Rules of conduct for arm lymphoedema

These rules of conduct are important for existing arm lymphoedema to prevent the swelling from worsening and for people at risk of oedema to prevent the development of oedema.

An edema of the arm is an edema of the arm root that has undergone surgery (removal of lymph nodes from the armpit or collarbone) or radiation. The aim of these arrest rules is to prevent further damage to the remaining lymph vessels in the arm and to keep the formation of lymph fluid to a minimum.

Oedema improvement is usually only possible through physical oedema therapy, the combination of lymph drainage, compression treatment, gymnastic interval training and arm elevation. The bandages or compression armsleeves should be worn continuously during the day if possible.

Caution against injury


Large, small and even repeated small injuries lead to the destruction of lymph vessels or to bruises, which increase the amount of lymphatic fluid.
  • When working in the kitchen with pointed and sharp objects (e.g. knives), use gloves, when washing up use rubber gloves.
  • Position thimble when sewing.
  • Gloves should be worn during flower care and gardening work because of spines and thorns and when handling pets because of scratches and bites.
  • Wear long-sleeved clothing and possibly gloves if there is a risk of insect bites (e.g. at grill parties on summer evenings).
  • avoid mosquito areas on holiday. Do not cut fingers during nail care.
  • No blood samples or infusions on the arm, no injections or acupuncture treatments into the arm or the associated body quadrants.
  • No frequent blood pressure measurements on the endangered arm, which can also result in incorrectly elevated values in more severe arm edema.
  • In case of bilateral arm edema, blood collection from an inguinal vein.
  • No sports that pose a particular risk to the arms such as handball, volleyball and risky downhill skiing.
  • No overstretching, tearing: or pulling movements.
  • In case of fractures of the arm or bruising, intensify lymph drainage treatment.

Caution against overloads


Overloads lead to an increase in lymphatic edema due to an increase in lymph formation.
  • No medium-heavy and heavy work at work, no monotonous, light work with the arms for several hours (for example, on the assembly line, piecework; hand and typing only possible to a limited extent).
  • Discuss issues of severe disability, retraining, part-time work, occupation or disability with the physician.
  • Window cleaning, hours of ironing or knitting can be unfavourable during housework.
  • carry shopping bag with healthy arm, possibly use bag or suitcase on wheels.
  • In sports, overexertion of the arms is unfavourable. Not overexerting sport is in the
    The sense of an interval training of a break before the onset of muscle fatigue allowed, for example, tennis, golf, cross-country skiing in moderation.
  • Swimming and gymnastics are inexpensive. All sports and gymnastics (except swimming) should be performed with compression stockings, as this promotes lymphatic drainage.
  • Lowering the arm continuously is unfavourable because lymph drainage is impeded. “The lymph flows slower uphill than downhill”, so keep your arm above heart level at night and occasionally during the day (e.g. while watching TV, driving a car for long periods), for example on a wedge.
  • At night a light bandage or a light stocking can be used.

Caution before classical massage


The tissue blood circulation increased by massage leads to increased lymphatic fluid formation. There is also a risk of blood vessel rupture with bruising.
  • Do not use massages or massagers on the edema bowel and shoulder.
  • Only perform massage treatment of the other shoulder, cervical spine and thoracic spine in combination with lymphatic drainage treatment of the oedema.

Caution against overheating


An overheating leads to increased lymph formation.
  • Holiday in hot countries unfavourable due to heat and prolonged exposure to sunburn.
  • Sun radiation only allowed if radiation intensity not too high, not too hot and not too long.
  • Warning from burns, including cigarette smoking. Use gloves especially when doing housework on the stove, stove and iron. Rinse water not too hot.
  • No hot packs, short wave or hot air (hairdresser’s drying hood) on edema bowel or associated shoulder.
  • Applications on the other shoulder or on the cervical spine and thoracic spine only in combination with lymph drainage treatment of the oedema.
  • sauna may be unfavourable, so try carefully.

Caution against ignition


Inflammations lead to a strong increase of lymphatic fluid formation, especially in bacterial inflammations.
  • The wound rose (erysipelas), an inflammation caused by streptococcal bacteria, is the most common complication of lymphedema.
  • For erysipelas prophylaxis, apply a disinfectant 2 to 3 times daily to each minor injury of the damaged arm for several days.
  • in case of erysipelas (swelling increase, redness, pain, fever) penicillin treatment, in case of penicillin allergy erythromycin or tetracycline treatment.
  • disinfectants and antibiotics at home and in the morning dust always with itself have.
  • Treat fungal diseases of the arm or hand intensively with the appropriate ointments or solutions.
  • For dry skin use slightly acidic ointment for skin care.
  • Avoid allergenic cosmetics, skin products and medications.
  • Discuss career change with doctor in case of occupational allergy.
  • treat eczema consistently.

Be careful of confining clothing


The remaining lymph vessels are constricted, especially the superficial ones on the skin, thus impeding lymph drainage.
  • No tie-off sleeves.
  • In heavy silicone breast prosthesis, tension develops on the bra strap, which clamps the lymph vessels on the shoulder. Therefore light breast prosthesis made of foam with silicone.
  • Pads may be wide under bra straps or special bra with wide straps.
  • Slip-up of the light breast prosthesis can be prevented by sewn-in bra pocket or special bra.
  • Consider possibly breast reduction surgery on the other side.
  • Place shoulder strap of handbag on healthy side
  • Wristwatch, bracelets and rings must fit loosely.

Caution against overweight


Fat masses lead to a compression of the lymph vessels, so that the outflow is somewhat obstructed.
  • “Fat and lymph do not get along”. Weight loss in obesity.
  • There is no special lymph diet. The diet should be mixed with many vegetable parts. A diet low in sodium chloride is favourable.
  • Nicotine does not worsen lymphedema, but is harmful to health. Alcohol can worsen lymphedema.

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William C. Hilberg
As an author, Mr. Hilberg has published several papers on health issues that have gained international recognition. He is close to nature and loves the seclusion and activity as a freelance journalist. In his function as editor William C. Hilberg manages the entire content of PENP. Our team greatly appreciates his expertise and is proud to have him on board.