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How can I reduce my risk?

How can I reduce my risk?

How can I reduce my risk?

The best-known and most effective advice for preserving the good health applies perfectly to reducing your risk of lymphedema.

Get moving and exercise every day

Keeping your body in motion is good for your physical and psychological health. Leading Canadian health authorities and the World Health Organization recommend 150 minutes of activity per week. If you’re new to exercise, take it slowly and at your own pace. Make deep breathing part of your daily routine.

By contracting muscles and promoting blood circulation, physical activity and deep breathing stimulate lymphatic drainage and alternative lymphatic pathways.

Aim for or maintain a healthy weight

Studies have shown that being obese is a risk factor for developing lymphedema. Try to maintain a healthy weight. Gradually lose excess weight (BMI 25 and over) or maintain a healthy weight (BMI 18.5 to 25) by adopting a healthy diet and active lifestyle. For help, follow Canada’s Food Guide or consult a nutritionist.

Adipose tissue (i.e., body fat) accumulation can have a negative impact on your lymphatic system.

Protect yourself from the sun

Too much exposure to the sun’s rays is harmful to the skin and can even lead to cancers such as carcinoma and melanoma.

By preventing sunburn, you avoid overtaxing your lymphatic system.

Avoid insect bites

Too much exposure to the sun’s rays is harmful to the skin and can even lead to cancers such as carcinoma and melanoma.

By preventing sunburn, you avoid overtaxing your lymphatic system.

Adopt these good habits in particular

  1. Cleanse your skin thoroughly and moisturize regularly. Your skin may be more fragile if your lymphatic system – deprived of fully functioning lymph nodes – becomes less efficient.
  2. Protect your skin, hands and feet from cuts, scratches and splinters. Disinfect and treat all wounds. You’ll reduce the risk of infection associated with a weakened lymphatic system. 
  3. Use an electric razor to avoid cuts and skin irritation.
  4. For manicures and pedicures, insist on sterilized equipment. Do not cut your cuticles. 
  5. Risk of arm lymphedema: Wear rubber gloves for household chores and gardening gloves for heavy-duty work. Avoid tight-fitting jewelry and watches. Wear a well-fitting bra with wide straps and good pressure distribution.
  6. Risk of lymphedema in the leg: Maintain good foot hygiene. Dry your toes thoroughly to protect against athlete’s foot. Avoid walking barefoot and opt for closed-toe shoes. Wear comfortable underwear and socks that won’t mark the skin.
  7. Consider wearing a Lymphedema Alert bracelet during hospital visits, as well as when traveling or participating in sports.


To make sure you’re doing the right thing without making life unnecessarily complicated, consult a lymphedema professional.

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