Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Basic Dietary Rules and Infuence of Nutrition on Lymphedema

Basic Dietary Rules and Infuence of Nutrition on Lymphedema

The currently most effective conservative therapy for lymphedema is Combined Decongestive Therapy or CDT. It consists of Manual Lymph Drainage (Dr. Vodder Method), compression bandaging, special skin care and accompanying physical therapy regime.  Nutrition plays an important medium and long term role within this CDT approach. 

Dietary change to assist therapy “The only thing you are going to lose in a diet is your good mood”, said the German actor Gert Fröbe. If you go about a diet the wrong way, this statement hits the nail on the head. Those persons affected by lymphedema are often and for various reasons not able to select nutrition which would support successful edema management. Instead, they choose nutrition which has the opposite effect. 

The first steps

A long term solution can only consist in a change of diet. First and foremost, there is a need to identify the root causes of lymphedema in each patient and explore whether existing "diet mistakes” prevent optimal therapy. In most cases wrong nutritional habits are due to eating being associated with “rewarding oneself” or "providing relaxation”. It is important to find out about a patient’s eating habits and to identify where to start changing them, as the patient should not return to his or her previous pattern of nutrition. 

An end to excess weight Roughly 1.5 million people in Austria are overweight and roughly 700,000 are obese. Around 1 billion people worldwide are overweight, which is why the World Health Organization has classified obesity as a pandemic. Overweight is one of the main reasons for the development of edema. The accumulated excess fatty tissue allows more body water to be stored. Hence a first step in disease management should be to achieve an appropriate degree of targeted weight loss. In concrete terms this means that patients should plan to lose around two kilograms of body fat each month. 2 kg of body fat correspond to roughly 15,000 kcal. Hence they need to reduce their daily caloric intake by 500 kcal. Slightly more than half a pint of beer (0.33 l) and a small roll with slices of meatloaf contain 500 – 600 kcal. 

Complete article:

Wittlinger Clinic

Editor's Note: This article is for information only and posting of it does not constitute either an endorsement or rejection of the principles mentioned.  Please see your physcian before starting any type of diet, be it for weight or for lymphedema management.

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