Treatment of Lymphedema:
Happily, many effective treatments exist for lymphedema sufferers.
Complete Decongestive Therapy (also known as CDT) is an excellent choice for swelling decrease and for adverse side effects prevention – such as skin breakdowns and the aforementioned bacterial infections.
Lymphedema compression pumps, sleeves, stockings, bandages and garments, combined with thorough lymphedema therapy, are all highly effective ways to keep your lymphedema in check. It’s wonderful to see how happy patients get -- once pneumatic compressions greatly improve their lives’ quality.
A compression garment is a fantastic invention that just makes good common sense!
Either in the form of a stretchy, elasticized bandage or an attractive, front-zippered sleeve for the leg, arm, or torso, the garment compresses the lymphedema-affected area’s bulging oedema, impelling the body section’s blood and other vital fluids to flow more smoothly.
First, it’s essential to get your doctor, who should be a certified lymphedema therapist, (you can find a good one by contacting your local lymphedema association, lymphedema clinic or lymphedema center) to properly assess your arm, perhaps, or leg for the right lymphedema treatment.
A vital part of lymphedema compression therapy includes the doctor prescribing the exact amount of application pressure from your pump.
Too much pressure might create damage: the blood will just congest in another part of the body. Not enough pressure, conversely, might be ineffective.
As your condition improves, why not contact your lymphedema therapist or doctor to do another overview of your lymphedema management? The health professional might possibly choose to increase or decrease the pump’s pressure as a varying factor in your lymphedema therapy
At this point, you might be wondering if what you eat and drink has any bearing on your lymphedema treatment, lymphedema management – and even the prevention of further lymphedema outbreaks.
The answers are: yes, yes, and yes!
As the saying goes, our bodies truly are our temples…and what we choose to worship them with has a direct effect on whether those temples crumble from bad choices or remain sturdy and strong.
First, it’s important to maintain a healthy body weight. Excess fat makes the body and all of its various components work harder to sustain. The extra fat is a burden. Strain, breakdown and disease frequently result.
The higher your body mass (BMI) – the harder it will be to manage your lymphedema. It’s also true that people with unhealthy body masses are more prone to lymphedema.
If you already have the condition, gaining unhealthy weight just makes your lymphedema, and its varying complications, all that much worse.
On the other hand, losing weight and exercising will improve your lymphedema and overall health. You want to increase your lean body mass. Ask your doctor for special lymphedema exercises that will especially benefit you.
Plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, always our friends, should be the main focus of your new low-fat diet. These lovely gifts from nature are crammed full of bioflavonoids – just what you need to stimulate macrophages. Macrophages ebb your lymphatic fluid’s protein content…and that’s important, because reducing the fluid’s protein content then cuts down the fluid’s pressure.
If you suffer from hypertension, a malady that, not uncommonly, accompanies lymphedema disorders – it’s also a good idea to cut down on salt. Too much salt encourages swollen bodies to accumulate more fluid.
Nobody with lymphedema wants that!
Some interesting recent research looks into how a variety of other natural elements might help lymphedema symptoms.
Selenium (found in Brazil nuts) is good for depression. It also halts lymphedema from progressing further. Another friendly nut, the American horse chestnut, mildly hardens the vein – cutting down on phlebo-lymphedema symptoms.
The fascinating pineapple, tangy and highly acidic, contains bromelain -- a substance that tamps down lymphedema’s uncomfortable, symptomatic inflammation and swelling.
Incorporating all of these natural factors is an excellent way to manage your lymphedema training, therapy and treatment.
Nobody wants to hear that he or she has lymphedema, but the happy news is that there are some wonderful lymphedema products out there especially designed for your condition.
First, your lymphedema specialist or lymphedema therapist will probably recommend that you undergo manual lymphatic drainage (or MLD).
This special massage technique is a nice friend to your lymphatic system. It stimulates the clogged-up fluid in your swollen areas, inciting it to flow freely away from the affected zone. When this technique is done well (and it should be) your lymphatic system starts to feel like its old self.
It’s important to get an expert to do this, because MLD requires very specific massage patterns and pressures to work properly. After MLD is effectively applied, your lymphedema therapist might get you started on lymphedema compression bandages.
These unique compression bandages for lymphedema wrap around the afflicted zone. They decongest the backed-up fluid by pressing down on it. That applied pressure then stimulates the fluid to flow more freely through your system.
Bandages for lymphedema are purposefully non-elastic, because the added strength of a more rigid fabric adds more pressure against the lymphedemic limb. Interestingly, the non-elastic quality also makes it easier for lymphedema sufferers to wear for longer lengths of time.
