Nutrition and Lymphedema (and Edema)

Why do they keep telling me to loose weight if it is not going to cure me?

Overweight may possibly be one of the number one complications in the successful treatment of lymphedema. Each additional pound of body fat contains many additional blood vessels, which will significantly contribute to swelling.

Many health care centers offer nutrition and health classes that can be very beneficial for you.

Certain types of edema can simply be the result of the stress of extra body fat on your body. Weight loss can be the solution and the cure.

nutrition and edema

Probably one of the most commonly asked questions I encountered in therapy was, “Is there any special diet I can be on to improve my condition?” The answer is "no, but….."

There are a couple of important points to made about edema and nutrition. Basically everyone needs a normal, healthy diet and a moderate daily exercise program to feel their best!

Extra weight makes movement more difficult. Less movement decreases essential pumping effects of the muscles which move the fluids out of the limbs.

Many patients are also concerned when they learn that lymphedema is a protein rich fluid. People will quite logically question whether reducing the amount of protein in their diet can help. Unfortunately reducing protein amounts in your diet does not effect fluid protein levels significantly.

If you are over weight, or feel that you are not eating right I strongly urge you to talk to your health care provider. If someone tells you that they can cure your problem by diet alone turn on your skeptical radar.

 John Wellum, CPD

*Important: We are smarter than to try to practice medicine without a license! The information presented on this site is for informational purposes only. New medical information is available weekly - so check with your doctor and therapist before making any changes to your treatment!

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