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Potential Complications.

Site presented by Bill Tillier

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Dysphagia.

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Falls.

Injuries caused by tripping and falling are a major risk in IBM patients. Three basic falling scenarios are described. Some patients benefit from leg or ankle braces (Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthosis - KAFO) or (Ankle-Foot Orthosis - AFO).

A KAFO is a long-leg orthosis that spans the knee, the ankle, and the foot in an effort to stabilize the joints and assist the muscles of the leg.

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Edema (swelling).

Generally speaking, edema is a swelling of tissues caused by a pooling of excess fluid. It is often associated with people who are stationary for long periods of time causing fluid to accumulate in the ankles and lower legs. There can be several complications of untreated edema, in the worst case, the fluid can compress the tissues to the point that blood circulation is impaired resulting in damage. The best treatment for this is prevention through the use of pressure stockings which help reduce the pooling of fluid and keep the circulation moving. Unfortunately, these stockings are very difficult to put on by yourself when you have weakness in the hands.

The gentlemen in these pictures have not had proper management (with the use of pressure stockings) to prevent edema and they now face potentially serious complications.

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Here is an example of a pressure stocking.

Socks

It is important to understand that other medical conditions can also cause edema and if you have swelling you should consult your physician to rule out other problems. As well, your doctor should recommend a strength of compression, the stockings come in different strengths. Usually the doctor will prescribe a stocking; this is better than just going to the drug store and buying one off-the-shelf.

Edema is made much worse by high salt intake and generally speaking, salt should be severely limited in your diet. Flying can also exacerbate edema because of the changes in pressure.

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Lifestyle Complications.

Also see the section on practical coping strategies