Lymphoedema is a chronic disease that causes body tissues to swell. It occurs due to a malfunction of the lymphatic system the body uses to resist infection and rid itself of accumulations of fluids. Usually, it affects arms or legs, but it can break out in any part of the body. Swelling of limbs is the most obvious symptom, but patients also suffer from repeated infections, aches, fluid leaks through the skin and a number of other health issues. At first, swelling tends to be worse during the day, but the condition soon worsens without appropriate treatment. Early identification makes a major difference to how effective treatments can relieve disease symptoms.
DLT is a four-stage treatment approach that takes a number of months. The therapist applies compression bandages that help to get excess fluid out of infected limbs and prevent new fluid accumulations. In addition, the treatment involves measures to keep the patient's skin healthy and avoid infections. Additional phases involve muscle exercises that improve drainage of fluids and steps to improve the flow of fluids and lessen the chances of infection. It is important to note that DLT is not a cure for the disease but a proven way to keep it under control. It also needs a follow up "maintenance" program with regular reviews of the patient's condition.
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