Friday, February 10, 2012

A Diet for Lymphedema

There is no “special” diet that lymphedema patients must follow, just because they have lymphedema. If you have no other medical conditions involved, your diet will be fairly normal (healthy diet of course).

The rules on foods to avoid or consume in moderation are much like the guidelines given for non-lymphedema people.

1. Restrict high fat foods or high cholesterol foods.

2. Limit sodium intake as it causes fluid retention.

3. Limit or avoid caffeine as it is a natural diuretic

4. Limit or avoid alcohol

Having said that however, I have always been a proponent of vitamins, supplements, good nutrition an, exercise and weight control. It just makes sense whether or not you have lymphedema.

It becomes even more important if you do.

It is well established that stress depletes your body of vitamins and nutrients as it tries to cope with whatever threat you are under, physically and mentally. Once these reserves are depleted, it becomes even more difficult for your “system” to take care of and rejuvenate itself.

These supplements will help give it that extra boost.

I am also a proponent of the concept that it is up to the patient to take the responsibility for taking care of themselves. This is especially true in lymphedema.

You can not expect doctors too, most of them have no clue anyway about this condition. Therapists are our best friends and do more for lymphedema patients that anyone else in the medical world, but you shouldn't expect this from them either.

At some point, you must care enough about yourself and your life to step forward. You must understand no one else can take care of you, but you.

Special Dietary Considerations

It is essential to understand as well, that if you other medical conditions that require a special diet, you must follow that dietary regime.

For example If you have a diabetes and lymphedema, then you must ad here to the special dietary rules for diabetes. The same is true should you have coronary problems and lymphedema.

The Importance of Weight in the Management of Lymphedema

The importance of weight control in the management of lymphedema cannot be stressed enough. Obesity or morbid obesity can actually cause a secondary form of lymphedema. While it may start as a “temporary” lymphedema the lymphatics can be so damaged that if the weight were lost, the lymphedema would remain. The weight actually crushes and overloads the lymphatics. When this occurs you will also begin experiencing further damaged caused by lymphedema complications, such as infections, weeping wounds and fibrosis.

Also, some of the complications involved in obesity lead to edema.

These edema causing complications are congestive heart failure, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, stroke and liver disease.

Other reasons for weight control when you have lymphedema is simple mobility and the ability to continue to function and do activities you really enjoy. It is difficult enough with just lymphedema and is profoundly affected by morbid obesity.

For information on obesity and lymphedema. Our following articles that will help in understanding what a healhy diet is and the basic foods groups that contribute to that diet and help in managing lymhpedema.

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