- Question from Mary: I really watch what I eat, exercise and have gone to physical therapy and MLD (Manual Lymph Drainage) therapy previously. I have even upped thyroid meds, but am still unable to lose weight. If anything, I've gained and a recent cardio work-up said my body is in stress. What does this mean? Weight bearing exercises exacerbate the lymphedema and I take Mobic for inflammation, but still seem to be swelling not only in the arm, but legs and ankles as well.
- Answers - Melinda Irwin Perhaps your exercise program is a little too intense. Research has shown that strength training does not increase lymphedema. Perhaps you should focus more on an aerobic type of program—stationary bicycling or walking.
Cyndi Thomson, Ph.D., R.D.
I would suggest that you not just think of body weight as the only measure of your health. Maybe have the body composition (body fat and lean mass) evaluated as another indicator of your health. Or the area around your waist, thighs, and hips as other indicators that you're getting your body in better shape. Unfortunately, there's no good therapy for lymphedema, but you should discuss this with your doctor as some women have done well with massage therapy. You can learn more about lymphedema at the breastcancer.org website.
Editor’s note: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Mobic (chemical name: meloxicam) can cause swelling. If you are taking an NSAID and you have swelling, see your doctor.
- Melinda Irwin Also consider trying yoga and Pilates—it's a not as intensive strength training.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Weight Management During and After Breast Cancer Treatment featured Cyndi Thomson, Ph.D., R.D. and Melinda Irwin Ph.D., M.P.H. answering your questions on managing weight during and after breast cancer treatment.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in April 2007.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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