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Obesity-related lymphedema...anti-Gout diet has helped me!

PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 7:02 pm
by grace
I have been struggling with lymphedema for a few years. I am morbidly obese and began retaining extra fluid several years back, with most of it concentrated in the pannus, or lower stomach area of my body. The doctor was no help, she just told me to lose weight and exercise (Duh, why didn't I think of that?).

I tried many diuretics and was low-carb dieting, but things just got progressively worse until they reached a peak. I had so much pain in my knees I could barely walk across the room or get out of a chair.

Long story short, I discovered I had gouty arthritis. I also found a natural alternative to my prescription diuretic that works better.

I have been eating an "anti-gout" diet for over two months, along with taking the natural diuretic, and my pannus has been greatly reduced. The skin has softened, with a great deal of the fluid being removed. I can walk more easily, and have less arthritis pain than before.

I am taking Dandelion Root (a good brand with standardized extract) once per day, for the diuretic. It seems to work best if I take it between meals or before bed. In addtion to it being a diuretic, I read that it blocks a hormone called aldosterone that we begin to produce in excess during the late 30's and early 40's (source was an article in Women's World magazine), so this could have something to do with my case.
Dandelion Root is naturally high in potassium and so does not deplete the potassium and throw off the water balance like prescription diuretics. In large quantities it can give you diarrhea, though, so don't overdo it.

The anti-gout diet is as follows:
I avoid red meat, organ meats (including hot dogs, sausages, meatballs), fish and shellfish, asparagus, mushrooms, and only eat small amounts of chicken or occasional "good cuts" of pork. I eat lots of cherries, or if I don't feel like eating them, I take 3 capsules of powdered cherries with each meai (3 times a day). I eat more fruit in general, and also take good quality fish oil supplements, a multivitamin, and a few other supplements for circulation, and green tea extract.
Celery Seed is said to work as well (for gout) as cherries, but I had an allergy to it.

It took 6 weeks of eating like this before I saw a huge difference. 6 weeks seemed to be a turning point. I plan to eat like this for the rest of my life, with the occasional "cheats" now and then. I suspect in cases like mine, there might be a problem with the body processing enzymes (or whatever) in certain types of food; it could be a genetic defect, who knows.

I don't know if this will help all types and stages of lymphedema, especially those who have poor lymphatic drainage due to surgical scarring, etc. But it could help someone else like me, so I wanted to share it.

(edited 11/5/09, only to improve the title)

Re: Found something that helps my lymphedema--gout diet +

PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 7:33 pm
by grace
I would like to add more information about my personal experience but hate to muddy the original post, above.

So, a brief introduction to my "case" of life-long weight problems and recent lymphedema.

I began gaining weight at about 3 years old. I've fought it since then, and starting in my early teens, my legs and arms were always heavy compared to the rest of my body. Because the fluid retention was non-pitting, it was not recognized as anything but extra "fat."

I've been to many doctors all my life, but nobody would help me except to tell me I needed to stick to a diet and exercise more. I'm now 46 years old and tired of hearing that.
About 2 years ago I began retaining excess fluid in my lower stomach area (called the pannus, or apron, on obese people). Underneath appeared a water blister, that would leak and drip for days. The fluid was very "pitting" in that area, though on my legs I've only had tight skin and swollen legs, non-pitting.

The only diet that ever helped me much was low-carb, so I eat that way most of the time, which meant more meat, less carbs, not too much fruit or veggies, only lite salads. I got heavier with fluid, and developed bad arthritis.

Since I discovered the "gout" connection, and have been eating to reduce gout, I am improving rapidly.

In addition to reducing the lymphedema, the yellow nails are going away on my feet (the bottom half of "new growth" is clear). I can also see my ankles!
I think it's all related somehow and I hope those in the medical community take note, and my posts can help others out there with similar problems.

Re: Found something that helps my lymphedema--gout diet +

PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:38 am
by patoco
Hi Grace :)

I'm really glad that you have found a diet that helps you gout and that helps the swelling that might originate from the gout.
The diet will also help in loosing weight and maintaining it and that should help the edema also.

The thing we need to remember though is that this is a very specific diet targeted for you involving help with obesity and gout and is not going to help with the edema that stems from lymphedema.

Best wishes on this and do keep us posted on how you are doing.


Re: Found something that helps my lymphedema--gout diet +

PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:17 pm
by grace
Thank you for the reply and also the encouragement.

