Despite advances in medical science, there is still no cure for several diseases, including lymphedema. Fortunately, treatment and medication is available to minimize the swelling and to prevent the disease from getting worse. If mild lymphedema has been discovered, you should take more precaution to prevent the conditions from worsening.
The affected area should always be cleaned regularly. Gloves and socks should also be worn to prevent infection. Doctors may also prescribe antibiotics to fight off infections that may aggravate the problem. Aside from these, treatment may include bandaging or wrapping. Layers of padding and bandages are wrapped around the affected area to create resistance for the lymph vessels to push against. It enhances the pumping action and lymphatic flow in order to soften the swollen areas. The patients themselves may apply the bandages, although a therapist must first demonstrate to them how to do this. Short-stretch bandages are more preferred because they apply only enough pressure necessary for better lymphatic flow.
Patients are also recommended to see a therapist that will massage the affected areas of their body. Unlike other types of commercial massages, the therapist will employ a special technique, pioneered by Dr. Emil Vodder, known as the manual lymph drainage. This will help move trapped fluid to portions where it can be drained. Pneumatic compression is another form of treatment for patients with lymphedema. A inflatable sleeve is worn on the affected area. The pressure caused by the inflated sleeve can move fluid away from the affected limb and reduce the swelling.
The most widely used treatment however, is complex physical decongestive therapy or CPDT. It involves the draining of retained fluid (lymph) and preventing the swelling from worsening. Manual lymph drainage is performed followed by wrapping. A custom-made garment will be created for the patient in order to maintain the results achieved by the initial treatments. After this, meticulous skin care and exercise is done in order to prevent any complications from happening.
Patients are also advised not to cross their legs when sitting, not to carry anything heavy using the affected area and never to walk barefoot.
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