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Airedale Hospital team ready to help lymphoedema sufferers
A medical team is backing a national campaign highlighting how to cope with a chronic condition which can cause serious swelling to the legs and arms.
Their event coincides with British Lymphology Society Awareness Week from September 16 to 23.
Pat Gardner, lead lymphoedema nurse at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Raising awareness of lymphoedema is vital as some people can suffer for years before being referred for help and diagnosed.
“Delays in treatment often have a detrimental physical and psychological effect on patients causing them unnecessary pain, discomfort, anxiety and depression. This also results in an increased cost for the NHS due to unnecessary hospital admissions as people with heavy limbs have a greater risk of falls and recurrent cellulitis.”
Lymphoedema, or chronic oedema, is a long-term progressive condition resulting in swelling in any part of the body but it is most commonly seen in the arms or legs.
It is usually caused by failure of the lymphatic system and can be hereditary. It can be triggered by pregnancy, trauma, surgery or cancer treatment and is becoming more common due to the rising number of older and obese people.
For some people it can be very distressing, especially if it restricts their mobility, but it can be controlled if detected early. Patients are taught how to manage their own condition and treatment includes skin care hygiene to reduce the risk of infection; exercise to propel lymph fluid and improve mobility; compression and massage to enhance drainage.
The lymphoedema service is run by a team of six people with weekly clinics at Westbourne Green Health Centre and Undercliffe Health Centre in Bradford and Canalside Health Centre in Bingley and a monthly clinic at Coronation Hospital in Ilkley.
The awareness event, on Wednesday, September 18, is from 10.30am to 3pm, at The Great Victoria Hotel, Bradford. Contact the team on (01535) 292712 between 8.30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.