Agreed, my experience will not help all people with lymphedema; only those who develop it from complications of morbid obesity that may be related to gout crystals and/or the resulting inflammation blocking lymphatic drainage in the limbs and pannus. It's just a heads-up to people like me, whose doctors never thought to make the connection between the inflammation and the gout.

It's not all gone at this point but the hard part has gotten smaller and I continue to improve. :)

Thanks for letting me share my story. :)

Re: Found something that helps my lymphedema--gout diet +

PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 8:31 am
by grace
Hello, just an update on my progress. I had obesity related lymphedema.

It has taken 6 months but the remainder of the hardness is now gone! My skin is soft all the way across. I still have fluid but it's much less, and continues to improve.

About two months ago I added a Glucosamine-Chondroitin supplement which has really improved the joint pain in my knees. The crunchiness is gone, I can move around better which also increases circulation.

I eat a large salad for dinner at least 4 nights a week, with a small grilled half chicken breast. The other nights I keep the meat portions small and usually limit them to chicken breast, but have beef on the odd occasion as a treat. I still avoid sausage, pepperoni, or anything that might contain lower quality cuts of meat, only eat fish on rare occasions but I do take fish oil supplements.

Just as a recap my lymphedema is not the "regular" kind, it was caused by obesity and gout. Apparently most doctors are not aware of the gout connection, they blame obesity and just tell you to lose weight. Low carb dieting will make it WORSE, and since people of large size often have blood sugar problems, they may look to that to lose weight.

I hope and pray my story helps others with similar problems. I have seen several shows on the Discovery Health channel, about morbidly obese people with horrible lymphedema in their legs and stomach, and instead of helping them, they're written off as hopeless overeaters.

I encourage those people to try eating to reduce gout and of course talk to your doctor about it, they will check your uric acid level.
I'm taking an over the counter Green Tea appetite suppressant and it has really helped with cravings.

Re: Obesity-related lymphedema...anti-Gout diet has helped me!

PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 9:03 am
by patoco
Hey Grace

Thanks for the update :) , thanks too for specifying that this is for obesity related lymphedema. The interesting thing about gout is that is causes so much inflammation - add that to the inflammation caused by the lymphedema and you get a double whack there. So a diet that helps loose weight and helps prevent inflammation would probably help with that form of lymphedema.

Best to you!


Re: Obesity-related lymphedema...anti-Gout diet has helped me!

PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:08 pm
by grace
Just an update for any other morbidly obese people out there who are having lymphedema problems in their abdomens, legs, or elsewhere. (Which I just learned are called Massive Localized Lymphedema, from Andrew's posts).

I'm now completely off diuretics, my uric acid level is down, and I'm losing weight using a Low GI, or low glycemic index, diet (in my case nutrisystem but you can do it on your own, as well).
I highly recommend it for the morbidly obese, especially those who are too hungry on other plans.

If you follow it exactly, the food combinations of high protein and high fiber eaten with low glycemic carbs will help you control your hunger.

Good luck to anyone in this predicament, I was on the verge of becoming completely housebound and bedridden. Now I have my life back.

Re: Obesity-related lymphedema...anti-Gout diet has helped m

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:15 am
by patoco
hi Sally

While the anti-gout diet may have help you in your situation, I wouldn't recommend anyone else trying it without first consulting their physician.

i know too that with several "researchers" claim that fructose is the root of all evil. But, there is much controvery regarding this and many other researchers disagree.

For example, in the article "Effect of Fructose on Body Weight in Controlled Feeding Trials: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis." brought out in Feb 2012, that researcher teams states "The contribution of fructose consumption in Western diets to overweight and obesity in populations remains uncertain." and goes on to say in regards to some of the studies done on fructose and its negative effects that "Most trials had methodological limitations and were of poor quality. "

So, unquestionably much much more research is needed. I'm afraid I am a skeptic regarding so many of the so-called health alerts. I remember that once, it was sugar, then it was sweetners, now it's fructose. Also, once it was bacon that caused cancer, then hamburgers etc etc. Every few years we have another food alert. the meantime, people are living longer and longer lives.

I always say, just eat a healthy diet, get exercise and it should be fine. It has worked for me for my 59 years. LOL...may have hereditary lymhpedema and lymphoma - but the ole ticker, my weight, blood pressure etc. are super duper so far.