The fluid is drained along the system by three main mechanisms which operate synergistically. Each has an important role:

* The Respiratory Pump via Diaphragmatic Breathing

* The Muscle Pump via Exercise

* The Lymphatic system via peristalsis in the digestive

system/intestines

STAGES OF LYMPHOEDEMA:

Lymphoedema can gradually progress through the following stages:

STAGE 0 (LATENT STAGE)

* Person is at high risk due to a known dysfunction in the lymphatic system

* No swelling

* “Normal” tissue consistency

STAGE I (REVERSIBLE)

* Soft

* Putty-like

* Pitting (when you press your finger into the swelling, an indent is

left when you remove the pressure)

* Mild Swelling is markedly or completely reduced by elevating the

affected area

STAGE 2 (SPONTANEOUSLY IRREVERSIBLE)

* May be firm and rubbery (indicating varying degrees of fibrosis)

* No pitting or mild pitting when pressure is applied

* Swelling not reduced by elevation

* May be accompanied by frequent infections

STAGE 3 (LYMPHOSTATIC ELEPHANTIASIS):

* Extreme increase in volume and size

* Significant changes to the texture of the skin

* Skin changes- papillomas, hyperkeratosis and skinfolds

* No reduction in swelling with elevation