Living with Lymphedema...
Unfortunately, there is no cure for
lymphedema. Treatment focuses on reducing the swelling and controlling the
Lymphedema treatments include:
· Exercises. Light exercises that require you to move your affected arm or leg may encourage movement of the lymph fluid out of your limb. Ask your doctor for a visit with a lymphedema therapist who can recommend exercises and strategies that are best for you.
· Wrapping your arm or leg. Special compression sleeves and bandages to reduce swelling may be part of your recommended treatment.
· Massage. A special massage technique called manual lymph drainage encourages the flow of lymph fluid out of your arm or leg. Manual lymph drainage involves special hand strokes on your affected limb to gently move lymph fluid to healthy lymph nodes, where it can drain.
· Pneumatic compression. If you receive pneumatic compression, you'll wear a sleeve over your affected arm or leg. The sleeve is connected to a pump that intermittently inflates the sleeve, putting pressure on your limb. The inflated sleeve gently moves lymph fluid away from your fingers or toes, reducing the swelling in your arm or leg.
If you are living with lymphedema, it is important to take special precautions:
- Avoid vaccinations, injections, blood pressure monitoring, blood drawing, and intravenous administration in the arm affected.
- Do not wear tight-fitting clothing or jewelry.
- Be aware of exposure to extreme temperatures, such as sunburns, hot baths, and saunas.
- Watch for early signs of infection such as redness, swelling, increased warmth, tenderness, or fever.
If you have lymphedema and are struggling to manage the symptoms, request an appointment with your health care team to discuss your plan. Visit with our lymphedema specialist so that you can learn as much as possible about potential management strategies.