An Ounce of Prevention – Why I Wear A Compression Sleeve

Hiking again yesterday:)

I generally wear my compression sleeve when I hike, especially when it’s hot and humid. It’s just a precaution. I don’t have lymphedema, but in the past have had some episodes of swelling. After talking with my doctors and a lymphedema specialist, I decided it’s just easier to wear the sleeve during activities that are higher risk for swelling. I’d rather wear the thing and not have a problem than try to deal with the swelling later if I don’t wear it.

And here’s the reason why I wear it when I hike:
You may not be able to tell very well from this picture, but my hand and arm are PUFFY! And this is my good arm. My knuckles were swollen enough that it was difficult to make a tight fist. I had to loosen my watch band several times. This is just the way my body normally reacts to exercise in very hot, humid weather. It’s all fine, except that the side with lymph nodes removed has a harder time processing all that extra fluid.

I’ve found that keeping well-hydrated helps.  I’m not really sure if, scientifically, it actually helps, but it seems to. So, I drink lots of water (good to do anyway).

And I wear my sleeve. What’s that phrase? An ounce of prevention….

Julie

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4 Responses to An Ounce of Prevention – Why I Wear A Compression Sleeve

  1. Doreen says:

    Do you know that you should also wear a compression gauntlet or glove when you wear your compression sleeve ?? If you don’t wear a gauntlet or sleeve with the glove what happens is that the lymph fluid gets trapped in your hand/fingers – making them swell. Since you’re taking the precaution of wearing a compression sleeve I thought you should should also know that it would be a good idea to also wear a glove or gauntlet with your sleeve.

  2. julie says:

    Hi Doreen,
    Yes, I always wear a full glove – just forgot to say that. Thanks for the reminder, though.

  3. gillian says:

    Funny that. My lymphedema specialist, whom I see every two weeks cos I am at high risk following radiation, plus I do manual lymph drainage massage twice a day (someimes once), says a compression sleeve is something that must be worn all the time. And that I don’t need to wear it, only on longhaul flights. But guess you did say yours was a precaution…

  4. julie says:

    Gillian, I know there is some difference of opinions. I’ve heard that some LE experts say the sleeve/glove must be worn all the time. And a few say that wearing it just sometimes, like on a flight, can cause swelling – that your body gets used to having it and stops working on it’s own (not sure that’s a very common belief, though).

    It may be because my flare-ups were relatively mild and went down within a week with a little exercise & elevation alone. Or it may be because I take part in some pretty intense upper-body activities (rock climbing & windsurfing). Not sure, but it’s working for me.

    Every body & situation is different, so I always tell people to follow the advice they’re given by their own specialist. Your LE therapist & docs know your body & your specifics.

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