Healthy Halifax Fall 2019: Lymphedema

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Lymphedema Services Now Available

From your head to your feet, your lymphatic system works hard to move waste and other unwanted materials from your body through lymph nodes, where they are filtered and ultimately removed.

When lymph nodes are removed or damaged, usually as part of cancer treatments, the resulting blockages prevent normal drainage of lymphatic fluid, a condition called lymphedema.

Halifax Regional Therapy Services recently became the first in the area to provide lymphedema services, eliminating the need to travel out of the area for treatment.

While lymphedema cannot be cured, it can be managed through early diagnosis and care of the affected area.

Lymphedema is managed with manual lymph drainage (MLD), which is a type of massage that encourages the fluid to drain. MLD can be performed at the clinic two to five times per week, depending on the patient. Patients are trained in MLD for those times when they are unable to make their clinic appointments. Patients can also wrap the affected area with progressive bandages and later with dressings that are more suitable for daily activities.

Symptoms of lymphedema include the slow swelling of the extremities—starting at the foot or ankle and working its way up—that does not go away with elevation or increased activity. If you’re suffering from lymphedema, contact your primary care provider for a referral to Halifax Regional Therapy Services.

 

 

 

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