top of page

Lymphoedema Awareness Week 2022!

Lymphoedema Awareness Week (LAW) 2022 started on Monday the 6th of March and finishes on Sunday the 11th of March. LAW is to raise awareness of lymphoedema with healthcare professionals, patients and also the general public, as well as promoting the ways in which we can help people manage the condition with the right support.

What is Lymphoedema?

Lymphoedema comes under the umbrella term of chronic oedema, which includes all forms of swelling that has been present for over three months. Lymphoedema is a debilitating disease which requires long term management - as there is no cure.

The prevalence of chronic oedema is currently greater than that of other long-term conditions, such as stroke. According to The British Lymphology Society (BLS), around 400,000 people in the United Kingdom (UK) are suffering from lymphoedema - however it is thought to be under-estimated. This is because lymphoedema and chronic oedema is not well recognised by clinicians or the general public - so early cases are not recorded in prevalence numbers.

Causes of Lymphoedema:

Lymphoedema occurs when fluid builds upon the tissues, caused by a problem with the lymphatic system, which is a network of vessels and glands spread throughout the body. This can be caused by: obesity; immobility, cancer treatment (radio therapy); significant trauma to a limb or a lymphatic disorder.

When diagnosing lyphoedema and chronic oedema, a clinical assessment can be approached by using the six S's: story; self-care; site; skin; size; shape. Where the findings of the assessment should be used to develop a care plan for the patient.

Managing Lymphoedema:

The aim of managing lymphoedema is to alleviate the swelling, pain and the impact of the condition on the patient.

Management of lymphoedema can be split into two different phases. An intensive phase in which the disease is reduced and stabilised with a short term intensive therapy, and a maintenance phase, which is the reduction achieved in the intensive phase is maintained in the long term. In both phases on lymphoedema management, the key principles of skin care, exercise and compression therapy are used. Compression therapy is an essential component of care to reduce swelling in lymphoedema.

A daily, basic skin care routine will help the skin throughout treatment and it can also prevent more serious skin changes and complications from occurring. Cleansing, drying and moisturising are the key skin care components when managing lymphoedema.

Exercise is a vital component of lymphoedema management. As exercise can help to improve lymphatic flow, improve venous return, increase range of movement and improve the quality of life for the patient.

The use of compression therapy is another key management principle for lympheodema, for both the intensive phase of limv volume reduction and long-term management. Using compression therapy on a patient who suffers from this disease, can make a valuable contribution to the management of oedema. This is because compression therapy provides external pressure to the limb, where the blood and lymph within are squeezed from the tissue back into the circulation.

Management of the patients condition should be reviewed continually. Also engaging the patient in their care can help management to be more successful in the long-run and it can also free up nursing time.

Lympheodma Awareness Week Campaign:

Between the 6th and 11th of March The BLS have been campaigning to raise more awareness around Lympheodema and chronic oedema.

The "Find 3 Challenge" from The BLS is to encourage the general public to move, stretch and exercise, in day to day life as finding time to exercise can help. Our lymphatic system needs movement to help remove fluid and cells that your body does not need - even if you are waiting for a kettle to boil, in a queue in a shop or even sitting watching tv. Deep breathing, shoulder rotations, heel raises and calf stretches can all help get your lymphatics moving.

Essity, a leading global hygiene and medical company are also supporting lympheodma awareness week with a focus on delivering training and education to as manyhealth care professionals as possible about lymphoedema and chronic oedema in local communities across the UK and Northern Ireland.

61 views0 comments
Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page