Most people know how blood circulates throughout the body. However, one thing that a lot of people don’t know much about is how the lymphatic system works. It basically sends fluid, called lymph, through the body.
The lymph nodes are there to keep the body safe from infection. However, in the process of protecting the body, a lot of cellular waste has to be sent out of the body. When someone’s lymph nodes are removed or damaged, the surrounding areas aren’t able to properly drain the waste. This can cause uncomfortable swelling in the leg or arm that is near the lymph nodes.
There isn’t a cure at this time for lymphedema. However, there are numerous treatments that can help a person to manage it. A lot of the treatments are lifestyle changes that the patient would need to make.
If your elderly loved one is trying to prevent lymphedema, there are many pieces of information that you might want to know. If they already have the condition, they may need more daily help from you and home health care providers.
Risk Factors for Lymphedema
The most common type of this condition is secondary lymphedema. Typically, the causes of this condition include:
- Radiation treatment
- Primary lymphedema is inheritied (rare)
The chances of getting secondary lymphedema increases if someone has to get cancer treatments, they have cancer, or they are getting older. In addition, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and obesity can increase the risk of lymphedema.
Making Dietary Changes
One thing that someone can do to treat or prevent lymphedema is to make dietary changes. There is something called the lymphedema diet. It is about choosing foods that don’t worsen the swelling. Basically, the patient would be cutting back on sodium, so more fluid is not retained by the body. More fluid means a higher blood pressure which makes the condition worse. Some of the foods to avoid include fast food, packaged foods, and condiments.
Since lymphedema causes worsened fluid retention, a lot of people think they need to consume less water. However, it is crucial that people with this condition stay hydrated as it helps to bring about a balance in their body. When someone becomes dehydrated, the body starts retaining more fluid, However, staying hydrated helps to flush sodium and other water retention out of the patient’s body.
There are numerous treatments and lifestyle changes that could help someone to manage lymphedema. If this is a condition that your elderly loved one has, it is important to know they may be very uncomfortable when retaining more fluid. You and companion care providers can remind them to stay hydrated. The home health care providers can work with your elderly loved one on medication management. Together, all of you can improve their quality of life.
If, at any point, you have questions about your elderly loved one’s specific case, be sure to talk to their doctor about it as soon as you can.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Health Care in Broomall, PA please contact the caring staff at True Direct Home Health Care today.