Arm Swelling Reduced By Lifting Weights

breast implantsA recent study has shown that women who have had breast cancer surgery can reduce arm swelling by lifting weights. The condition is Lymphedema and can occur when the lymph nodes are removed during breast cancer surgery. The disorder causes swelling and tightness in the arms or hands. This occurs because of a build up of the lymphatic fluid in the soft tissue.

Normally, lymph vessels carry fluid out of limbs and back into the circulation. However, with lymphedema, there has been an interruption in this flow. In the past doctors believed that lifting weights would worsen the condition and advised against lifting weights. However, with the release of the new study, lifting weights may be beneficial for women, as well as the other advantages of weight lifting.

After the study was conducted, it revealed that many women who lifted weights after surgery saw a reduction in lymphedema symptoms. Plus there were no side effects for the women who lifted weights. Dr. Schmitz who conducted the study, hopes that doctors will advise patients differently that have lymphedema.

Aside from this study, The American Cancer Society, The National Cancer Institute and the American Lymphedema Institute has additional recommendations for women who have under gone breast cancer surgery to reduce their chances of developing lymphedema. These recommendations are:

* Use the arm normally.
* Raise the arm above the heart for 45 minutes a day, 2 to 3 times a day when laying down after surgery. The arm should be placed on a pillow, with the hand higher than the wrist and the elbow higher than the shoulder.
* Use a stress ball for squeezing exercises.
* Keep the arm and hand moist with lotion and clean the area daily. There should be no dyes, lanolin, alcohol, petroleum, talc, mineral oils or perfumes in the lotion.
* Change the bandages regularly and make sure all clothing is clean.
* Avoid medical procedures on the affected are.

* Avoid pressure on the arm.
* Do not use chemicals for hair removal on the arm.
* Do not use saunas, hot tubs or other areas with extreme temperature changes.
* Try to avoid injuries to the arm.
* Possibly wear soft pads after axillary node dissection.
* Use a breast compression garment to travel.
* Use gloves when doing house hold chores.
* Exercise regularly.
* Maintain a balanced diet.
* Keep an ideal weight.

If weight lifting or any exercise program is to be practiced, check with the doctor and treatment team first. Though the results of the study positive, weight lifting may not be able to be performed by all patients.

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