Saturday, March 21, 2009

Confident Clothing Company
Therapeutic Active Wear for Breast Cancer Patients

One of my main concerns after having the mastectomy was if I was still going to be able to do weight training. I knew the medical community recognized the benefits of aerobic exercise, but because lymphedema caused by the removal of lymph nodes causes fluid retention, the old wisdom was that you shouldn’t lift anything heavy. Lymphedema is a condition in which excess fluid called lymph collects in tissues and causes swelling. Lymphedema may occur in the arms or legs. This often happens after lymph vessels or nodes in the armpit are removed by surgery or damaged by radiation, impairing the normal drainage of lymphatic fluid.

My doctor told me I could do anything except put a tourniquet on my arm, which I wasn’t planning on doing anyway. But, many people have misconceptions based on outdated information that lifting anything once you have lymphedema can cause it to worsen. This is not true! The updated studies confirm that exercise which causes muscle contractions, especially in the arm and calf, help to promote lymph flow to veins in the neck region where it returns to the blood circulation. Exercise also helps the proteins in lymph fluid to be reabsorbed. Both result in a lesser severity of lymphedema.

The other benefit of doing weight training again is that it is helping me get back the range of motion in my arms. This is important to maintain, just to be able to perform daily living skills. This is similar to people with arthritis. The old wisdom was that they shouldn’t move or the pain would increase and worsen. That myth has also been proven wrong. Moving and lifting (within reason) is a good thing. Like a rusty hinge the longer you don’t use it the harder it will be to get it unstuck.

A study done by Dr. Susan R. Harris, PhD, PT, School of Rehabilitations Sciences states that “ Results of a series of case reports suggest that women who have received axillary dissection and, in many cases radiation, for treatment of breast cancer can safely engage in strenuous upper extremity exercise without developing lymphedema. Because many women who have been treated from breast cancer are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis due to premature menopause, the opportunity to partake in competitive recreational activities with both aerobic and bone-building benefits is extremely important.”

It is never too late to improve your health and fitness. Get moving!!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment