The lymphedema diet and what caregivers should know.
In this post last week, we talked about what lymphedema is and what caregivers can expect.
As we found out in that post, lypmhedema refers to swelling in the arms or feet due to a blocked lymphatic system.
In today’s post, we will explore what kind of diet is best for somebody with lymphedema.
If you want to help your loved one choose a diet that resolves lymphedema, pay attention to these.
Foods that are high in salt contain a lot of sodium. The United States Centers for Disease Control recommends that an adult consumes 2,300mg of sodium per day. The average American adult consumes around 3,400mg of sodium per day.
Sodium also increases how much fluid your body retains.
When the amount of fluid the body retains in high, this increases blood pressure. And it will certainly increase the swelling or prevent swellings from resolving in a person with lymphedema.
Here are 3 tips on avoiding extra sodium in your food.
This may sound counter-intuitive – however it is important in helping to resolve lymphedema.
When the body is dehydrated, the nervous system “informs” the body to retain more water.
This can lead to lymphedema not resolving or becoming worse.
Providing the body with sufficient water will also help the liver and kidneys detoxify the body better so that toxic material that build up and block the lymphatic system are flushed out.
Here are 3 tips on how to drink more water.
Your lymphatic system depends on proper blood circulation so that toxic material can be carried out of the body.
Just like your water pipes at home, if the lymphatic vessels that carry toxins out of your body are blocked, or constricted in any way, they won’t carry out their function.
Alcohol and caffeine are vasoconstrictors.
This means they constrict blood vessels. When the blood vessels constrict, it prevents the movement of blood into the lymphatic system. This results in the body retaining toxic materials.
Thus, it is important to reduce or completely avoid alcohol and caffeine intake to keep the body from continuing to retain fluids.
Exercise improves blood flow to different parts of the body.
It also has the added benefit of burning calories so you can stay healthy.
Including this alongside a diet low in sodium, alcohol and caffeine will help an affected individual reduce the risk of and resolve lymphedema.
A lymphedema diet that also takes into consideration fruits and vegetables that supply the body with immune-boosting minerals and vitamins is also helpful.
Lymphedema in older people.
What is lymphedema?
And why should you care about it as a caregiver?
In today’s post, we will talk about what lyphedema is, how to identify it and how you can care for your loved one who has it.
Lyphedema refers to swelling that occurs in the arms or feet due to a blockage in the lymphatic system.
The lymphatic system is part of your immune system. It is a network of tissues and organs that drain your system of toxins, dead bacterial cells, and other unwanted materials from infectious agents.
Your tonsils and spleen are part of your lymphatic system.
Since your lymphatic system is involved in drainage, you can think of them as pipes taking the waste away.
If for any reason they become blocked, the affected person will retain fluid in their body which then causes the swelling you see in the legs and arms.
In lymphedema, usually only one arm or leg will become swollen. In some instances, both could be swollen as well.
The symptoms of lymphedema include:
Lymphedema can happen on its’ own (also called primary lymphedema) or it can happen because of another disease (called secondary lymphedema).
People who are older, overweight or who have undergone treatment for cancer are all at high risk for developing lymphedema.
If it is not properly cared for, lymphedema can lead to life-threatening infections. Another complication of lymphedema is lymphangiosarcoma – a type of cancer that affects soft tissues.
Stage 3 kidney disease and how to care for a loved one.
37 million people in the United States live with chronic kidney disease. Chronic kidney disease is divided into 5 stages that span across a spectrum. It can range from a mild disease to a severe one where the kidney may stop working altogether.
The kidneys are fist-sized organs in your body that are shaped like beans. Your kidneys filter your blood of any waste products. It helps you to balance fluid in your body
Your kidneys create urine by filtering your blood and so when a person passes urine, they are passing a direct product of the kidneys.
Without our kidneys, our bodies would retain fluid and waste substances that are toxic for the body.
Thus, when the kidneys are diseased, it can cause a great deal of distress for the person experiencing it and for caregivers.
Doctors measure the activity of the kidney using a measure called the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR).
An eGFR of 90 suggests that kidneys are working at 90% of their capacity and usually this marks the lower end of stage 1 of kidney disease.
Stage 3 kidney disease has two distinct stages.
During stage 3 kidney disease, an individual’s kidneys work at about half the capacity of a completely healthy kidney.
At this stage, many people don’t have symptoms of severe kidney disease.
As a caregiver, you may notice the following symptoms:
You may also notice high blood pressure – if you monitor this at home.
