Posted: Mon 10th Jun 2024

Betsi Cadwaladr: “Leg Matters Week” aims to combat lower limb venous diseases

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

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A leading vascular nurse in north Wales is spearheading a crucial campaign to raise awareness about lower leg venous diseases among both healthcare staff and patients.

Clare Kendrick, the vascular ward manager at Glan Clwyd Hospital, is at the forefront of “Leg Matters,” a national awareness week, running between 10th and 14th June.

The awareness week is dedicated to highlighting the importance of early diagnosis and management of circulatory conditions affecting the lower limbs.

Untreated venous diseases can lead to severe complications, including leg ulcers that refuse to heal, lower limb amputations, or even worse outcomes.

With people living longer and the prevalence of obesity and diabetes on the rise, the issue is becoming increasingly urgent. Additionally, smoking, unhealthy diets, and alcohol consumption are contributing factors that exacerbate venous diseases.

Clare emphasises the importance of recognising early signs of venous disease, such as spider veins, varicose veins, and leg oedema.

She points out that early treatment can prevent the progression of these conditions, which, if left unchecked, can lead to significant skin changes and painful ulcers.

“It really matters to us,” Clare stated. “We get some patients arriving too late when they have a problem. If people were more aware of how to deal with issues earlier, they may not lose limbs and may not lose their quality of life.”

To further support this initiative, Clare is organising additional training for her team on lower limb care and specialised wound dressing.

The campaign also includes educating the public about intermittent claudication pain, a symptom of peripheral artery disease characterised by painful aches in the legs during walking, which subsides after resting.

An information stand will be set up at Glan Clwyd Hospital as part of the “Leg Matters” week, providing resources and advice on preventing and managing venous diseases.

Clare and her team aim to make the community more aware of the early signs of these conditions to facilitate prompt and effective treatment.

“Many people come to us when they have a big problem, but there are usually many signs before it gets to a critical point,” Clare added. “We want to make people aware of what they are, as early intervention is vital. Prevention, by people changing their lifestyles where possible, is even better.”

The awareness week will also feature training sessions for nurses on compression bandaging and access to additional courses on lower limb care.

For more information on “Leg Matters” week and how to recognise the signs of venous diseases, visit the Legs Matter website.

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