Are you dealing with lymphedema?
This is a condition that causes swelling in the body, most often in the arms or legs. It is common after treatments for breast cancer and in people who have a compromised immune system.
It is important to care for yourself while dealing with lymphedema. Not only will you feel better and suffer less pain, but you can also help reduce swelling and prevent further damage.
Here are some helpful and easy tips for lymphedema self care.
1. Protect Your Skin
When it comes to lymphedema care, protecting your skin should be a top priority. It is important to recognize signs of skin infections, such as dark spots, rashes, or sores and see a doctor when these signs appear.
Avoiding sun exposure is also important, as too much sun can cause skin irritation and cell damage. Finally, avoid activities with the potential for injury or cuts, as these can induce infection of the skin.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the risk of obtaining Lymphedema, minimize the severity of the symptoms, and improve the overall quality of life.
To reach and maintain a healthy weight, it is important to maintain a balanced diet with proper caloric intake and regular exercise. A balanced diet includes lean proteins, healthy fats, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.
Lastly, consult with a specialist, such as a Dietician, and talk to your doctor about lymphedema nutrition and physical activity needs.
3. Try Proven Therapies
Lymphedema self-care can be improved with proven therapies. Patients should be provided with self-care instructions to ensure they stay within the plan. Regular lymphatic massage helps reduce water accumulation and improves circulation.
Practice stress-reduction techniques like yoga and meditation to reduce symptoms. Regular monitoring and regular communication with your healthcare provider are key to successfully managing your lymphedema.
4. Moisturize Your Skin
Keeping skin hydrated helps reduce swelling and prevent dryness or cracking of the skin. An oil-based moisturizer is best, as it provides more hydration and can create a barrier between the skin and the environment. Massage the product in a circular motion to help move the lymphatic fluid.
Additionally, always use mild, fragrance-free products, as these are gentler on the skin and can also help reduce itching. Pay extra attention to the creases of the skin and avoid putting any products on areas where the skin is broken.
Lastly, moisturize two to three times a day if possible, and look for products that contain hyaluronic acid as it helps skin retain moisture.
5. Avoid Tight Clothing
It is best to avoid straight jackets, tight sleeves, tight gloves, or any other tight clothing when managing lymphedema. Although it may seem fashionable and attractive to don such form-fitting apparel, it can lead to further complications with the condition. It is also important to refrain from tight socks and footwear, as well as tight belts and restrictive jewelry.
If possible, wear loose-fitting clothing that allows for enough air flow and won’t overly constrict the affected area. Opting for loose or oversized garments helps reduce unnecessary pressure while still making sure that the skin is accommodated and clothed properly.
Lymphedema Self Care
Self-care is key to managing lymphedema. Regular skin care, exercises, and compression garments can help you live comfortably and reduce symptoms. Talk to your doctor about helpful lymphedema self care tips to meet your individual needs.
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