8 Things You Should Avoid to Help Prevent/Delay Lymphedema
Lymphedema is swelling of one or more areas of the body caused by a buildup of lymphatic fluid. It usually occurs in the arm or leg, but can also occur in the head/neck, body or genitals. Lymphedema occurs due to a disruption of the lymphatic system, most commonly in patients who have undergone cancer treatments (surgery, chemo, radiation). People can also be born with abnormal lymphatics, causing lymphedema to form.
- Use care to avoid injury to the affected arm
- Use gloves for household chores, gardening, or working in the garage.
- Avoid heat; no hot baths, hot tubs, saunas
- Avoid sunburns
- Avoid tight accessories, restrictive clothing. Don’t carry heavy purse or bags on affected arm.
- No blood pressure taken on affected arm
- No blood drawn or needle sticks to affected arm
- Avoid gaining excessive weight. Studies have shown that excess weight can increase your chance of developing lymphedema after lymphatic damage.
Lymphedema treatment requires a physician referral to physical/occupational therapy. Talk to your physician to see if this type of treatment would be right for you.