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Vascular Experts Call for Increased Awareness of Growing Problem of Lymphedema
Date:2/12/2009

maintain skin health. CDT includes exercise, skin care, compression, and a clinically proven massage technique called Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD). Initially, CDT involves frequent (sometimes daily) visits to a certified therapist for as long as six weeks. Once the swelling is reduced, self-management is required for ongoing care at home, along with the use of elastic compression garments, non-elastic directional flow garments, and often, an automated pneumatic compression pump.

The use of older-generation compression pumps has been associated with discomfort and pain, skin irritation, and a higher risk of skin thickening and inflammation. Additionally, these simpler pumps do not offer the programmability of more advanced pumps to treat the trunk or chest lymphatics, and have been associated with creating new areas of swelling in the chest, back and genitals. As a result, the use of these non-programmable pumps has fallen from favor in medical practice.

Watch for Danger Signs

Experts advise certain steps can be taken to reduce the chances of developing lymphedema, especially if you've had cancer treatment that may have damaged your lymphatic system. These include maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly and avoiding infections from cuts and insect bites.

If you do get an infection, however slight, consult your doctor immediately for a possible course of antibiotics to reduce the risk of lymphedema developing. If you've had a double mastectomy, any needle procedures should be preferentially performed in the leg rather than the arm. Be alert for any subtle or unusual swelling.

Obesity is a risk factor because it puts excess stress on the lymphatic system. Additionally, burns and scarring can damage or destroy lymphatic capillaries.


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SOURCE Versaggi Biocommunications
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