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Lymphedema Awareness Day March 6, 2022

Updated: Mar 2, 2023

Happy Lymphedema Awareness Day!

March 6, 2022, marks the 28th annual Lymphedema Awareness Day established by National Lymphedema Network (NLN) & 7th annual World Lymphedema Day established by the United States Senate in response to a bill written by the Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN). Each year, this day honors inspirational patients, exceptional caregivers, and individuals who have made remarkable contributions to improving the lives of those who suffer from lymphedema.

What is lymphedema?

Lymphedema is a chronic condition that develops when a body region becomes overloaded with protein rich lymphatic fluid and swelling occurs. This typically happens when vessels are damaged or malformed. Most often, lymphedema is the result of surgery and/or treatment for breast, prostate, gynecological cancers, or melanoma (secondary lymphedema) but people can also be born with Lymphedema (primary lymphedema). If the condition is left untreated, it leads to progressive tissue swelling over time, reduces healthy blood flow, interferes with wound healing and enables bacteria growth- all of which can lead to increased risk for tissue infection.

Lymphedema should not be confused with other types of edema resulting from venous insufficiency, cardiac conditions, kidney failure or other inflammatory processes – these are all systemic swelling conditions. Lymphedema occurs only in specific regions of the body, setting it apart from other types of edema.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Lymphedema, it can be managed with Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) by a Certified Lymphedema Therapist (CLT). CDT is the main treatment for lymphedema and is considered the “gold standard” of treatment. CDT consists of an initial reductive phase (Phase I) followed by a maintenance phase (Phase II). Components of CDT include:

  • Manual lymph drainage (MLD)

  • Multi-layer, short-stretch compression bandaging

  • Lymphatic exercise

  • Skin care and education in lymphedema self-management

  • Elastic compression garments.

Make sure to talk to your medical team if you have been diagnosed with Lymphedema and obtain a referral for evaluation and treatment by a CLT in your local area.

Below are a few ways you can search for a CLT in your local area:

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