Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment with your doctor.
What you can do
List the following:
- Your symptoms, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Key personal information, including major illnesses, cancer treatments or recent life changes.
- Medications, vitamins and supplements you take.
- Questions to ask your doctor.
For lymphedema, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the likeliest cause of this swelling?
- Could there be another cause?
- What tests do I need? Do these tests require special preparation?
- Is the swelling temporary or long lasting?
- What's the treatment for lymphedema?
- Are there alternatives to the approach you're suggesting?
- Are there medications to ease the swelling?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Do I need to restrict my diet or activities?
- Do you have brochures or other printed material that I can take? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask other questions, as well.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
- When did the swelling begin?
- Do you have other signs or symptoms?
- Has the swelling been continuous or occasional?
- Does anything seem to make the swelling better?
- Does anything seem to worsen your symptoms?
What you can do in the meantime
Keep your swollen limb elevated as much as possible and protect your skin from injury. The swelling from lymphedema might dull pain from an injury or burn, so don't use heating pads on the affected limb. Moisturize your skin daily.
Oct. 23, 2014
- Lymphedema. Society for Vascular Surgeons. http://www.vascularweb.org/vascularhealth/Pages/lymphedema.aspx?PF=1. Accessed Sept. 17, 2014.
- Lymphedema (PDQ): Health professional version. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/supportivecare/lymphedema/healthprofessional/AllPages/Print. Accessed Sept. 16, 2014.
- Mohler ER, et al. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of lymphedema. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 16, 2014.
- Chiu TW. Management of secondary lymphoedema. Hong Kong Medical Journals. 2014;20:1.
- Lymphedema (PDQ): Patient version. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/supportivecare/lymphedema/Patient/page1. Accessed Sept. 16, 2014.