Chapter: Consultation hour
Article: 7 of 12
Update: Feb 24, 2021
Author(s): Wohlgemuth, Walter A.
Scientific studies on the influence of nutrition specifically on lymphedema are available, but so far have been unable to demonstrate a clear advantage of a particular type of diet according to evidence-based criteria.
The reduction of body weight through a calorie-reduced diet has a proven positive effect on both lymphedema (in lymphatic malformation) and phlebedema (in venous malformation or arteriovenous malformation). This positive effect is pronounced and scientifically proven. Weight loss proportionally reduces the increased tissue pressure in the lower extremities.
Being overweight in patients with vascular defects in the lower extremities has an additional negative effect on the joints and the musculoskeletal system, which may also be directly involved in the disease process. The exact type of “diet” or basis for weight reduction is not specific to a single diet; the positive effect of weight reduction is independent of the type of diet.
Diuretics and diets with a diuretic effect are not only ineffective in lymphedema, but can even result in worsening. Diuretics can lead to chronicity and hardening of the lymphedema by increasing the concentration of interstitial proteins outside the tissue.
Individually designed diets that do not deviate from a holistic, physiological diet in the long term can be helpful and sensible in individual cases. From a medical point of view, however, no single diet has yet proven to be superior.