lunes, 11 de marzo de 2024

WORLD ELEPHANTIASIS DAY 2024 – MARCH 12 - Lymphostatic Elephantiasis - Lymphatic Filariasis & Podoconiosis - Pediatric & Primary Lymphoedema - Secondary Lymphoedema - Organic Lymphatic Vascular Disease - Dermatolymphangioadenitis (Tnfectious Cellulitis) - Awareness Day Campaign



March is recognized worldwide, as the month to highlight lymphedema, its most severe late-stage is known as “elephantiasisThe Elephantiasis Stage is not only located in poor developing countries but also can be found in European and high-tech Western nations. The medical term elephantiasis is used to identify a part of the body, which has undergone progressive deformity and trophic skin changes as a result of chronic lymphatic dysfunction. Throughout the world, the lack of treatment or under-treatment of lymphedema makes the elephantiasis stage a condition that is still present today.

Lymphatic dysfunction (
Organic Lymphatic Vascular Disease
) is not a rare disease but a major public health problem, and it is necessary to sensitize governments and international health organizations, that access to treatment for lymphedema and lymphatic diseases should be a global priority. Up to 10 million Americans may be affected by lymphoedema, and it's estimated that over 250 million people worldwide suffer from the disease, creating pain, swelling, disability, and suffering for patients of all ages, including children. The only way to avoid elephantiasis (Stage III Lymphedema) is to provide early compression therapy and compression garments necessary for lymphatic disorders. Read more about why the world is not treating a treatable disease like elephantiasis HERE.

Lymphatic Elephantiasis is one of the world's most disfiguring, disabling, and life-threatening conditions, and is nearly always the result of non-treatment or undertreatment of lymphedema. There is a safe and effective treatment for lymphatic dysfunction, which helps to retain and maintain the progression of the disease towards its severe late stages. The best treatment for lymphedema is COMPLETE DECONGESTIVE THERAPY (CDT), which is considered the “Gold Standard” conservative treatment. This specialized treatment consists of Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) and multi-layered bandage wrapping conducted by specialized lymphedema therapists, as well as other components such as skin care, diet, and exercises. 

The conservative treatment is indicated for all edema stages including Stage III, and as a preventive treatment that will avoid the initial progression toward the elephantiasis stage. Radical reductive ablative surgery, aimed to remove subcutaneous tissue, should always be the last option, for it is associated with possible significant blood loss, morbidity, infections, permanent disfigurement, and recurrence of symptoms.

Apart from the patient daily basic self-care needed, consisting of washing limbs and skin moisturizing, they also need to wear compression garments (orthotic devices) throughout the day. Without compression garments, it is impossible to retain the progression of lymphatic edema

The daily use of standard bandages is not practical, for they tend to loosen and slip off when undertaking work that requires continuous physical activity, and likewise, soiled bandages can also be an important source of infection. Wearable compression garments (orthotic devices) are the best means by which a person can carry out their daily activities. Basic self-care alone without compression is not enough by itself to control the disease, and will not stop the progression towards the elephantiasis stage. Read more about the best treatment for elephantiasis HERE

The elephantiasis stage is a treatable condition, but it will never be eradicated from the world as long as there is non-treatment or under-treatment of lymphatic dysfunction (Organic Lymphatic Vascular Disease). International awareness campaigns are needed for access to compression therapy and compression garments (orthotic devices) for patients diagnosed with chronic lymphedema, many of them children, since this is the only possible way to stop the progression of the disease. 

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