Warning! Don’t even attempt to use a traditional Ace bandage as part of your lymphedema treatment. These old stand-byes are great for common scrapes and sprains – they may actually injure you further if you wrap them around a lymphedema-affected limb.
Other lymphedema products include some very attractive, pleasingly-hued, quilted, lymphedema leg sleeves, arm sleeves and even lymphedema gloves.
Belisse, CircAid Medical Products, Farrow Wrap, Jobst, JoViPak, Juzo USA, Medi USA, Peninsula Medical, Inc., and Solaris make such cute, stylish compression garments (hand-sewn by professional seamstresses) that your non-lymphedemic friends might wish they could wear them, too!
For swollen hands, try lovely, open-fingered lymphedema gloves: they look hip while tamping down on pain and tumescence. Various lymphedema vests, (perfect for truncal lymphedema) sleeves, hip-huggers, boxers, leggings, and jackets come in appealing colors ranging from cream to Royal Blue, Pink, and Leaf Green to the traditional black and neutral browns.
Women, whose lymphedema is a result of breast cancer surgery, will be thrilled to know that specific compression bras, using specialty compression, exist just for them. Belisse, a company formed by the inventors and designers of the original JogBra, expertly incorporates many of that garment’s same structure’s and purposes to provide support and comfort to lymphedema chest and breast sufferers.
CircAid specializes in non-elastic, in-elastic, and specialty compression garments.
CircAid (which makes the JuxtaFit line of compression stockings, sleeves and garments) was created for an interesting reason: the company’s founder, a clever engineer and inventor, noticed that giraffes, who sustain venous pressure of more than 250mmHg at their ankles, don’t suffer from lymphedema or venous disorders.
The reason? Nature gave them inelastic, non-stretchy skin – it protects them from any sort of lymphedema!
CircAid uses the same principle in its leggings and arm sleeves. They hug the limb shape and give it incredible, interlocking support. They’re easy to put on, the compression is adjustable, and the material -- lightweight, breathable and durable -- is so comfortable, you might actually forget you have it on. If you’d like to keep your arm lymphedema under wraps, choose from attractive “cover-ups,” in pink, black, or beige, for your Juxta-Fit Armsleeves.
Farrow Medical Innovations’ short stretch FarrowWrap compression garments are wonderful because they’re so easy to apply and their handy “trim-to-fit” technology means they fit any limb shape or size. You might feel stiff, you might be practically immobile…it doesn’t matter: their Simple Velcro fasteners make these ambidexterous hand gauntlets and garments so simple to don, you can even do it with one hand.
Their factory will even customize your garments just for you! The garments’ and sleeves’ soft conformity to limb shape and quick adjustability ease patient’s comfort and recovery time. And get this -- they’re machine washable. Just line dry them afterwards, or throw them into the dryer on the “no heat” setting. Their high durability combats any potential fraying or rolling.
More elastic compression garments come from Jobst, a division of global medical device company BSN Medical.
Jobst’s leg therapy socks give style, comfort and effectiveness the same equal “footing.” Feeling casual? Then slip on their CasualWear medical compression sock. It’s cutely patterned with a fetching diamond design; its foot reinforcement ensures both comfort and lasting hardiness.
If you’re in a sportier mood, then Jobst’s ActiveWear lymphedema compression socks will make you feel as if you’re about to run a 10k race! That’s right: they have both the feel and look of a classic, high-quality athletic sock. The ActiveWear sock is energizingly zingy – but it ensures that your feet stay comfortable, cool and dry while your lymphedema compresses. Jobst elastic compression exists, too, in lymphedema arm sleeves, chaps, gauntlets, gloves and thigh-high and waist-high stockings.
Looking for specialty compression that’s attractive and innovative? JoviPak is always coming up with something new…and they welcome you to choose your lymphedema compression garments in a “rainbow of healing colors.”
For face-swelling patients, they’ve invented a new Head Piece/Chin Strap that’s a lot more comfortable and less claustrophobic than the traditional Face Mask. This compression garment’s padded, cotton-lycra material, which expertly, specifically covers only the face parts that need to be treated, is so comfortable – you can wear it all night long and still snooze peacefully.
The chin-strap’s three padded inserts (they’re included) beautifully treat the occipital, submandibular and pre-auricular lymph nodes.
