Guaifenesin & Lymphedema – A Self Study – Part 1

Lately, I have been spending a good bit of time paying attention to Lymphedema discussion groups on Facebook on a variety of topics.  One recent topic that has taken my interest is the use of the medication Guaifenesin as a means of relief and treatment for Lymphedema.

A patent filed on Jun 25, 2001, by Samuel K. Yue, MD. identifies Lymphedema as:

Lymphedema or “high protein edema” is a deficiency, blocking or dysfunction of the lymphatic system that limits the flow of lymph fluid from a body area. Any sustained accumulation of proteins delivered to the body tissue by the blood capillaries, and not removed by the lymphatic system, will cause an accumulation of high protein fluid in the interstitial areas of the body tissues resulting in Lymphedema or “high protein edema”.

I could break the patent down in all of its technical descriptions and details but I will spare you the interpretation.  Dr. Yue’s method of using the expectorant  Guaifenesin to treat Lymphedema and Fibromyalgic patients is quite intriguing, to say the least. I will, however, share this paragraph which explains the of using this for treatment.

The inventor disagrees with the basic assumption and hypothesis on the inner working of guaifenesin. The inventor believes that guaifenesin’s activity is its ability to break down undigested protein, and antigen-antibody complexed protein within the tissues and lymphatic nodes and vessels to reduce fluid accumulation and therefore reduce lymphedema. Guaifenesin is an expectorate and it thins out proteinaceous secretions from our lungs by directly and/or indirectly through stimulating macrophages to breaking the proteins into its amino acids components. The inventor believes that guaifenesin break down the proteins within the blood stream, tissues, and the lymphatic system. By maintaining a high level of guaifenesin within the blood stream, the “foreign” proteins within the tissue, antigen-antibody protein complexes within the lymph nodes will be broken down allowing the broken down amino acid particles to diffuse across the tissue into the lymphatic drainage. With this fluid switch from the lymphatic to the systemic circulation diuresis ensues without affecting the potassium metabolism within the kidney. The inventor has also observed lymphedema that occurs in non-fibromyalgia patients that responds well to guaifenesin therapy resulting in reduction of the swelling. Fibromyalgia patients on guaifenesin have also been observed to have reduction of the painful and swollen lymph nodes. They have also been observed to have different rate of swelling reduction of one extremity versus the other, with the more swollen extremity slowly catching up with the other over time. These observations confirm the hypothesis that guaifenesin works on the “foreign” protein or antigen-antibodies protein complexes within the tissues and lymphatic system. With different size “foreign” protein and antigen-antibody protein complexes, guaifenesin’s action on these proteins in various part of the body will proceed with different rate resulting in different rate of swelling reduction in different part of the bodies.

I encourage you to read the language of the patent and share it with your Physician.  I printed a copy and took it to him.  My Primary Care Physician was quite interested in learning more.  He approved for me to begin taking Guaifenesin, and looks forward to seeing the results, either way, they may go.

I will be starting at 600mg sustained release version twice a day (every 12 Hours) for the first month.  I will be keeping a report at dosage times of noticeable effects and general observation.  I will self-evaluate the effectiveness of the dosage after the first month, and adjust upward as seems appropriate.  I will be reporting this data and the corresponding dosage changes to my Primary Care Provider Electronically as well.

I will be following up on this topic weekly on my Hoffy’s World Blog “Living With Lymphedema” Column and sharing it through the various interest groups on social media as well.

If you have any experience with this means of treatment or are a provider who uses this medicinal therapy I’d love to hear your experiences so please comment either on my blog or on social media.

 

pain

Pain – The Common Question About Lymphedema

Cover Photo By: CC BY-SA 3.0 Nick Youngson http://nyphotographic.com/

This article is a from the blog column Living With Lymphedema written by Steve “Hoffy” Hofmeister

The most common question I receive about my Lymphedema or “Milroy’s Disease” is Does It Hurt?  I commonly answer no, as definitions vary on the perception of pain.  Now, my view is not inclusive of all Lymphedema sufferers.  The correct question I suppose in my case is, Do you experience pain as a result of your Lymphedema?  In the case of this question then I would have to answer yes.  You may be asking what is the difference in these questions. Continue reading

Drawinf of Fire Engine

Explaining Lymphedema To A Child (or anyone)

Explaining Lymphedema To A Child (or anyone)

You hear about the Immune System and how it keeps you well and fighting illness.  But a lot of people do not understand the connection it has with the Lymphatic System.  I have developed this child-friendly explanation over the years on how the Immune System and Lymphatic System work together as well as the disease Lymphedema.

