A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Lymphedema
I had a question the other day about lymphedema.
Lymphedema is a collection of fluid causing swelling (edema) in your arms and legs.
One of the causes of lymphedema is surgery to remove lymph nodes, usually during cancer treatment.
Normally, lymph nodes filter fluid as it flows through them, trapping bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances, which are then destroyed by white blood cells.
Without normal lymph drainage, fluid can build up in your affected arm or leg, and lymphedema can develop.
Medicines like tamoxifen, radiation therapy, and injury to your lymph nodes can also cause lymphedema.
This type is called secondary lymphedema.
Primary lymphedema can be present at birth or develop during puberty or adulthood.
The cause of primary lymphedema isn’t known.
Symptoms of lymphedema include feeling like your clothes, rings, wristwatches, or bracelets are too tight; a feeling of fullness in your arms or legs; and less flexibility in your wrists, hands, and ankles.
Treatment for lymphedema depends on its cause and includes wearing compression garments like stockings or sleeves, proper diet and skin care, and fluid drainage.
To deal with lymphedema it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 10 cups of purified water daily to hydrate and flush toxins.
*Alfalfa is a good source of important minerals. It also contains chlorophyll, a potent detoxifier. Take 2,000 to 3,000 mg daily in divided doses.
*Hawthorn berries, juniper, and uva ursi are diuretics. By increasing the output of urine, they help to counteract edema.
*Horse chestnut has been shown to reduce postsurgical lymphedema.
*Rose hips contain bioflavonoids helpful in the treatment of lymphedema.
*Other herbs beneficial if you’re suffering from lymphedema include butcher’s broom, dandelion root, juniper berries, marshmallow, parsley, and pau d’arco tea.
*Eat a diet high in fiber.
*For protein, eat eggs, broiled whitefish, and broiled skinless chicken or turkey. Consume small amounts of buttermilk, cottage cheese, kefir, and low-fat yogurt.
*Use kelp to supply needed minerals.
*Avoid alcohol, animal protein, beef, caffeine, chocolate, dairy products (except for those listed above), dried shellfish, fried foods, gravies, olives, pickles, salt, soy sauce, tobacco, white flour, and white vinegar. Salt, in particular, may exacerbate fluid retention.
*If you have swelling of your legs and feet, sit with your feet up as often as you can. Wear support hose for swelling in your legs.
*If you have swelling of your arm, elevate it on a comfortable surface above the level of your heart. Wear a compression sleeve.
*Do gentle exercise daily and take hot baths or saunas twice a week.
*Follow a fasting program to flush excess fluid from your tissues.
*Decrease toxic exposures of all kinds.
*Avoid MSG and artificial sweeteners as they’re neurotoxins.
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