MLD is a major defensive transport system of the body. It is just as important as the cardiovascular system, with which it is closely linked, as well as the distribution of the fluid & nutrients throughout the body.

Functions:

  • Transport system but also plays a major role in· the body’s defensive mechanisms
  • Important for the distribution of fluid & nutrients throughout the body ·
  • It ensures that the excess fluid & proteins are drained off so the tissues do not swell up.

It makes sure that substances such as fats, cell debris, foreign bodies bacteria & products of metabolism are carried away.

The fluid which flows in this system is called LYMPH. It fills the spaces between the cells. The lymphatic system comprises lymph capillaries, larger vessels, lymph nodes, the spleen, tonsils & thymus.

When the lymph transport system gets overloaded with the excess fluid, this escapes into the tissue, leading to the swelling of the affected parts of the body. it  is most commonly found in the arms & legs. The head & sexual organs may also be affected because the lymphatic system supplies the whole body. Inflicted damage is the cause of the Lymphoedema. This means the destruction of the lymph nodes or lymph vessels as a result of an operation, radiation, injury, inflammation, bums, or tumors.

When lymphoedema persists long, the tissue gets thinner & firmer. Initially you can still make an indentation in the tissue but later it becomes impossible. The swelling will result in pain as well as the restricted function of the activities of daily living. This inflammation of the skin, caused by bacteria, is because of the protein rich fluid provides an ideal

nutrient medium for microorganisms. In rare cases of long­ standing lymphoedema, a growth may form because of the tissue changes.

Treatment of Lymphoedema  takes a long time. It is treated with manual lymphatic drainage, compression bandages & stockings, and physiotherapy. To get the best results always be under the supervision of the medical doctor.