We live in a world where health often takes there backseat until it’s too late, however International Vein Week aims to change this narrative by raising awareness for those battling venous-lymphatic diseases.

Spearheaded by the South African Lymphatic & Venous Society (SALVS) in collaboration with the venous-lymphatic World International Network (v-WIN), this not-for-profit initiative seeks to bring to the forefront the critical yet often overlooked condition of venous-lymphatic health.

Dr Vinesh Padayachy, a leading vascular surgeon who is at the forefront of this initiative has spoken about the significance, objectives, and the future of this vital health awareness campaign.

Dr Padayachy says the initiative’s primary aim is to enlighten the public and health care practitioners about the importance of proactive management of venous-lymphatic conditions.

“International Vein Week is a concerted effort to elevate awareness around these health issues, which affect a significant portion of the population but remain under- discussed,” says Dr. Padayachy .

The campaign, running from April 1st to 7th, aligns with the World Health Organization’s celebratory of World Health Day, marking a week dedicated to enhancing knowledge and understanding of venous-lymphatic diseases among the global community, including Deep Vein Thrombosis, Lipoedema, Lymphoedema, Spider Veins, Varicose Veins, and Venous Leg Ulcers, can severely impact an individual’s quality of life.

Dr Padayachy explained the importance of shedding light on these conditions.

When asked about how the public can support Vein Week, Dr. Padayachy encouraged participation in educational events, sharing information within networks, and advocating for venous-lymphatic health.

“Awareness is a powerful tool for change,” he remarked, underscoring the role of every individual in contributing to the campaign’s goals.

Dr Padayachy highlighted the importance of staying informed about the latest treatments and strategies.

“Healthcare practitioners can empower individuals to take an active role in their health management, improving the overall patient care experience,” he says.

The global network of clinical experts involved in Vein Week allows for the sharing of insights and best practices, advancing the collective understanding and treatment of venous-lymphatic diseases and one of the most significant challenges facing individuals with venous-lymphatic conditions is the psychosocial impact.

Dr. Padayachy shared his insights and concerns, particularly emphasising the plight of those suffering from conditions like lymphedema, which lacks a definitive cure and requires ongoing management.

“Unlike many venous diseases where treatment can lead to a resolution, lymphedema presents a continuous battle due to its incurable nature. This disease is characterised by the swelling of limbs, caused by the accumulation of lymph fluid due to obstructed lymph nodes. It’s a condition that doesn’t just affect the body physically but engulfs the patient in a whirlwind of psychological challenges as well”

He continued, “The management of lymphedema, primarily through compression therapy and lymphatic massage, offers some relief but falls short of providing a cure. This reality often leaves patients feeling hopeless and frustrated—a sentiment that is unfortunately all too common among those we treat.”

“Lymphedema not only affects mobility but also significantly limits an individual’s ability to perform daily tasks. The pain and reduced mobility, especially during severe fluid buildup, often necessitate time off work, impacting patients’ financial stability and professional lives.”

The psychological toll of lymphedema was particularly concerning, Dr Padayachy said.

Dr Padayachy also touched on recent advancements in the treatment and management of venous-lymphatic diseases.

Exciting developments were shared, including minimally invasive surgical options, improved compression therapies, and better diagnostic tools. These advancements offer hope for more effective management and potentially better quality of life for patients.

The Dr advised maintaining a healthy lifestyle, staying active, and for those at higher risk, wearing compression garments and undergoing regular check-ups for early detection and prevention.

Looking to the future, the Dr is optimistic about the role of initiatives like Vein Week in the ongoing battle against venous-lymphatic diseases. He envisions a future where venous-lymphatic health is part of regular health discussions, leading to better patient outcomes and reduced incidence of these diseases.