A person moves approximately three liters of fluid throughout the body every day when functioning properly. This process happens with the help of a channel of vessels and is part of the blood flow’s cleaning and filtering system.
This normal process and system may be jeopardized due to treatments for cancer, surgery, injury, trauma, and other causes or issues. Because of this, lymphedema may happen or develop – a condition wherein the system is compromised and an accumulation of lymph fluid develops in the soft tissues causing certain parts of the body to swell, most often the ones in the extremities.
Symptoms Of Arm And Lower Leg Lymphedema
• Swelling in the arm, including the fingers
• Restricted range of motion
• Heaviness or tightness in the limbs
• Thick or hardened skin
Lower Leg Lymphedema
• The skin feeling tight
• A full sensation in legs
• Reduced flexibility in the ankle
• Persistent swelling of the legs
• Difficulty fitting into clothing in one specific area (ie. ankle)
Treatment For Lymphedema
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for lymphedema; treatment is all about minimizing the swelling and managing the pain. These treatment options would depend on the degree of the fibrosis and on the severity of the edema. People who suffer from this condition usually have to undergo a daily treatment regimen recommended by their doctor or therapist. These include direct lymphatic massage, exercise, and the use of a lymphedema compression sleeve.
Lymphedema compression sleeves are elastic compression garments worn by a person with lymphedema on the affected limb to reduce edema and encourage the flow of lymph fluid out of that limb through compression. They can be purchased in standard sizes over-the-counter or they can be customized to meet the specific requirements or measurements of a patient.
Benefits Offered By Lymphedema Compression Sleeves
Below are the top benefits patients can gain by wearing lymphedema compression sleeves:
• They help limit the amount of fluid building up in the limb. Typically, fluid constantly flows from the tiny blood vessels into the tissues. This fluid will then be drained by the lymph system. Pressure from lymphedema compression sleeves will reduce any excessive or unnecessary flow of fluid from the bloodstream into the tissues.
• Lymphedema compression sleeves enable fluid within the limb to move towards the body where it can drain away more easily. This is a goal this can be achieved easily when simple/manual lymphatic drainage is also done. This is because the compression sleeves have a graduated compression (there is more strength at the foot/hand than at the top of the garment) and hence, the fluid is directed to the root of the limb which is either the groin or armpit.
• Lastly, this garment can provide the muscles with a firm resistance to work against. This will improve the function of the lymphatic system and encourage the movement of fluid along the lymph routes.
Robert Yang is an oncology nurse. He recommends reading more about lymphedema compression sleeves on www.caringtouchmed.com.