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Identification and treatment of chronic oedema and lymphoedema

Linda Nazarko looks at how nurses can manage these increasingly prevalent conditions

The incidence of chronic oedema and lymphoedema rise with age. They affect around 4 people per 1,000 in the general population and around 29 people per 1,000 people aged 85 and over.4 Around 240,000 people in the UK are thought to have lymphoedema, this may be undiagnosed and untreated.5

As our population ages and people with lymphoedema and chronic oedema are living with multiple long-term conditions, rising levels of obesity and increasing frailty, management becomes more complex and challenging.6,7 Difficulties with diagnosis and complex care needs lead to many people not receiving optimal levels of care.8,9 Figure 1 shows rising numbers of older people in the UK.10

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