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Craig Hood

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Craig Hood is the Founder of Allegro Medical. Craig worked as a caregiver for adults with developmental disabilities in Tucson, Arizona and later, as a rehabilitation specialist caring for individuals recovering from strokes and traumatic brain injury in Scottsdale, Arizona. After getting his business degree from Arizona State University, Craig worked in the high tech industry for several years before starting Allegro Medical. Drawing on his experience as a caregiver, Craig realized how important medical products and supplies were in the treatment of post-acute care conditions. At the time, the products to help his patients were not always readily available to professionals and family members. His experience gave him the idea that there should be a better way to shop for medical supplies, and health and wellness products. In 1997, Craig launched AllegroMedical.com as the nation's first online supplier of medical supplies, incontinence products, wound care supplies, daily living aids, orthopedic products, wheelchairs and so much more. The first AllegroMedical.com website had only 500 products. Today AllegroMedical.com offers over 30,000 items and unique ways of shopping including, shopping by condition and shopping by body part. Allegro Medical is America's first and largest online medical supply superstore.

A new feature to the AllegroMedical.com website just made shopping with us a little easier. If you are not ready to complete your order, or decide to wait to purchase an item in your shopping cart, simply click the “Save for Later” link under the item. With our new Save for Later feature, you can now choose to move an item from your shopping cart and save it to be purchased the next time your return. The item will show up in your Saved for Later section of the shopping cart making purchasing it next time you visit a snap.

I was recently asked to write an article for our friends at the Long Term Living Magazine on the topic of patient care and exercise for mobility challenged patients. It’s an interesting topic and something that deserves focus. Exercise remains a critical component of our lives, no matter what our age or capability. Most all of us are capable of doing some sort of exercise and just might need to think creatively to find the right solution for more challenging cases. Below is the article that was published in the Long Term Living Magazine 5/29/2014. Please enjoy!

Long-term care (LTC) residents who rely on wheelchairs for mobility run a greater risk of diminished mental
acuity and depression, as well as complicated health issues, including Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure
and coronary heart disease. Pressure sores may develop on those who are confined to a wheelchair, and
excess weight gained from a sedentary life adds strain on the joints of the musculoskeletal system,
contributing to osteoarthritis.

A Journal of the American Geriatric Society study shows that inactive women at age 65 have a life expectancy of 12.7 years, whereas active, nonsmoking women at 65 have a life expectancy of 18.4 years. Other studies have shown that strength training was as effective as medication in reducing depression in older adults.
For residents in wheelchairs, physical exercise is essential for increasing blood circulation, spine stability, posture and
flexibility. Exercise generates endorphins, body awareness and muscle strength while relieving stress and enhancing self esteem for a healthier and happier life. What’s more, exercise improves a resident’s ability to achieve a deeper and more restful sleep, which is essential for preserving emotional and physical health.

For some residents, medical conditions may exclude certain chair exercises. Also, for those just starting exercise regimens, it is imperative that each person discusses his or her individual exercise plan with a physician, who can offer some suggestions or prohibit chair exercises that may be either too strenuous or too likely to aggravate an existing medical condition.

HELPING LTC RESIDENTS HELP THEMSELVES
Regardless of the resident’s age, physical condition or whether he or she ever has exercised in the past, several techniques can help a resident overcome his or her mobility issues. Be sure to consult with a physician to determine what exercises are appropriate for each resident. Any type of exercise will benefit a person’s health but, in general, clinicians should aim to incorporate these important types of exercise into the wheelchair user’s routine:

Basic leg crosses. Leg crosses are good options for seniors who have at least mid-range leg strength. The goal is to simply get the muscles working.

  • Have the patient carefully kick his or her leg out.
  • Have the person cross the legs and then alternate.
  • Repeat this task a number of times.
  • Finish up the exercises with ankle circles.

Cardiovascular. A series of seated, repetitive movements will raise the resident’s heart rate and help to burn calories.

  • Wrap a lightweight resistance band under the wheelchair and have the resident perform resistance exercises, such as chest presses, for a count of one second up and two seconds down. Have him or her try several different exercises to start, with 20 to 30 reps per exercise, and gradually increase the number of exercises, reps and total workout time as endurance improves.
  • Have the resident punch the air with or without hand weights.

Strength training. If the resident has limited mobility in his or her legs, focus on building upper body strength.

  • Have the individual sit straight up in the wheelchair and lift up both arms toward the ceiling, and then slowly move them back down. Alternate the movement by lifting up one arm while the other is stretched out toward the ground, similar to picking apples off a tree. Repeat these movements eight times.
  • Have him or her perform exercises such as shoulder presses, bicep curls and triceps extensions using light weights. Aim for two to three sets of 8 to 12 repetitions for each exercise, adding weight and more exercises as strength improves.
  • Resistance bands can be attached to furniture, a doorknob or the wheelchair. They can be used for pull-downs,shoulder rotations and arm and leg-extensions.

