HomeHealth Topics A to Z8 Things You Should Avoid to Help Prevent/Delay Lymphedema
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8 Things You Should Avoid to Help Prevent/Delay Lymphedema

By DMG Physical & Occupational Therapy

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.

8 Things You Should Avoid to Help Prevent/Delay Lymphedema
  • 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.

To learn more, or to make an appointment, call DMG Physical & Occupational Therapy at 630-967-2000.

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