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Lymphedema Risk Reduction Practices Part 2 of 3

March 8th, 2013 by Sharon O'Hara

  Greetings!  Part 2 of 3 is the, “Summary of Lymphedema Risk Reduction Practices”

Note that “Obesity” is mentioned as a risk and I’ll have more to say about it in part 3. 

A reminder to ask your doctor – I’m a patient who believes in patient education.  Talk to your doctor.

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“Summary of Lymphedema Risk Reduction Practices

Please refer to the complete Risk Reduction document for details.

 

I. Skin Care – Avoid trauma / injury to reduce infection risk

Keep extremity clean and dry.

Apply moisturizer daily to prevent chapping/chafing of skin.

Attention to nail care; do not cut cuticles.

Protect exposed skin with sunscreen and insect repellent.

Use care with razors to avoid nicks and skin irritation.

If possible, avoid punctures such as injections and blood draws.

Wear gloves while doing activities that may cause skin injury (e.g. washing dishes, gardening, working with tools, using chemicals such as detergent).

If scratches/punctures to skin occur, wash with soap and water, apply antibiotics, and observe for signs of infection (i.e. redness).

If a rash, itching, redness, pain, increased skin temperature, increased swelling, fever or flu-like symptoms occur, contact your physician immediately for early treatment of possible infection.

II.

Activity / Lifestyle

Gradually build up the duration and intensity of any activity or exercise. Review the Exercise Position Paper.

Take frequent rest periods during activity to allow for limb recovery.

Monitor the extremity during and after activity for any change in size, shape, tissue, texture, soreness, heaviness or firmness.

Maintain optimal weight. Obesity is known to be a major lymphedema risk factor.

 

III. Avoid Limb Constriction

If possible, avoid having blood pressure taken on the at-risk extremity, especially repetitive pumping.

Wear non-constrictive jewelry and clothing.

Avoid carrying a heavy bag or purse over the at risk or lymphedematous extremity.

IV. Compression Garments should be well-fitting.

Support the at-risk limb with a compression garment for strenuous activity (i.e. weight lifting, prolonged standing, and running) except in patients with open wounds or with poor circulation in the at-risk limb.

Patients with lymphedema should consider wearing a well-fitting compression garment for air travel. The NLN cannot specifically recommend compression garments for prophylaxis in at-risk patients.”

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In part 3,  I’ll show you the two kinds of leg support stockings I use and why I like them.  There are many other support stockings out there – ask your doctor what she/he recommends.   Also, I’ll show you several tools that aid in putting them on.

Thanks for reading… Sharon O’Hara, familien1@comcast.net

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This is a patient to patient blog to exchange information and resources...from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) to Arthritis to Cellulites to Sarcoidosis to Sleep Apnea to RLS to Psoriasis to Support Groups to Caregivers and all points in between. Written by Sharon O'Hara.

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