THE LYMPHATIC SYSTEM & LYMPHEDEMA
The Lymphatic System is an extensive drainage network that helps keep our body’s fluid levels balanced and defends against infections. It is made up of a system of Lymphatic Vessels which transports Lymph Fluid (a clear fluid made of water, proteins, cells and foreign debris) to Lymph Nodes (small, bean-shaped masses of tissue scattered along the Lymphatic System that act as filters). There are 600 to 700 lymph nodes in the human body that filter the Lymph Fluid before it returns to the circulatory system.
When the Lymphatic System is compromised due to Surgery, Lymph Node Dissection, Radiation, Chemotherapy (or any reason) the Lymph fluid is much harder to filter, the vessels can become clogged and the system backs up which can result in excessive swelling of fluid that doesn’t reabsorb into the body. This is called Lymphedema.
A Breast Cancer diagnosis significantly increases your chances of developing Lymphedema. Even if Lymph Nodes have not been removed, trauma to the immediate surrounding area (i.e. breast tissue) can cause damage to the Lymph Vessels and Nodes.
PREVENTING & TREATING LYMPHEDEMA
Once you develop Lymphedema, you have it for life. So it is very important to prevent it from happening. Lymphedema Prevention is an educational and physical process that works by applying just the right amount of stress to the lymphatic system in order to keep it moving, but not stress it to the point of clogging the vessels.
The Therapists at Doctor of Women’s Health are Specialized in Breast Cancer Rehabilitation. Heather Cadiz, OTR/L, CLT and Jennifer Hickman, COTA/L, CLT UE, LMT and Dr. Sherri Lorraine, DPT, PhD are Certified to treat Lymphedema through Complete Decongestive Therapy. Complete Decongestive Therapy includes Manual Lymphatic Drainage, Compression Bandaging, Exercise, Education and Self Care.
Research has shown that Compression alone can reduce the swelling process by 40%. Research also shows, Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapy alone can reduce the swelling process by 40%. Imagine having both, the swelling process would be greatly reduced by 80%.
We are one of the few LympheDivas providers in the area. LympheDivas compression sleeves and gauntlets are not only aesthetically unique but are medically advanced and very comfortable as well. LympheDivas compression sleeves and gauntlets utilize a unique cooling technology. Because heat causes increased capillary flow which results in increased lymph fluid flow, LympheDivas believes that keeping your hand as cool as possible is medically beneficial. The incorporated Coolmax® technology, with wicking, decreases the skin temperature through superior breathability and by moving moisture away from the skin through the fabric. This allows it to evaporate and produce further cooling. LympheDivas compression sleeves and gauntlets are also enhanced with micro-encapsulated Aloe Vera which releases the soothing compound over six months of use giving greater softness and skin protection.
You pick the color and style that best fits you and we will do the measurements to ensure proper fit and sizing to get the optimal benefits from your garment. Our Therapists are trained and Certified through Jobst, Solaris and LympheDivas for Compression Sleeve fitting.