For daytime arm compression, try their Combi – it’s silky thin, perfect for the workaday, office-dwelling lymphedema patient. Tapping at your computer’s keyboard all day when you’re not swilling microwaved-heated coffee or answering the phone? The Combi gives you the freedom to perform all of those tasks, while still expertly compressing your swelling.
Of course, JoviPak continues to carry all types of terrific compression arm sleeves, leg garments, vests, boxers, jackets and a variety of pads and snug, comfortable wraps.
Juzo’s garments for lymphedema feature terrific elastic compression.
Their compression stockings, which come in sheer, opaque, patterned or footless varieties, are so lovely…people won’t even know that you’re wearing them for lymphedema compression!
Juzo’s lymphedema sleeves are equally inconspicuous and comfortable (they’re free of latex). Wear them to compress any existing lymphedema and/or as a preventive measure against future outbreaks. Is your chest and breast lymphedema a result of post-surgical swelling? They have an attractive, lacy, comfortably-front-closing lymphedema bra, (made with a soft, breathable fabric) that might be just the thing for you.
The same is true of Juzo’s light-weight, soft, easy-on-the-eyes compression sleeves, Capri leggings, socks, anklets and gauntlets. You’ll feel comfortable, You’ll look good. Your lymphedema will effectively compress…all ingredients for a happy lymphedema patient!
Medi USA’s compression stockings and socks (knee-high, thigh-high and waist-high; round-knitted for stage 1 lymphedema and flat-knitted for stage 2) are comfortable, not-obtrusive, and they come in a variety of attractive “skin” hues: sand, caramel, pale, sun-tanned and black. Made with anti-bacterial yarn, these special stockings keep you (and your garments) smelling and feeling fresh!
Their appealing lymphedema compression arm sleeves integrate modern fibers (elasthane and polyamide) deflect moisture and perspiration, and resist every day wear-and-tear. If you want, (or if your doctor prescribes) you can work in pads, zippers, or Velcro fasteners.
Compression panties made by Medi USA are sturdy yet easy on the skin – they don’t wrinkle at the crotch and they’re simple to wash; just throw them in the washing machine on the “delicate” cycle. This company also provides lymph pads, ribbed, finely or coarsely-napped; men’s compression leotards, and gauntlets, gloves and liners.
All of their products fit every lymphedema patient’s individual lifestyle.
Peninsula Medical, Inc.’s Dr. Reid invented his specialty compression ReidSleeve Corrugated Foam and Flat Foam garments while studying oncology at Stanford.
His breast cancer patients weren’t able to find ease and relief for their surgery-resulting lymphedema, so Dr. Reid, after much tinkering, research and tireless experimentation, carefully structured convoluted foam and adjustable straps into his soft, comfortable, highly-effective ReidSleeve.
Dr. Reid realizes that just because lymphedema patients have a disorder – it doesn’t mean they don’t want to look stylish. Thus, he offers The Reid Sleeve in eye-popping colors such as lime green, sunshine yellow, hot pink, grape, pink camouflage, desert camouflage, turquoise, and charcoal.
Variations on this extremely successful, very popular sleeve include The Optiflow and the Optiflow CS (lighter, cooler versions for patients with more moderate cases of swelling), The Opera (it’ll make you sing! It’s light and slim and slides on easily), The Jazz (this activity-friendly, lightweight sleeve is made of a plush, quilted material that has such a “jazzy,” nice feel against the skin… people want to wear it day and night), and The Cinch (it’s earned its name: it’s quick, easy application is a “cinch”).
From Solaris, find specialty compression in Lymphedema bandage liners, lymphedema pads, and quilted lymphedema garments.
The foam chips and foam channels in their Tribute padded, quilted garments allow lymphedema patients to sleep peacefully while their lymphatic systems and lax tissues are stimulated and protected.
Their Caresia lymphedema bandage liners are so easy to apply, every lymphedema patient, even the most inexperienced, will thrill to how niftily these liners facilitate important tissue stretch and fluid and particle reabsorption.
Sometimes a lymphedema patient just wants something small to address specific areas and problems – that’s where Solaris’ Swell Spots, mini lymphedema pads, come in. These wonderful little treasures, high quality and latex-free, address tiny territories, cover gaps, and contour around any problematic prominences….that’s why they’re “swell”!
However, if you want to augment your lymphedema treatment with a top-notch mechanism, then it’s wise to seek out a really good lymphedema pump.
Lymphedema pumps are pneumatic compression devices that whoosh and deflate air through your lymphatic compression sleeve or garment, hugging, squeezing and facilitating the fluid’s flow out of the area, thus reducing its swelling and pain.
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