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How to Treat Lymphedema

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What is Lymphedema?

Lymphedema refers to the swelling in one or sometimes both of your arms and legs. The swelling can range anywhere from mild to severe, depending on the severity of the condition. Lymphedema occurs when the flow of the lymphatic system is impaired. There are several causes of Lymphedema, all of which make it harder for your body to fight infections. In order to begin the treatment of Lymphedema, it is important to identify what type you have. There are two types of Lymphedema: Primary Lymphedema: This is a rare condition that is usually inherited. Primary Lymphedema is the result of an anatomical abnormality of the lymph vessels in your body. Secondary Lymphedema: This refers to the obstruction or damage of normally functioning lymph vessels and nodes.

Symptoms of Lymphedema

Although the most common symptom of Lymphedema is visible swelling of the area, there are other symptoms associated with it that may result in pain and/or discomfort. Some of the other common symptoms include:

  • Decreased visibility of veins and nerves in the affected area
  • Redness of the skin that may lead to a rash
  • Decrease inflexibility of the joints
  • Minor puffiness of skin
  • Jewelry and clothing may appear tighter on the body

If you notice any of the above symptoms, it is important to consult a doctor to discuss the possibility of Lymphedema.

Causes of Lymphedema

Primary Lymphedema is inherited from birth, although symptoms may not present until much later in life. The causes of secondary Lymphedema can differ depending on your location. The most common cause of Lymphedema in the U.S. is breast cancer surgery. The radiation treatment can affect healthy tissue while it is destroying the cancerous tissue, leading to Lymphedema in at least one arm. In other parts of the world such as Asia, Africa, Western Pacific, and parts of Central and South America, the most common cause of Lymphedema is Filariasis. Filariasis refers to the direct infestation of the lymph nodes by a parasite known as Wuchereria bancrofti. This parasite is spread between humans through mosquitoes in hot areas and can severely affect the lymphatic system. Other causes of Lymphedema can include:

  • Trauma burns
  • Infections
  • Compression of the lymph nodes by certain tumors

Treatments of Lymphedema

It is important to take note that there is no known cure for Lymphedema. However, there are ways to reduce the swelling and control other symptoms of Lymphedema. Elastic Sleeves or Stockings An elastic sleeve or stocking can go a long way in reducing swelling caused by Lymphedema. The stocking will provide gradual compression to encourage the flow of lymph fluid out of the affected area. It is important to find a size that fits correctly to maximize the benefits of the compression. If the size is not right, it can lead to more pain and discomfort. A professional will be able to help you choose the correct size, and if you can’t find your size, you can get it custom made. Elastic compression stockings should be worn 24 hours a day for optimal results. Bandages Bandages can be used to reduce swelling and other symptoms of Lymphedema. The correct way to use the bandage is by wrapping it tightly around the extremity and loosely around the trunk. This technique encourages the flow of lymph fluid towards the center of the body, resulting in the reduction of pain and swelling. Pneumatic Compression Devices Pneumatic compression devices are inflatable garments for the arms, legs, and neck that are connected to an electrical pneumatic pump. The pump works to fill the garment with compressed air and inflates it periodically according to cycle times. It also inflates varied pressures to maximize results. This treatment is more commonly used in severe cases and works to prevent long-term scarring. Although it may be effective, a pneumatic compression device should be avoided for individuals with heart conditions and certain infections. Manual Compression Manual compression refers to a set of massage therapies known as manual lymph drainage. This process consists of four basic massage strokes, known as a stationary circle, pump, rotary, and scoop. These four strokes are designed to manipulate the lymph nodes and vessels inside the body in order to increase the flow of lymph fluid. Manual compression can be useful for some individuals but may not necessarily be the most effective way to reduce symptoms of Lymphedema. Exercises Some doctors may prescribe light exercise to reduce swelling caused by Lymphedema. The following exercises can be useful for reducing swelling in the arms, legs, and neck. Arms

  • Raise swollen arm to heart level and rest on a cushion or pillow to encourage the flow of lymph fluids.
  • Clench your hand tightly into a fist. Open and close hands with fingers spread out. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
  • Sit up straight and raise your hand so that it is behind your neck. Repeat these steps 10 times.

Legs

  • Sit up straight and place your leg up on a chair or stool to minimize pain.
  • Lie on the bed and place your leg on a pillow to raise it. Make sure that your leg is not raised past your head.
  • Lift your foot off the floor and circle your ankle clockwise and counterclockwise. Repeat 10 times on each side.

Head and Neck

  • When lying down, rest your head on 2 to 3 pillows so that your head is raised and elevated. This helps the lymph fluid drain.
  • Perform face exercises such as smiling, yawning, and chewing.

Deep Breathing Exercises

  • Deep breathing exercises are beneficial because they change the abdominal and chest pressure, encouraging the flow of lymph fluids.
  • Sit up straight in a chair or on a bed, relaxing your shoulders and chest, and take a deep breath. Hold your breath for 5 seconds before releasing it slowly. Repeat this 10 times for best results.

If you have any questions about Lymphedema or treatment options, visit our website or one of our 3 locations in the GTA. Our staff specializes in Lymphedema and we have numerous vendors for stockings, sleeves, and wraps.  Adapt Home Health Care is also ADP approved for Lymphedema. Always be sure to consult a doctor before trying any of these treatments at home.

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Everything You Need to Know About Compression Stockings

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What are Compression Stockings?

