World Lymphedema Day Date in the current year: March 6, 2024

World Lymphedema Day World Lymphedema Day is observed annually on March 6. It was created to raise awareness of a health condition associated with a compromised lymphatic system.

Lymphedema, also known as lymphatic edema, is a chronic disease characterized by disfiguring soft tissue swelling (edema) in one or more parts of the body caused by a compromised lymphatic system. One of the tasks of the lymphatic system is returning the interstitial fluid black to the bloodstream; when the lymphatic system is compromised, the affected part of the body retains fluid, which leads to swelling.

Lymphedema can be primary or secondary. Primary lymphedema is hereditary; it is caused by lymphatic system abnormalities that are present at birth. Examples of genetic disorders involving lymphedema include Meige disease and Milroy’s disease. Secondary lymphedema can be caused by lymph node removal or damage to lymph nodes during surgery, other physical trauma, radiation therapy, or infection. It is a common complication of breast cancer treatment.

Due to associated disfigurement, lymphedema may cause psychological distress and body image issues. As it progresses, lymphedema may result skin changes such as discoloration and thickening. It also increases the affected body part’s vulnerability to infections because the lymphatic system is part of the immune system, and when it is compromised, it is harder for the body to detect and fight infection. If left untreated, lymphedema may cause complications such as skin ulcers, lymphangitis (inflammation of the lymphatic channels), or lymphadenitis (inflammation of the lymph nodes).

There is no cure for lymphedema. Treatment is usually conservative and includes compression therapy, manual lymphatic drainage, exercise, and good skin care to prevent inflammation and soften the skin. It should be noted that diuretics, which are sometimes used to deal with fluid retention, are not helpful. In some cases, surgery or low-level laser therapy may be used to reduce swelling.

World Lymphedema Day was established in 2016, when March 6 was unanimously designated by the United States Senate as World Lymphedema Day. It is coordinated by the Lymphatic Education & Research Network, an internationally recognized nonprofit organization focused on fighting lymphatic diseases (lymphedema, lipedema, lymphatic filariasis, lymphatic malformations, etc.) through advocacy, education, and research.

World Lymphedema Day aims to educate the general public about lymphedema and to promote research into lymphatic diseases. Every year, people affected by lymphedema (patients and their families), patient organizations, healthcare professionals, public health authorities, researchers, and other stakeholders organize and participate in lymphedema awareness events.

You can get involved with World Lymphedema Day by attending one of these events, organizing an event of your own to educate your community, holding a fundraiser, reaching out to your local government to ask for a landmark to be lit in teal, which is considered lymphedema awareness color, and spreading the word on social media with the hashtag #WorldLymphedemaDay.

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