Lymphedema is abnormal swelling that is caused by a build-up of lymph fluid. It occurs most frequently in the arms and in the legs and is commonly caused by the removal of or damage to lymph nodes as a part of cancer treatment. In this scenario, the onset of lymphedema can occur during treatments, days, months or even years after the treatment protocol is completed.
According to the World Health Organization there are over 170 million people world-wide who suffer from secondary lymphedema. It affects approximately 15% of all cancer survivors and an estimated 30% of those treated for breast cancer after surgery to remove lymph nodes.
Lymphedema is a chronic condition that, if not cared for, can lead to infection, thickening of the skin, pain and loss of proper function. But with the help of professionals in the field and by learning techniques for self-care it can be managed.
Unfortunately lymphedema is poorly understood and researched. For this reason the new book entitled:
The Complete Lymphedema Management and Nutrition Guide
Empowering Strategies, Supporting Recipes & Therapeutic Exercises
by Jean Lamantia, RD and Ann DiMenna, PT, CDT
is a great resource for both those suffering from lymphedema and for practitioners.
A Great Resource for those Suffering from Lymphedema and for Practitioners
Parts 1 & 2 are authored by Ann DiMenna, PT, CDT. Parts 3 & 4 by Jean Lamantia, RD.
Part 1: Understanding Lymphedema
This section beautifully lays out the physiology and biology of the lymphatic system as well as addressing Lymphedema Risk Reduction by using an easy to understand narrative coupled with informative visuals.
Part 2: Self-Care for Lymphedema
Self-care management is vital for those with lymphedema. This section covers the key areas of skincare, self-taping, self-massage and exercise. It also covers the topic of compression garments very well.
The next 2 sections cover the importance of nutrition for lymphedema management.
Part 3: Nutrition for Lymphedema
This is a very informative section of the book that covers these important topics for lymphedema management:
- The role of the lymphatics in digestion
- Reducing Chronic Inflammation
- Fluids, protein and sodium
- Meal Planning
Of note here as well, most of you know that I am a proponent of intermittent fasting. Included within this section is an interesting notation from Jean about her thoughts on intermittent fasting and possible benefits for managing lymphedema. She is very clear that her thoughts are speculative, not researched based, but I find the notion thought provoking at the very least.
Part 4: Recipes for Lymphedema
And to wrap it up, the book contains some wonderful recipes to help the reader implement the nutritional advise that Jean Lamantia has provided.
As a practitioner who works with patients suffering from lymphedema, I find this book to be a valuable reference. As a sufferer of lymphedema myself, I know that this book will be of great benefit for those trying to manage this condition.