5 Things To Know About Lymphedema
The rate of lymphedema is estimated to increase significantly as the global population ages and cancer cases increase. Therefore, increasing people’s understanding and awareness of lymphedema is important. Here are five points you should keep in mind about lymphedema.
Cancer is one of the common causes of lymphedema.
Lymphedema is the common side effect of surgical or radiation treatment for nearly any type of cancer, but most common in:
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Pelvic area cancers
- Head and neck cancers
There’s no cure for lymphedema, but it can be managed and improved.
Prevention and controlling symptoms of lymphedema are important as there is no cure. Then, how can we prevent or lower the risk of lymphedema?
It is not possible to completely prevent lymphedema, especially when it is related to cancer. However, there are ways to help lower the risk of lymphedema. The keys are preventing skin infections and allowing fluids to flow through the swollen area.
- Keep your skin clean and keep it moist to prevent chapping and chafing
- Treat cuts and scratches immediately and apply antibacterial ointment and a bandage
- Not have injections or other needle sticks in the affected area
Allow the free flow of fluids through the affected area
- Don’t wear tight clothing or jewelry, as it can block lymphatic drainage
- Try lymphatic massage which can help reduce swelling and improve circulation throughout the entire lymphatic system.
- If your arm or leg is swollen, elevate it above your heart when possible.
Besides, maintaining a healthy weight and living a healthy lifestyle are also important to reduce the risk of lymphedema. Being obese puts people at higher risk for lymphedema and makes it harder to treat lymphedema. And exercise can enhance lymphatic drainage and help your muscles regain strength and flexibility.
Not all swelling is lymphedema.
After surgery, some patients experience temporary swelling, which will disappear with time. If you have a swollen extremity, don’t assume it is lymphedema. Dietary changes, heart or vascular issues, and lipedema can cause swelling. But it is important to talk to your doctor if you are experiencing swelling or suspect lymphedema.
Symptoms of lymphedema include:
- The progressive swelling of an arm, leg, or other parts of your body
- The sensation of tightness, heaviness, or sometimes tingling in the affected area
- Skin in the affected area becomes thicker or leathery
- Recurring infections in the same area of the body
- Clothing and jewelry fit more tightly on the affected area
Early diagnosis of lymphedema enables better manage the condition to improve overall wellness and quality of life significantly.
If left untreated, lymphedema can lead to severe problems.
The main symptom of lymphedema is swelling. It also causes hardened skin, numbness, and mobility difficulty. If left untreated, lymphedema can develop at any time and lead to severe discomfort and life-threatening infections. Lymphedema complications may include:
- Skin infections (cellulitis)
- Leakage through the skin
- Skin changes
Home pneumatic compression device helps manage lymphedema more conveniently and reduces costs.
A pneumatic compression device provides on-and-off intermittent and gradient pressure to the affected area to keep fluids moving, so it doesn’t build up. The device is easy to use by simply connecting the pump to a sleeve that wraps around your affected areas. The pump generates air to inflate and deflate the sleeve to provide pressure to the affected areas in a cycled time. You can adjust the pressure level according to your condition.
Longest LGT-2200SP is a medical-grade pneumatic compression device that is designed to help people with lymphedema to manage their symptoms conveniently and economically at home. The device comes with different types of garments, allowing more precise treatment.
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