Celebrate World Lymphedema Day with Sigvaris
On March 6, 2020, people around the world will unite for World Lymphedema Day – a patient-driven initiative to make the cure for lymphedema and lymph-related illnesses a global health priority. Our mission is to support research, education and awareness events, and give hope to around 100 million individuals worldwide who are living with these chronic conditions.
Despite recent medical advancements that address lymphedema, knowledge about this condition is still lacking among the general population. But with awareness, education and advocacy, more patients and families will get the answers they need to combat this and related lymphatic illnesses.
Whether you’re living with lymphedema or just learning about it, we invite you to join patients, healthcare providers, hospitals, families and friends around the world as we spread awareness and celebrate the search for a cure.
Becoming an advocate starts with getting familiar with the following fast facts about lymphedema as well as ways you can be a part of this very important cause.
Lymphedema: Five fast facts you should know
- The term “lymphedema” comes from two words: lymph which is the fluid that circulates though a network in the body called the lymphatic system; and edema, which is the medical term for swelling. Simply put, lymphedema is the blockage of this fluid which can cause swelling in the arms, legs, body and fingers. Contrary to myth, it is not a form of cancer, but can be onset by cancer tumors and radiation treatment affecting the lymph nodes.
- Did you know lymphedema has two forms? Primary lymphedema is rare and is typically caused by the onset of puberty or pregnancy and can be congenital (occurring at birth). Secondary lymphedema happens as a result of trauma to the body including cancer treatment such as radiation. Surgery and infection affecting the lymph nodes have also been linked to the condition.
- There are four stages of lymphedema, ranging from heaviness in the limbs, to the extremities becoming significantly swollen and hardened (also called elephantiasis).
- Lymphedema is one of five major lymphatic diseases, including lymphatic filariasis, lymphatic malformations, the lymphatic continuum of diseases and lipedema (excess fat development).
- There is no cure for lymphedema. However, the condition can be managed with early detection, routine care, daily management and lifestyle changes.
Education about lymphedema is the first step to advocacy. Also important is to learn ways you can use your knowledge for good. Take your support to the next level and get involved in your community with these ideas:
Start by doing research. Look up helpful websites like the Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN), Mayo Clinic, and Cancer.gov. These sites have free printable materials and downloadable content to help you expand your knowledge about lymphatic conditions. Get the word out by sharing these resources with friends and family.
Attend a local support group gathering. Support groups are a great place to hear and share stories and better your own understanding as many families have been touched by lymphedema. Someone just may find the knowledge you’ve gained useful for their own fight. And simply being there to encourage others can be all a person needs to gain hope.
Join a World Lymphedema Day event (or start your own). Visit the LE&RN website (https://lymphaticnetwork.org/wld/) to find an event in your area. Or start your own gathering and register your event. Don’t forget to announce your event to friends and family on social media, and share with the local media, too!
Talk to your doctor about lymphedema. Your primary care provider can help you learn more about the condition and determine whether screening is right for you based on family history and existing medical conditions. If you are living with lymphedema, ask for advice about managing symptoms, learn which compression garments are best for you, and get insight on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle through treatment.
How SIGVARIS Gives Hope to People Living with Lymphedema
As an active advocate and supporter of lymphedema research, SIGVARIS is proud to celebrate World Lymphedema Day in its mission to encourage and educate patients who deserve answers about the disease.
“As an advocate for the millions living with lymphedema, our company seeks to put lymphedema research front and center on the global healthcare stage through our long-standing relationships with nonprofits, researchers and the medical community,” says Barbara Osborne, CEO and President of Sigvaris Group North America.
To learn more about World Lymphedema Day or to join or start your own event, visit https://lymphaticnetwork.org/wld/