Sock it to Lymphoedema Campaign

07/03/2016

The week beginning the 6th March 2016 is Lymphoedema Awareness Week. The Lymphoedema Service Team in the Trust are wearing odd socks to 'Sock it to Lymphoedema!'

Lymphoedema affects 240,000 men, women and children in the UK. It is a long term condition where the affected body part swells causing discomfort, heaviness, decreased range of movement, loss of function and skin changes. However, with the right support and treatment there is much that can be done to improve both swelling and other symptoms.

Impairment of the lymphatic system may be present from birth (primary lymphoedema) or may result from damage or trauma (secondary lymphoedema).

The Lymphoedema Service in the South Eastern Trust was set up in 2009. We are small community based team covering locations Trustwide with out-patient clinics in Lagan Valley Hospital, Bangor Community Hospital and Ballymote Centre, Downpatrick. There are also lymphoedema trained physiotherapists within the community palliative care team and oncology in the Ulster Hospital that we work closely with.

Common causes of secondary lymphoedema that we see are:

  • Cancer (following surgery, radiotherapy or the cancer itself)
  • Obesity
  • Reduced mobility or paralysis
  • Recurrent cellulitis infections
  • Chronic venous insufficiency (often linked with obesity and reduced mobility)

The treatment we provide includes advice, skin-care, exercise, use of compression and specific massage techniques.

The Lymphoedema Support Network in an excellent resource for patients and professionals, details can be found here: http://www.lymphoedema.org/