This week we are proud to be promoting Lymphoedema Awareness Week to help raise awareness and give a broader understanding of the chronic condition.
Lymphoedema is a long-term (chronic) condition that causes swelling in the body’s tissues. It develops when the body’s lymphatic system does not work properly. The lymphatic system is a network of channels and glands throughout the body that helps fight infection and drain excess fluid from tissues.
There is no cure for Lymphoedema, but symptoms can be managed by techniques to minimise fluid build-up such as specialised massage, wearing compression garments, good skincare, and having a healthy lifestyle including regular exercise.
Stephen Mitchell has been a patient with our Lymphoedema team since March 2019. We asked Stephen to share some insight into his condition and how it affects him on a daily basis.
How long have you had lymphoedema?
I have had lymphoedema for 2 or 3 years now.
How do you manage your oedema on a daily basis?
I try to do as much movement as I possibly can each day.
What do you find helps most when managing your oedema?
I find having what I call PMA=Positive Mental Attitude helps the most!
What is the worst thing about having lymphoedema?
The worst thing about having lymphoedema is you can get blisters which, if not treated, turn into ulcers.
Has lockdown affected your oedema?
No, not really.
Have you still been able to go out?
Yes, except when it rains. As I have Type 2 diabetes I need to be able to go out.
Have you had to change the way you manage the oedema? For example, type of exercise?
My exercise has to be geared to my other medical problems.
What do you do to keep positive and relieve any stressors?
I find it helps to have a hobby that one likes to remain positive and relieve stressors, e.g. painting.
What advice would you give to newly diagnosed patients?
a) Go to your local Hospice at Home West Cumbria lymphoedema clinic for advice and support. For example, I had my feet and legs measured for special support stockings.
b) To go walking or continuous movement to keep the redness down. You should also have your feet up too (limited time) to get the benefit.
To find out more about Lymphoedema and the services we provide, please visit – https://bit.ly/3uqo9mJ
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