Can Lymphedema Be Prevented?
Lymphedema is a condition in which the lymph vessels that drain fluid from tissues throughout your body are obstructed. This prohibits your body from allowing immune cells to travel where they are needed and can lead to swelling in the areas where the blockage occurs. There are several conditions that can cause a lymphatic obstruction, including:
- Radiation therapy
- Skin infections (most commonly in obese individuals)
The most common signs of lymphedema include a heavy felling in a particular part of your body, isolated swelling, achiness, less range of movement, hardening or thickening of the skin, loss of joint flexibility, tingling or discomfort, or skin that is shiny or red-looking.
Unfortunately, lymphedema cannot be prevented. But there are things you can do to minimize the risk of developing secondary lymphedema caused by this condition:
- Stay elevated. Whenever possible, prop your leg or arm above the level of our heart to reduce swelling.
- Avoid heat. Hot tubs, steam rooms and a heating bad are no-no’s, as they can cause swelling to increase.
- Wear sunscreen and bug spray. Bug bites inject a toxin into your skin that causes itching and increased swelling, and getting too much sun only puts extra burden on your lymphatic system.
- Wash regularly. Maintaining good skin hygiene is a must for treating and preventing the progression of lymphedema.
- Wear compression garments. Well-fitting compression garments are an excellent way to prohibit or ease swelling in the affected arm or leg.
In some cases, surgery may be an option. Ask your health care professional about any available treatment options that may be right for you.
Do you suffer from symptoms related to lymphedema? Contact Reeder Vein Institute.
For more information about treatment for lymphedema, contact us today. You can reach us directly at 972.566.3040 in Dallas or 817.438.7260 in Fort Worth. We look forward to hearing from you!