I have had lumpectomies on both breasts 14 years apart. The first on I had 23 lymph nodes removed. The second one 2 years ago I had 4 lymph nodes removed. Since then I have had blood pressure readings taken on my calf or thigh and the readings are always high ( today 160/100) . Before my last surgery my blood pressure was always normal. The doctor isn't sure if my high readings are due to the blood pressure readings being taken on my leg. Do you think I could have reading taken on my arm that had only 4 nodes removed, without getting lymphedema? It really scares me but the thought of maybe having high blood pressure and possible having a stroke or heart attack does too. What should I do? thanks for any information you can suggest
Taking blood pressure on the arm post lumpectomy and axillary node removal is generally avoided, even though there is no robust scientific evidence that it worsens lymphedema.
According to the American Cancer Society website, "Most doctors recommend that women avoid having blood drawn from or blood pressures taken on the arm on the side of the lymph node surgery or radiation".
You should note that the blood pressure recorded in the thigh is usually about 10 to 20% higher than that recorded in the arm. Also, the appropriate size of the cuff should be used (cuff bladder should be 40% the circumference of the thigh, and cuff length should be 75% of the thigh circumference), otherwise readings may be substantially off the mark.
Hence, you should avoid BP measurements in your arms. Please consult a cardiologist for risk-reduction interventions as appropriate.
Good Luck, and God Bless!
Thanks you so much for your reply.The Wedsites I have found about this says, if 5 or less nodes were removed, then there is not a problem for Lymphedema. I respect your concern and will try to make sure the appropriate size cuff is used and probably not have it taken on either of my arms. I am not sure what you mean when you say ' risk - reduction interventions' by a Cardiologist?
Thanks again, Sherri
By “risk reduction interventions” I mean that you should consult a cardiologist for assessing your blood pressure and cardiac status and advising you on ways and means to reduce your risk of developing hypertension and its complications which include artherosclerosis, heart disease, stroke, impairment of kidney function etc.
Some of these interventions include exercise, dietary modification (low intake of saturated fats and salt, high fibre intake), relaxation techniques, appropriate medication to reduce blood pressure, medication to reduce cholesterol levels etc.
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