If you are living with lymphedema, you probably already understand that there is not a lot of public awareness about the condition. If you’re newly diagnosed, though, it can seem to be a frightening prospect, because it does represent an ongoing, chronic situation that can’t be totally cured. Any diagnosis like that is bound to be upsetting for a while, but the important thing is to look past that, so you can understand the ways that various lymphedema treatments do help, and with the right combination of therapies and treatments, it is possible to minimize your symptoms.
What Exactly is Lymphedema?
Simply put, it is a condition that causes a buildup of lymphatic fluids because of problems with that fluid draining. As a result, the fluid buildup can cause swelling and discomfort. While there are a number of ways to develop lymphedema, it is most commonly seen after certain cancer treatments have run their course. There are ways to treat it, though, and those treatments can be customized to fit each patient’s needs.
Current and Cutting-Edge Treatments
The most common existing treatments for this condition are physical therapies and compression garments that help control the fluid, stimulating drainage and helping your body compensate for the issues that caused problems with drainage. There is some hope on the horizon for a drug that will alleviate symptoms too, but at the moment it is only in its earliest testing stages, and there can be decades between rodent tests and FDA approval for drugs in many cases. This will be a huge benefit if the drug’s development continues to show promise, but for now, patients need the best support garments and therapies possible.
Fit to You and Your Symptoms
Since lymphedema can develop in different parts of the body, patients need compression garments that not only fit their body size and shape, but also the location of their symptoms. That’s why many of the compression garments specifically designed for patients are available from specialty retailers that focus on just this part of the industry.
Garments can be built to a variety of purposes, too. Some are designed for overnight wear, helping to minimize the pooling of fluids when you are motionless for long periods of sleep. Some are built for more active, daily wear, and they are useful for controlling symptoms and supporting your body during physical activities. This has overall health benefits beyond the control over lymphedema symptoms, too, because if you can take on your fitness goals more comfortably and with less interference, you are more likely to be able reach them.
Beyond Compression Garments
There are a few support items and treatments that go with a regular compression routine and physical therapy, and if you find the right garment supplier, you will be able to get them from the same place. Those support items include skin care products that help condition your skin, keeping it healthy as you pursue your treatment. This can be important because of both the effects of the condition and the way proper skincare helps to make long-term compression garment use more comfortable. Similarly, foam padding and other support materials can help make it easier to navigate at home and more comfortable to rest.
While there are a number of reasons to be concerned if you are given a lymphedema diagnosis, this is a condition that over 10 million Americans are already living with. That means there is a strong support community, a good base of research into new therapies and treatments, and a large number of resources you can count of when you need treatment supplies like compression garments. Knowing that, and knowing how to navigate those resources to get the supports you need, you should be able to find a treatment plan that helps you make the treatment gains you want to see.