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What You Need To Know If You Have Swelling Legs

What You Need To Know If You Have Swelling Legs

It’s important to take care of your arms and legs. You don’t realize how important and useful they are until something goes wrong with them. Have you ever seen a person who has swelling legs or arms? This could be a case of lymphedema. Lymphedema occurs when fluids build up in the soft tissues because the lymph vessels are blocked, damaged, or removed by surgery. And when it is serious, infections can occur and may damage tissue around the lymph.

Lymph is the thin, clear fluid that circulates in the body to get rid of wastes, bacteria, and other substances from tissues. Edema is the buildup of excess fluid. So swelling legs and arms occur when too much lymph is collected in any area of the body.

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What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of lymphedema may include

  • swelling legs or arms
  • a full or heavy feeling in an arm or leg
  • a tight feeling in the skin
  • difficulty in moving a joint in the arm or leg
  • thickening of the skin (with or without skin changes such as blisters or warts)
  • a feeling of tightness (when wearing clothing, shoes, bracelets, watches, or rings)
  • itching of the legs or toes, a burning feeling in the legs
  • hard time sleeping
  • loss of hair

Types of lymphedema

Primary lymphedema is associated with genetic abnormalities in the lymphatic system. Secondary lymphedema is caused by damage to the lymphatic system mainly after going through surgery, trauma, radiation, or an infection. This is common for patients that are going through cancer treatments.

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For treating breast cancer, for example, many surgeries will have at least two or three lymph nodes removed from under the arm. Sometimes, radiation is also needed as part of the treatment. Both surgery and radiation can cut off or damage some of the nodes and vessels through which lymph moves. Over time, the flow of lymph can overwhelm the remaining pathways, which will result in lymphedema due to the backup of fluid into the body’s tissues.

How to prevent, manage and treat it

Preventive, management and treatment measures include maintaining clean skin and nails to prevent infection (use cream or lotion to keep the skin moist, treat small cuts or breaks in the skin with an antibacterial ointment, avoiding needle sticks of any type into the limb with lymphedema including blood tests and shots, using a thimble for sewing, using sunscreen and wearing slippers outside).

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Keep body fluids moving

You should also keep body fluids moving, especially through an affected limb or in areas where lymphedema may develop. To keep these fluid moving, do not cross legs while sitting, change your sitting position at least every 30 minutes, wear only loose jewelry and clothes without tight bands or elastic, do not carry handbags on the arm with lymphedema, do not use a blood pressure cuff on the arm with lymphedema, and do not use elastic bandages or stockings with tight bands.

Limbs should be raised higher than the heart when possible

The limb with lymphedema should also be raised higher than the heart when possible, and do not swing the limb quickly in circles or let the limb hang down, and do not apply heat to the limb. These can all make blood and fluid collect in the lower part of the arm or leg.

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Exercising

For exercising (light exercise and aerobic exercise help the lymph vessels move lymph out of the affected limb and decrease swelling), you should talk to your doctor before doing it. It is important to wear a pressure garment during all exercise if lymphedema has developed.

Treatments for lymphedema will depend on the severity of the condition. Treatments could be in the form of using sleeves, bandages, and pumps that can help lymph flow out of the arm, hand, trunk, or other body part affected by lymphedema. Others include skin protection and exercise and losing weight. You should contact your doctor at the first sign of lymphedema.

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Sarah Bonander

Writer, Human Resources Professional

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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