Cellulitis and Lymphoedema
As you’re probably familiar with by now, gaining a greater understanding about lymphatic conditions and the possible risks they may pose to your health is central in learning how to best manage it.
Lymphoedema is strongly associated with other medical conditions, due to an impairment to our lymph system. The lymph system plays a key role in keeping our immune system healthy and, as such, an impairment to our lymph system can cause various issues surrounding how we deal with infections.
Germs are often a cause of infections, and within our busy lives we come into contact with them all of the time. Our immune system, alongside our lymph system, is often able to efficiently deal with these threats – most of the time these are dealt with without us even knowing about it. Sometimes we become aware of this process by a slight swelling in our lymph glands which is simply an indicator that our body is fighting infection. On other occasions, we may feel unwell and contract a fever, showing our immune system has had to go into overdrive to fight the infection.
A key point to remember is that although lymphoedema compromises our immune system by impairing its ability to fight infection, it solely affects the area where the lymphoedema is present. This leads to the area becoming more prone to infections which can often be difficult to permanently eradicate.
One type of infection which is strongly associated with lymphoedema is cellulitis. This can be a painful and potentially serious infection which, in some cases, leads to septicaemia (blood poisoning). It can cause a profound illness, with high temperature and low blood pressure heightening the risk of damage to our vital organs. Cellulitis is commonly caused by a skin surface break, for example a cut or insect bite which leads to the introduction of bacteria into the region. This often results in a spread of infection within this area, with the impaired immune system being unable to cope and efficiently fight the infection due to the lymphoedema causing a weakened immune response.
Infections such as cellulitis appear to commonly recur without any pattern or warning. These random attacks are believed to persist due to the impaired immune system being unable to fully eradicate the infection, and so antibiotics are commonly used to help treat the infection. However, these antibiotics are designed to work alongside your immune system, not in place of it, meaning that if your immune response is impaired they are not always very effective.
As a result, it is important to take extra care of yourself, such as having a suitable skincare routine, especially in the areas affected by lymphoedema. This includes taking measures to try and prevent infections, or to properly manage any infections that do occur to ensure they don’t get worse. In combination with regular physical activity, this can make a huge difference to effectively manage your lymphatic condition and improve your quality of life. To find out more about steps you should take to help manage your lymphatic system, click here review our previous blog.
Remember, every movement counts when it comes to your health. Whether that’s from increasing the movement involved from going about your everyday life, or making time for activities that you enjoy… it all gets the lymph fluid flowing!
The LymphActiv Team