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This entry was posted on May 26, 2015.
Do you or a loved one suffer from a condition called lymphedema? This diagnosis typically comes after treatment has occurred for cancer. Unfortunately, it can cause a variety of cascading symptoms that sometimes lead to potential emergency situations.
Below, check out everything you need to know to better understand lymphedema and identify people who may be experiencing a related emergency. The good news is that something as simple as a lymphedema bracelet can help make sure any emergency doesn’t escalate into something worse.
Lymphedema is a condition which causes direct swelling to your arms, legs and sometimes both. Also known as lymphatic obstruction, it primarily affects localised areas on particular areas of your appendages.
According to the Mayo Clinic, in many cases this condition comes as a direct result of cancer treatment. Cancer of the lymph nodes often requires amputation of damaged areas – or the entire lymph nodes themselves.
As a result of these removals, those who suffer from the condition will typically see blockages in their lymphatic systems. Blockage inevitably causes fluid to build up in a patient’s arms and legs, leading to the swelling and pain associated with the diagnosis.
Symptoms include all the following:
The list of symptoms can cause lots of pain to those suffering with lymphedema. Fortunately, there are lots of treatment options to make it much more manageable. The primary treatment options are categorised into four areas:
1. Compression Therapy
Compression Therapy is the most common method to help encourage lymphatic system flow and reduce arm and leg swelling. Compression increases pressure at the skin level which improves overall lymph node function. This is often achieved through bandaging, compression clothing and other garments. In more severe cases, direct compression treatment systems are used for improved lymphatic movement.
2. Lymphatic Massage
Affected lymph nodes can also be encouraged to function with regular massage. Manually manipulating lymph nodes aides in their ability to better transport fluid and reduce intermittent swelling.
Many studies show that regular resistance training helps to stop the worsening swelling related to lymphedema. A physician-approved exercise regime can help you stay fit and better manage the condition.
In more extreme cases, surgical intervention may become necessary. This should be directly discussed between you and your doctor.
For those of you who don’t have lymphedema, how can you know when to identify an emergency situation?
In most cases lymphedema is treatable without any need to call EMS or treat a situation like an emergency. However, there are some risk factors you should know about ahead of time.
In many cases, lymphedema patients cannot have their blood pressure taken on their arms and legs where the swelling is present.
A bracelet that says 'Lymphedema' may not give EMS enough information to stop them from attempting a blood pressure reading on an affected area. However, medical bracelets with 'No Blood Pressure/NO IV' can alert EMS responders to this before they attempt to take a reading.
Similar to 'No Blood Pressure,' those who suffer from lymphedema cannot have any type of intravenous injection or work on their affected arms or legs. A lymphedema bracelet can more definitively alert first responders to this concern and prevent any painful complications from occurring.
The primary point where this condition causes an emergency is when someone with the disease is exposed to a potential infection. Lymphedema causes protein-rich fluid to accumulate. This puts people in a much higher risk category for severe infection.
Consider any cut or scrape an emergency situation. This holds especially true if you find someone unconscious or unable to communicate. They can’t tell you the sensitive nature of a potential infection site. However, a simple solution like a lymphedema bracelet can easily address this risk.
Wearing a lymphedema bracelet shouldn’t be seen as something for yourself or your loved one directly. Instead, you should look at it as a tool for others. When other people see that you’re wearing this medical identification tool, they’ll know what to communicate in an emergency. That way, you’ll get the treatment you need faster – and potentially prevent a major infection or other complication.
For those suffering from this condition, wearing a lymphedema bracelet should be done without question. Why wouldn’t someone want to improve their safety in a simple, convenient fashion like this type of medical ID? For your safety – and everyone in your life – get a bracelet on your wrist as soon as possible.