Lymphoedema first of all needs to be diagnosed correctly by a medical practitioner who has knowledge in this area.
The diagnosis of Lymphoedema is simply overwhelming. There is a lot to take in and many questions to ask. What is it? Why is bandaging important? Should I wear a garment and when should I start wearing one? What can I do myself to manage it? Can I exercise and will that help? What about diet? How does compression actually work?
This is where a Lymphoedema therapist comes in. At Hills Natural Health Centre we offer an appointment to help you answer those questions and learn more about lymphoedema and how to manage it long term, cost effectively.
Maintenance and Prevention
The biggest challenge the medical and allied health practitioners are facing is compliancy and that most of the time Lymphoedema needs to be managed indefinitely as it can get progressively worse if not cared for. By learning the same bandaging techniques used in German and Austrian Lymphoedema clinics today, everyone can learn to self-bandage or can get a family member or friend who is willing to help. Also there is the question of prevention….’After a mastectomy and axillary lymph nodes have been removed… what preventative measures should I take, if any? Research often does not look at prevention and then there is even conflicting research about garments and Lymphatic Drainage. It’s a mine field!
Lymphoedema in Other Countries
Take Austria and Germany for instance. People with lymphoedema can have access to a one week per year medicare funded stay at a lymphoedema clinic to reduce the volume of their limb. This includes bandaging and Manual Lymphatic Drainage twice daily, decongestive exercises and skin care. At the end of the week, and once the volume has been reduced, they are measured for a compression garment. And only then. Garments only maintain the volume (they do not reduce the size of the limb).
Here in Australia we do not have that luxury and ongoing self care for Lymphoedema is very important. Learning how to treat yourself to a certain degree is essential. It empowers the person. It is effective long term management and with a bandaging kit where the bandages can be washed up to 50 times it can be quite cost effective. Autofit garments (which are adjustable) can also be of great help.
Treatment protocols for Lymphoedema are very individual and different management options suit different people. In Indonesia, for instance, people usually don’t wear compression garments as they are too expensive. Manual Lymphatic Drainage is their option and it seems to work quite well for them and is covered by medicare. Not so in Australia.
Find out what works for you
Feel in charge of your long term health by learning more about your individual diagnosis and how to manage it effectively.
Learn how to bandage your arm or leg. Self-bandaging is easy after a few goes and incredibly effective in reducing the size of a limb with lymphoedema!
The international consensus for best practice for Lymphoedema management is CDT or Complex Decongestive Therapy and includes.
- Compression bandaging and Garments
- Decongestive Exercises
- Manual Lymphatic Drainage
- Self Care, including skin care and risk reduction