Flexibility. Flexibility is important for enhancing range of motion, preventing injury and reducing pain and stiffness. Even with limited mobility in the legs, a resident still can benefit from stretches and flexibility exercises to prevent or delay further muscle atrophy.

  • Stretching can be performed by having the resident use the floor or his or her body weight to provide resistance to the muscle group being stretched. An occupational therapist should be on hand to help target musclesand joints by helping the person stretch beyond his or her usual range of motion.

Chair Chi. This exercise program is based on the principals of Tai Chi and Qi Gong but designed for residents in LTC
environments. Chair Chi requires no special equipment but can be used to help people receive the benefits of traditional Tai

Chi and Qi Gong.
Most movement in Chair Chi begins and ends with the muscles and back, and can include any number of poses. Motion
remains mostly slow—the slower, the better the results. Working against gravity, the body weight provides resistance as
great as some weight-bearing activities and, according to the Mayo Clinic, Chair Chi is a zero-impact exercise.
Yoga. Most yoga poses can be modified or adapted depending on the resident’s physical condition, weight, age, medical
condition and any injury or disability. Wheelchair yoga is an exceptional option for residents with chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease or multiple sclerosis.
Exercising is equally important for wheelchair users as it is for able-bodied LTC residents, and perhaps even more important given their susceptibility to other conditions. Despite the mobility restrictions wheelchair users face, wheelchair exercise can be a rewarding way of maintaining good health and mental ability. As a group activity, exercise for wheelchair users also can serve as a fun social activity that can be integrated into a daily and weekly schedule.
Getting wheelchair users on a consistent exercise routine tailored to their needs and abilities will help them attain better flexibility and range of motion, greater strength and energy, relief from pain and increased tranquility. It can also help improve breathing capacity for residents with asthma and emphysema, while burning fat and calories, lowering cholesterol and helping to alleviate symptoms of osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, fibro/polymyalgia and neuropathy.

wheelchair exercise for the elderly

Nursing home residents are physically frail, and possibly approaching the end of their lives. So what’s the point of exercise, especially for someone in a wheelchair?  Too often, I believe, professionals and staff in long-term care environments accept this defeatist attitude.

Unfortunately, this then passes on to the resident and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: Long-term care residents in wheelchairs avoid exercise and decline further.

Lack of activity leads to joint degeneration, heart problems, stroke, congestive heart failure, diabetes, and a range of other chronic medical conditions including blood clots and painful, persistent pressure sores.

On the other hand, study after study lately has shown that exercise, even by frail elders, improves cardiovascular health, cognition, and overall quality of life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that exercise benefits people with arthritis by reducing pain, delaying disability, and improving mobility, function, and mood. Other studies have shown that strength training was as effective as medication in reducing depression in older adults. It can help improve breathing for residents with asthma and emphysema, while burning fat and calories, lowering cholesterol, and helping to alleviate symptoms of osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, fibro/polymyalgia, and neuropathy.

 

Obviously, nursing home residents in wheelchairs are as prone as anyone to sedentary living. One of the most common consequences of using a wheelchair is weight gain, resulting from a more sedentary lifestyle. Yet even for this population, physical exercise is essential for increasing blood circulation, spine stability, posture, and flexibility.

Exercise generates endorphins, body awareness, and muscle strength, while relieving stress and enhancing self-esteem. What’s more, exercise improves a patient’s ability to achieve a deeper and more restful sleep, which is essential for preserving emotional and physical health.

For some residents, medical conditions may exclude certain chair exercises. Also, for those just starting out their exercise regimens, it is imperative to discuss any exercise plan with a physician. Yet in my years as a rehabilitation specialist caring for individuals recovering from strokes and traumatic brain injury, and now as a supplier of wheelchairs to people needing them, I have concluded that, regardless of the resident’s age, physical condition, or whether or not the person exercised in the past, there are a number of techniques for helping a chair-bound individual overcome mobility issues.

Exercises for Wheelchair Users

Any type of exercise will benefit wheelchair-bound residents’ health, but in general, clinicians should aim to incorporate these important types of exercise into their routines:

Basic Leg Crosses — These are good options for seniors who have at least mid-range leg strength. The goal is to simply get the muscles working.

  • Have the patient carefully kick one leg out, cross the legs, and then alternate. Repeat this task a number of times. Finish up the exercises with ankle circles.

Cardiovascular – A series of seated repetitive movements will raise the patient’s heart rate and help the person burn calories.

  • Wrap a lightweight resistance band under the wheel chair and have the resident perform resistance exercises, such as chest presses, for a count of one second up and two seconds down. Have the person try several different exercises to start, with 20 to 30 reps per exercise, and gradually increase the number of exercises, reps, and total workout time as endurance improves.
  • Have the wheelchair bound resident punch the air with or without hand weights.

Strength Training – If the resident has limited mobility in his or her legs, focus on building upper body strength.

