|CANCER & TREATMENTS FOR CANCER CENTER PATIENTS PREVENTION & RISK ASSESSMENT CLINICAL TRIALS & RESEARCH LIVING WITH CANCER|
Information and Resources from the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center
7 Things You Can Do to Prevent Lymphedema
1. Take precautions before long airplane rides.If your flight will last more than three hours, use compression sleeves, stockings or bandages to lower your risk of developing lymphedema.
2. Maintain a healthy body weight.The body stores fat in the same tissue spaces as lymphatic fluid, so people who are overweight are at higher risk of developing lymphedema.
3. Eat a low-fat, low-salt diet.The lymphatic system helps to process fat, so give it a break by eating less of it. Salt can also lead to more fluid production, so it's best to limit it. If you plan to eat saltier food, drink plenty of water.
4. Don't be a weekend warrior or a couch potato.By all means, exercise, but start slowly so your body isn't traumatized. Include gentle stretches. If you are at risk of lymphedema in your legs, get up and move around. Don't fall asleep in recliners or with legs flexed.
5. Take care of your skin.Lymphedema is thought to be triggered by viruses and bacteria that can enter the body through breaks in the skin. Use bug repellent to ward off mosquito bites and be sure to use sunscreen to prevent burns, which can cause your body to produce more fluid. Don't wear tight clothing.
6. Keep cool.Drink plenty of water when you are in warm climates and when you exercise. Your lymphatic system pushes more fluid into your system to cool the body, so do what you can to maintain your body temperature.
7. Get a good night's sleep.The lymphatic system works best during sleep. Set a regular time to go to bed and make sure the TV is turned off well in advance. If you're having difficulty getting your rest, talk to your health-care team.
To make an appointment with an occupational or physical therapist, call 734-936-7070.
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
© 2013 Regents of the University of Michigan / Developed & maintained by: Public Relations & Marketing Communications. Contact Us or UMHS. The information presented is not a tool for self diagnosis or a substitute for professional care.