Monday, October 27, 2008

Lymphedema

Lymphedema (pronounced LIMF-eh-DEE-ma) is a side effect that can begin during or after breast cancer treatment. This condition involves swelling of the soft tissues of the arm or hand. The swelling may be accompanied by numbness, discomfort, and sometimes infection.

Taking proper precautions you CAN greatly reduce your chances of developing the condition.

Don’ts:
1. Subject yourself to extreme temperature changes.
2. Use instuments on affected limb in manicures, or pedicures.
3. Allow blood pressure to be measured on affected limb.
4. Allow injections / vaccinations on affected limb.
5. Receive accupuncture on affected limb.
6. Wear constrictive clothing or jewelry (watches, rings, or bracelets).
7. Lift heavy objects with affected limb.
8. Take unnecessary risks in the kitchen or garden

Dos:
1. Practice good skin care.
2. Use insect repellent when appropriate.
3. Follow a good nutritional program.
4. Avoid table salt and fatty foods.
5. Limit your protein intake.
6. Maintain optimum weight.
7. Exercise
8. Elevate the limb - sleep with pillows under the affected arm
9. Carry antibiotic solutions with you at all times for cuts, scratches, or bites.
10. Treat infection seriously and immediately.
11. Seek treatment at the first sign of lymphedema.
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