How Do You Prevent Lymphedema?


Quick Answer

Lymphedema caused by the removal of lymph nodes or radiation treatment is preventable by avoiding tight clothing and taking special care of the affected arm or leg, according to Mayo Clinic. Looser clothing prevents constriction. In addition, the squeeze of a blood pressure cuff should be avoided.

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Full Answer

There are several ways to care for the afflicted limb. During the recuperation period following cancer treatment, the arm or leg should not be overused, recommends Mayo Clinic. Gentle exercise and stretching are important for recovery, but movements should not be too demanding.

The affected arm or leg should be kept free from injury, Mayo Clinic advises. If the skin is broken in any way, an infection and lymphedema are possible. Gloves should be worn during yard and garden work. A thimble protects during sewing. In addition, keeping the limb clean helps avoid germs and, consequently, infection.

The arm or leg should not be exposed to extreme temperatures, such as heating pads and ice packs, warns Mayo Clinic. Elevating the limb also helps prevent swelling.

When the lymphatic system is not working properly, a blockage keeps fluid from draining, Mayo Clinic explains. This causes fluid to back up, and swelling occurs. This condition is not curable, but preventative steps help keep it under control.

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