How To Help Prevent Lymphedema?

In a continuation of our brief series on raising awareness on lymphedema, we want to turn your attention to proactive measures you can take to help ward off lymphedema, as best as you can. We’ll wrap up our series in two more installments.

Oncologists, general physicians, and other medical experts sanction these guidelines as prudent and of “best practices” for women that might find themselves in a group perhaps with a family history of breast cancer.

Lymphedema can typically be averted or maintained by adhering to this professional counsel:

Maintain good nutrition

  • Reduce foods high in salt and fat.
  • Include at least two to four servings of fruits and three to five servings of vegetables in your daily diet.
  • Eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you need.
  • Use packing information to guide you in making the wisest choices.
  • Eat foods high in fiber such as whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
  • Stay hydrated with plenty of water.
  • Maintain your ideal body weight.
  • Cease drinking or avoid alcoholic drinks.

Exercise regularly

  • Always check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.
  • You should perform aerobic activities, like walking, swimming, low-impact aerobics, or specially prescribed exercises) for a total of 150 minutes a week, in order to improve your aerobic fitness.
  • Be sure to include a 5 to 10 minute warm up and cool down to “bracket” your workouts.
  • Make sure, before resuming any existing routine you might have had before, if it includes upper body lifting, to check with your doctor first.
  • DON’T PUSH IT! Discontinue exercise that causes undue pain, excessive fatigue or discomfort on the side you’ve had surgery. Play it safe and ask your doctor!

Although these activities won’t guarantee you won’t develop lymphedema after your mastectomy, it can go a long way in cutting down on your chances of it developing.

We’ll continue this piece in our next post!