Because these symptoms are non-specific and could apply to other health problems, it is important that you encourage your loved one to visit their doctor who may then refer them to a kidney specialist known as a nephrologist.
It is important that you and your loved one do this to slow the progression of the disease.
As a caregiver, you can continue to provide supportive care and encourage your loved one to follow recommendations from medical experts.
Is your elderly loved one currently bedridden?
Here are five tips on how to take care of an elderly loved one who is bedridden at home.
Your loved one still needs to be getting a diet that provides them with all the nutrients they need.
A diet that is heavy in proteins, fruits and vegetables is helpful for people who are bedridden.
A bedridden person is prone to losing muscle tone because they are not using their muscles as much in daily movement.
This can result in a loss of muscle tone which further weakens a person.
A diet that is rich in protein, helps to continue to “feed” the muscles so they can regain some of that lost muscle tone.
Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals that boost the immune system and help wounds heal quickly.
People who are bedridden, are more likely to develop a condition called bed sores. Having the right balance of vitamins and minerals can help lessen the occurrence of these.
Like I mentioned in the point above, if your loved one is bedridden, they are not moving their muscles around much.
For people who are not bedridden, simple things like taking a walk for 30 minutes a day is enough to keep muscles strong and healthy.
When you don’t use a particular muscle group regularly however, those muscles become weak.
Thus, it is important to help your loved one perform range-of-motion exercises to help keep their muscles healthy.
Bed sores are another common problem that arise from being bedridden.
This happens because there isn’t enough blood supply to a part of your loved one’s body. Wounds then develop – and these wounds can take a long time to heal.
Range of motion exercises gets blood moving to the parts of the body that would otherwise be cut off from blood supply.
Cleanliness is important when you’re taking care of a bedridden loved one.
Bed baths prevent bacteria, fungi and viruses from gathering in areas of your loved one’s body and causing havoc.
Changing bedding and diapering often is vital when you’re taking care of a loved one who is bedridden.
Because they are in bed all day long, sweat, hair shedding and skin shedding all contribute to sheets becoming dirty quickly.
Thus, it is important to have a plan to change your loved one’s sheets once or twice a week. Or as often as is needed.
You could also lay down absorbent bed pads like these ones, on the area of the bed where your loved one lies the most.
This way, you don’t have to change all the sheets if you’re in a pinch for time. You would just need to change the bed pad.
Nonetheless, changing sheets once or twice per week will keep your loved one comfortable, clean and dry.
If your loved one uses a diaper, changing them frequently will also keep them comfortable and prevent problems like skin break down due to urine or feces staying on them for too long.
Laying in bed all day is boring. It can lead to mental health problems like depression.
Keep your loved one engaged and entertained.
Board games, watching a TV show together, providing them with books and having conversations are all ways to keep your loved one engaged.
While they are aging in place and are bedridden, your loved one can still enjoy a good quality of life.
These 5 tips on how to care for your elderly loved one who is bedridden, will help you achieve that.
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At Green Tree Home Care, we are happy to answer any questions you have about choosing the right home care agency for mom or dad. Call us today if you live the San Diego and Orange county areas.
You live far away from mom or dad and you need to find the right home care agency.
You want to pick an agency that will help them continue to enjoy the comforts of home while getting the care they need.
We know that finding and picking the right home care agency for your loved one is hard; but it is not impossible.
In today’s post, we’ll share some tips on how you can find and pick the right home care agency for your loved one.
These days, rating websites like Yelp or Google Reviews or A Place For Mom make researching a business easy.
Note however that people usually don’t rate a business unless they have had a bad experience. So while we recommend starting here, it’s also important to take the worst reviews with a grain of salt.
Most of these websites are based on a 5-star system with 5 stars being the best.
Our recommendation is that you can read the 3-star and 4-star reviews and find out what the complaints of these individuals were.
This should give you some insight into what the particular home agency does well and what may be lacking.
Once you’ve found out what other people have to say, go and find out what the home care agency has to say about itself.
You will find a lot here too.
If you cannot find all (or almost all) the information you need about a home care agency on their website, this could be a red flag.
A business that is marketing itself online needs to make answers to potential clients’ questions easy.
They can do this easily via their website and if they are not, we recommend that you pass.
If the home care agency has social media channels, these would be good to check as well.
By this point, you would have made a short-list of home care agencies to pick from for your aging loved one.
Our next recommendation is that you call the home care agency and speak with someone.
Questions you can ask while on the call with them include:
Any good home care agency will happily answer each of your questions and make sure to allay any fears you have.
Choosing the right home care agency for mom or dad, doesn’t need to be hectic when you follow these steps.