Having grown up with this disease since age 8 I have had to explain it to people many times.  Both during childhood and in adulthood I have Continue reading

Milroy Was Here – Milroy’s Disease

As I lay here awake at 4 AM suffering from another sleepless session of rest.  I thought I would share with you some information I’ve learned.  After 30 some years of having to explain Lymphedema in detail I’ve learned it has a more classy name.  Well, at least in the variant I deal with, It’s called Milroy’s Disease.  Which I have to admit Milroy’s Disease sounds much less miserable than Chronic Idiopathic Lymphedema.  

It has one of those pretty fancy ribbon colors too it’s a sky bluish turquoise kinda color.  Not that it makes things any better.  But hey, at least maybe it will get the attention it needs now.  Look at all the marketing, attention, and promotion that goes into Cancer, Autism, Etc.  This kind of awareness promotion has brought great changes to the fight of these ailments.  None of which should be set above the other, they all need dedicated attention.

I just think it is time for Lymphedema in all it’s forms to be recognized as a serious medical issue too.  Of all the systems and functions of the human body the Lymphatic System does not get the credit it deserves.

Photo Shoot at University of MD Upper Chesapeake Health

Hoffy and Kyle Relax at Photo Shoot

Kyle and Hoffy Hangin’ Loose relaxing before Photo Shoot. Photo by: Kyle Hofmeister

Hangin’ Loose at Photo Shoot

Location: University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health Bel Air Campus

Kyle and Hoffy are hanging loose relaxing before a photo shoot.  Hoffy will be featured in an article promoting the new Lymphedema Treatment Program.Continue reading

Lymphedema the Infection Reality

I won’t be sugar-coating or making things pleasant in this article.  I think it is very important that my readers understand the underbelly of Lymphedema.  If you feel you may be too sensitive to view actual photographs or hear the details that accompany them I do understand.

Infection of the tissues is a common issue with Lymphedema.  I am Continue reading

Fatigue Symptoms Related to Lymphedema

There is a great deal of debate among sufferers and professionals alike about fatigue.  The primary question being can Lymphedema be a trigger source for fatigue.  Well, I don’t know the official opinion on it but I sure know where I stand on the topic.

Being a person who has had Lymphedema now for Continue reading

The Working Years

So far in this column about Living with Lymphedema, I have walked you through my days in school.  Now we shall move on into my 20’s or what I call the working years.  A lot of dreams were shattered for me when it came to the downfall of my educational experience.  I had always been very computer savvy both with their use and their construction.  As many of my generation had, we set forth priming toward a career in the amazing and quickly growing world of computers in the 1990’s.

server room | by reynermedia server room | by reynermedia https://www.flickr.com/photos/89228431@N06/11285592553

Well, as you would expect reading this now, those dream jobs were not as plentiful as first hoped.  Having no diploma I of course was limited in my monetary pursuits.  I had lost touch with a lot of the people I had done computer work for when Dad died.

I did howeverContinue reading

The Secondary School Days

As promised I continue the back story of my growing up with Lymphedema.  We start in the early 1990’s.  Middle school brought a next level of complications for me.  Granted most of them were shared issued that my fellow class mates endured as well, but for me some of them had an extra burden. 6th Grade was a an adjustment for us all;  Stubborn lockers and all the trimmings you would expect for a new middle school student.

The most uncomfortable experience for me wasContinue reading

Lymphedema, My Elementary Years

My Elementary School years were not the most comfortable of times for me.  At home, everything was second nature.  I had great neighborhood friends that looked at me no differently than anyone else, my family though protective of my well-being did not pander to my condition unreasonably.  School however had its unique trials.  I was not allowed to sit “Indian Style” as they called it back then on the floor with everyone else, this sometimes would cause confusion and cross words from teachers other than my own who though I was just being difficult.  I am thankful to my teachers who were very quick in correcting these misguided adults who usually approached my with snide comment such as

Continue reading