Compression stockings are specialized hosiery that are designed for the purpose of preventing the occurrence and/or further progression of disorders that affect veins. This specialized apparel was created to reduce swelling and discomfort by applying pressure to the affected area. Compression stockings can help with some of the most common venous disorders including edema, thrombosis, and phlebitis. From seniors to athletes, travellers to pregnant women, these stockings are beneficial to everyone.

What are the Benefits?

There are many benefits associated with compression stockings. Compression stockings can help improve blood circulation throughout the body. They also assist in the reduction of swelling, soreness, and fatigue in your legs and lower body while simultaneously boosting energy levels. Compression stockings are usually comprised of tight-fitting materials and come in many styles, colours, and sizes. They also help vessels in the lower body carry blood to the heart more efficiently.

Who Should Use Them?

Adapt Home Health Care knows the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. We highly recommend compression stockings to prevent bad blood circulation which is one of the main causes of heart attacks and strokes. For individuals who suffer from varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), chronic venous insufficiency (CVT), or any other circumstances that can affect blood circulation, compression stockings can be beneficial to use. Aside from that, individuals who sit or stand for long periods of time, travel frequently, love exercise, and/or are pregnant, can benefit from compression stockings.

How Do They Work?

The circulatory system helps carry blood from and to extremities throughout the body. High blood pressure, gravity, and several other factors can affect the circulatory system by making it difficult for the heart to pump blood from the lower body to the heart. If the circulatory system is affected, it may result in very painful and uncomfortable situations such as swelling of the legs, feet, or ankles.

Why Compression Stockings?

Compression stockings can improve your life by relieving your symptoms. They can also enhance muscle recovery for athletes and shorten recovery time after workouts.

Contact Adapt Home Health Care today to book your fitting appointment! Our registered pharmacists and specialists are specially trained as certified compression therapy fitters and are happy to help you find the right compression stockings for your needs. We also can automatic bill to insurance companies and assist patients in assessing what their insurance companies cover! Visit one of our 3 GTA locations today to get yours!

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Cocoon Luxury Lift Chair

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Are you looking for the perfect addition to your home for your loved one that is comfortable, stylish, and easy to use? Well, you’re in luck! We would like to introduce you to the Cocoon Luxury Lift Chair. The Cocoon Luxury Lift Chair consists of the ultimate recline technology for multiple lift and recline positions.

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Protect Yourself Against the Flu

shutterstock_347124329What is the Flu?

Influenza virus, also known as the Flu, is a very contagious respiratory illness that is caused by flu viruses. However, don’t confuse the flu with the common cold. Although the symptoms of each can be quite similar, the flu is undoubtedly much worse. With the flu, symptoms come through abruptly in comparison. Those suffering from the flu are more likely to run a high fever for several days and have feelings of weakness, aches, and extreme fatigue.

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6 Products to Improve your Bathroom Safety

shutterstock_665922526Adapt Home Health Care takes your safety seriously in every room of the house! You may be protected when walking around your home, but don’t underestimate the precautions you should take to make the bathroom a safe place for you and your loved ones. Here are some of the bathroom safety products Adapt Home Health Care offers to ensure the highest level of safety in your bathroom.

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Fall Prevention

shutterstock_154658546One of the scariest parts of aging is the danger of falling and possibly breaking or dislocating a limb. As the body matures, having an injured body part can take longer to fully heal. Falls are one of the most common causes of head traumas and deaths occurring in persons aged 65 and older. Taking the necessary precautionary steps to prevent falls can not only save your life, it could also save someone else’s.

There are many factors as to why falls occur: weakness, vision/hearing impairment, loss of balance, and intake of medication. It is imperative that you consult your doctor if you do not feel well or you are concerned about the side effects of your medications. Always ensure you are taking proper medication and discuss the effects associated with each of them.

You may be asking: What are the steps you should take once you’ve fallen? What lifestyle changes should you make? How can you prevent falls from happening? Here is a list of suggestions for safety and health recommendations for fall prevention. Read more ›

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Nitro Aluminum Rollator, 10” Casters

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Adapt Home Health Care takes your safety seriously. That’s why we offer the new Nitro Aluminum Rollator. This Rollator creates mobility in a safe and effective way, and is also available in three different colors: red, white, and black, so you can pick the one that you like best! The Nitro Aluminum Rollator is available for short-term rental, long-term rental, and purchase, depending on the duration of the time you require the product. As an added bonus, Adapt Home Health Care is an ADP approved vendor. This means that we can assist you in receiving government funding for a variety of products you purchase from us based on physical need NOT financial need! Read more ›

Posted in Home Healthcare Products

How to Keep Busy and Active at 70

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Staying active at an older age can be challenging. Fitness experts recommend a minimum of 25 minutes of daily physical activity for seniors. It is suggested that you choose a different activity every day to keep your mind and body healthy. Here are some activities to keep you busy and help you stay active in your senior years!

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Get Those Flu Shots and Protect Yourself

It’s that time of year again… Flu season is just around the corner! It is important to take those extra steps to protect you and your loved ones from acquiring and suffering from the common flu.

The flu, commonly known as the influenza virus, can be caused by many different viral strains. Research is gathered and analyzed over the year allowing health care professional to develop a vaccine that will protect against the strains for that year. Therefore, it is so important for one to receive the flu immunization yearly once the flu season begins. Usually, this occurs during the fall months and ends by mid-spring.
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Pack Those Vitamins Into Your Lives

Are you constantly nagging your kids to consume more fruits and vegetables or take their vitamins? We at Woodland Pharmacy and Gore Pharmacy understand why and encourage our younger patients to do the same. With the new school year and change in weather, it is important to remember to have a well-balanced diet and remember to take those vitamins.
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Posted in Vitamins