue over time, be fluid into tissues. This is a lymphedema is a chronic disorder.

There are several possible reasons why the lymphatic system becomes impaired (lymphatic insufficiency).

Two of the main reasons is.
Primary lymphedema is a congenital malformation of genetic lymphatic system without underlying cause (lymphangioma dysplasias). Initial lymphedema is almost always located in the legs, often only one limb.

The most common forms of primary lymphedema are:

Congenital lymphedema (Milroy disease) that appears in infancy, about 6%
Lymphoedema praecox (Meigs syndrome) which usually debuts at puberty, about 70%
Lymphoedema tardum (tardive = late) that show up after 35 years of age, about 20%
Fewer frequent forms: Klippel Trenaunay Weber disease, Turner syndrome, Aagenæs-Sharp syndrome.

Secondary lymphedema occurs by a direct injury to the lymphatic system and constitutes about 70% of cases of lymphedema. It occurs most frequently after surgery combined with radiation therapy in cancer treatment. With lymph, streams are cancer cells to regional lymph node stations and into the bloodstream. At surgery the tumor and surrounding tissue removed. During an operation, one cannot avoid cutting lymph capillaries and larger collecting veins. Lymph capillaries newly formed, but the large gathering years do not grow back. Removed lymph nodes, the more extensive damage and fluid accumulates in the tissue. The following treatment with radiation therapy in addition, the radiation that is followed by changes in fibrosis (radio fibrosis) and scarring in the beam area.

Chronic lymphedema usually starts after a latency period of months and years. Latency can be very long, right up to 20 years after surgery.

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