Compression for the Treatment of Lymphedema
Compression not only improves circulation, but also aids in the upward flow of the lymphatic and venous system. This blood flow is recirculating back toward your lungs and heart causing your system to function as it did prior to having lymphedema. Lymphedema is a chronic condition that is not curable at present, but may be alleviated by appropriate management; if not treated it can progress and become difficult to manage.
When lymphedema presents, excess fluid builds in the arm. This buildup of fluid is known as edema (sometimes called congestion). There are a number of ways to decongest the fluid build-up caused by lymphedema, including a massage technique known as manual lymph drainage (MLD), the use of intermittent pneumatic compression pumps, wrapping with short stretch bandages, and/or wearing a graduated compression garment. Once the limb has been reduced of fluid build-up, wearing the SIGVARIS ADVANCE Armsleeve is recommended to maintain the reduction.
Other Ways to Be Proactive
- Prevent infection and keep the skin moist (avoid needle sticks, use antibacterial ointment)
- Avoid blocking fluid flow (wear loose fitting clothing, avoid a blood pressure cuff, don’t carry heavy objects)
- Develop an exercise program with consult from a therapist (light, aerobic exercise is recommended)
- Avoid heat/sun or ice directly (may cause vasodilation)
- Keep blood flow from pooling (avoid sleeping on a bent arm)
- Wear a properly fitted SIGVARIS graduated compression garment during stress activities and air travel