Hospice at Home West Cumbria are raising awareness of Lymphoedema as part of the National Awareness Week.
Lymphoedema Awareness Week runs from March 6 – 10.
The charity is the sole provider of specialist lymphoedema services in west Cumbria, and delivers treatments in its Workington clinic, as well as in patient’s homes, nursing and residential homes and community and acute hospitals.
Its team of specialist nurses work collaboratively with other healthcare providers including GPs, NHS Clinical Nurse Specialists and Community Nursing teams.
Lymphoedema is a chronic condition where excess fluid is retained in bodily tissues causing swelling which can be painful and distressing for patients.
It mostly affects the arms and legs but can occur anywhere. There are estimated to be almost 450,000 people in the UK with lymphoedema. Causes can include infection, cancer and its associated treatments, trauma, Vascular Disease, reduced mobility and obesity.
Alana Phizacklea, Lymphoedema Nurse Specialist at Hospice at Home West Cumbria said: “It’s so important for us to make people aware of Lymphoedema as it is a condition that affects so many people, yet it goes undiagnosed.
“Whilst we can’t always fix the underlying cause of the swelling we can absolutely advise and provide the education needed to manage it effectively, so patients can go on leading normal lives.”
David Forsythe, one of Alana’s patients has been living with lymphoedema since the mid 90s when he was injured in a road accident.
He has an incredibly active lifestyle and regularly practices karate.
David says: “The lymphoedema has presented no barrier to my karate. Without the care of Hospice at Home lymphoedema specialists, the karate (and many other things) would have remained an unticked box on my bucket list.
“With their help, I sometimes forget I have the condition! There are still times that it swells up for no obvious reason and I still get cellulitis but on balance, the benefits I get from what I do far outweigh the risks (which are manageable).”
Every year in March, the British Lymphology Society encourage healthcare providers to raise awareness of the condition.
Throughout the awareness week, Hospice at Home West Cumbria will be sharing content focussing on activities and challenges you can get involved in, with the aim to educate and spread awareness.
Content will be shared across their social media channels and website including facts, patient stories and a series of simple exercises that everyone can try.
Hospice at Home West Cumbria need to raise over £1.2 million each year to deliver vital services which are provided free of charge to those who need them.
To find out more about Hospice at Home West Cumbria, visit their website at www.hospiceathomewestcumbria.org.uk