The prevalence of leg, arm and facial swelling (oedema) in a western population

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There are no reliable estimates of the prevalence of acute or chronic oedemas in Australia or elsewhere. This survey of a random sample of 3004 adult South Australians indicates 6.1% of the adult population experienced a significant swelling of some part of their body in the last year. A breakdown of this figure showed that 1.7% experienced a swelling due to allergic reaction, infection or burn, 2.7% experienced a swelling associated with injury, 1.2% experienced a swelling due to tooth extraction and 0.5% a swelling due to an operation or irradiation. For those with swelling associated with allergic reaction, infection or burn, those in the 25-34 year age group predominated, being 23.2% of the total. For those who had a swelling associated with an injury the 15-24 year age group predominated with 39.8% of the total. Of injured group, 94.3% experienced some restriction in movement while 50.5% of these had 'quite a bit' of restriction. Twenty eight point two percent (28.2%) of those with swelling due to injury were restricted in their movement for over one month. Sixty five point four percent (65.4%) sought some form of treatment for their swelling from a practitioner or therapist while 20.4% treated the problem themselves. For those who consulted a practitioner or therapist 38.1% in the 45-54 year age group reported a worsening or no change in the condition following the consultation. While in the 65 plus age group the figure was 35.8%. These figures suggest that further investigations are warranted ascertaining the breadth of the problem of swellings and in particular indicate that treatment and management strategies are having less than a optimal effect on those with problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-73
Number of pages3
JournalEuropean Journal of Lymphology and Related Problems
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Facial treatment
  • Limb
  • Oedema
  • Population Survey


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