4+ Essentials to Help with Your Lymphedema
Struggling with lymphedema is a battle. With the primary approaches to treatment being lifestyle changes and symptom management, it can be challenging to know how to approach the condition from day to day. To help you make the best choices for managing your lymphedema, here is some information on the condition and 4+ symptom management essentials to consider.
Treatment Essentials for Lymphedema
Treatment for lymphedema is about pain management; although there is no cure for the condition, the most critical part of treatment is reducing swelling. If you are diagnosed with lymphedema, medications that may help include antibiotics and diuretics.
Depending on your doctor’s recommendations, NSAIDs may be used to reduce inflammation, pain, and swelling.
In addition to these medications, swelling can be kept under control with:
3). lymphatic drainage
4). CDT therapy
Complete Decongestive Therapy aims to improve lymphatic drainage with protocols for skincare and exercise.
What is the Purpose of the Lymphatic System?
Your lymphatic system filters out waste and debris and sends white blood cells to protect against infection. When there is a disruption to this system, filtering out waste products and fighting off bacteria and viruses become more challenging for the body.
What Increases Risk of Lymphedema?
The most significant risk factor for developing lymphedema is receiving intense cancer treatment. Kidney disease, obesity, physical trauma, and body impairments can also inhibit how effectively the lymph system functions and may increase one’s risk of developing lymphedema.
Symptoms of Lymphedema
Symptoms of lymphedema include excess swelling in the legs and arms, a feeling of body fullness, skin thickening, itching, and burning sensations across the body.
Surgical Procedures are a Last Resort
- There are also surgical procedures that can treat lymphedema.
- These are usually only recommended when non-surgical treatments are not helping.
- Three surgeries are used to treat the condition: lymphatic bypass, debulking, and lymph node transfers.
Lifestyle Changes are Key
To manage your lymphedema, lifestyle changes to take care of yourself are essential.
- Regular exercise, practicing a consistent stress reduction routine, wearing loose clothing, partaking in healthy hygiene habits, and healthy eating can give you more control over your swelling.
- The best exercises for the condition are aerobic activities and low-impact activities. Walking, stretching, yoga, and swimming are great ways to drain lymphatic buildup.
- Avoid wearing anything that is tightfitting, including jewelry and snug shoes. To reduce swelling, avoid overly acidic food and foods high in sodium.
Work with Healthcare Teams
Work with a physical therapist and a dietician to help you finalize the best lifestyle habits to manage your condition and to reduce your overall experience of swelling and discomfort.
Everyone needs an individualized approach to weight management, which plays a crucial role in reducing the amount of swelling and retention experienced by the sufferer.
Increase Your Selfcare
Practice self-massage using body lotion and body oils to improve blood flow and circulation of the body. Yoga practices like headstands can also help drain fluid-build up and reduce the amount of swelling and discomfort experienced.
Be sure to speak with your doctor about the specific medications that will be most effective for your needs. There may be room for herbal remedies to control swelling and retention. Before beginning any supplemental routine, always speak with your healthcare provider to ensure no negative interactions or unwanted side effects will occur.
Control the Intensity
Although there is no cure for lymphedema, there are ways to control its intensity. Consider the treatment protocols suggestions listed above as you work to improve your state of health with a qualified medical provider.
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