  • Have the person sit straight in the wheelchair and lift both arms toward the ceiling and then slowly bring them back down. Have them alternate the movement by lifting up one arm while the other is stretched out toward the ground, similar to picking apples off a tree. Repeat these movements 8 times each.
  • Have the person do shoulder presses, bicep curls, and triceps extensions using light weights. Aim for 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions for each exercise, adding weight and more exercises as strength improves.
  • Instead of weights, resistance bands can be attached to furniture, a doorknob, or the wheelchair. They can be used for pull-downs, shoulder rotations, and arm and leg-extensions.

Flexibility is important for enhancing range of motion, preventing injury, and reducing pain and stiffness. Even with limited mobility in the legs, a resident can delay further muscle atrophy by stretching. Stretching can be performed by having the resident use the floor or their body weight to provide resistance to the muscle group being stretched. An occupational therapist should be on hand to help them target muscles and joints and to stretch beyond their usual range of motion.

 

  • Chair Chi is an exercise program based on the principals of Tai Chi and Qi Gong, tailored to people in long-term care environments. Requiring no special equipment, the movements are circular and never forced; the muscles are relaxed rather than tensed; and the joints are not fully extended or bent. Motion remains mostly slow – the slower, the better. Working against the body’s weight provides resistance as great as some weight lifting, with zero impact.

 

  • Yoga poses can be modified or adapted to the resident’s physical condition, weight, age, medical condition, and any injury or disability. Wheelchair yoga is an exceptional option for residents with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or multiple sclerosis.

 

Exercising is just as important, and perhaps even more important, for wheelchair users as for able-bodied long-term care residents. Despite mobility restrictions, wheelchair users can find exercise a rewarding way of maintaining good health and mental ability. As a group activity, wheelchair exercise also can serve as a social activity in the weekly schedule.

 

Better flexibility and range of motion, greater strength and energy, improved breathing capacity, relief from pain, increased tranquility—who would want to deny any of that to a person just because he or she is sitting in a wheelchair?

 

About the Author

Craig Hood is executive vice president of Allegro Medical, a supplier of home medical supplies and equipment. He has worked as a rehabilitation specialist caring for individuals recovering from strokes and traumatic brain injury. He formed Allegro Medical to supply products for post-acute care and the treatment of chronic conditions.

“Help is at hand” was the title to the recent New York Post article that featured a number of AllegroMedical.com’s innovative home medical products that make life easier for those with limited mobility. In my interview with the newspaper, I was challenged to highlight a handful of products that have dramatically enhanced the lives of people living with disabilities of physical challenges. Considering that we offer over 37,000 products on our website, and add thousands of new products each year, choosing the top 10 was not easy.

 

Our picks for the New York Post segment all stand out to me in 2 key ways:

1)   Improvement of mobility

2)   Increased Independence

Better mobility and enhanced independence leads to improved quality of life. In some of these products the genius seems so simple.  These great products make so much sense, that when you look at them, you can’t help but say, “ I wish I thought of that!”

Take a look at the items we highlighted as most helpful for the New York Post and visit www.AllegroMedical.com to find countless other innovative health care products.

Product #1)

The Maddak Sliding Rotating Transfer Bench –

A design possibly inspired by Disneyland’s Tea Cups ride, this transfer bench allows the user to glide the expanse across the bathtub edge and then easily rotate into a comfortable position for showering. Also notable, this product manufactured by Maddak is made in the USA.

Product #2)

The UpEasy Seat Assist –

This product is the equivalent of having a friend in your living room to lend a hand whenever the need arises to get up from your favorite chair. A set of pistons store the energy captured when sitting down on the padded seat cushion. When it’s time to get up, the struts provide a boost to the seat helping you reach a standing position.

Product #3)

The Luggie FreeRider Portable Mobility Scooter –

Like something out of a James Bond movie, this micro mobility scooter folds down into its own suite case, not much bigger than airplane carry-on bag. If 007 were ever issued a mobility scooter it would have to be the Luggie FreeRider.

Product #4)

The Inogen One G3 Portable Oxygen Concentrator –

Oxygen concentrators produce an endless supply of O2 for patients at home but are tethered to an electrical outlet. Portable oxygen tanks offer users mobility but only until the tanks run dry. The Inogen One G3 is the best of both worlds. It is a back pack sized oxygen concentrator that can continuously produce O2 for patients for up to 9 hours on a single charge of its double pack. If required, the unit can also be plugged into a car power source or standard wall outlet and run indefinitely.

Product #5)

The SimpliciKey Electronic Door Lock –

Loss of dexterity from age, arthritis or other conditions can make something as simple as turning the deadbolt lock on your front door a challenge. The SimpliciKey is a motorized deadbolt lock that can be operated by a remote pendant with just 2 buttons; open and close.

Product #6)

Michael Graves Suction Cup Grab Bars –

These grab bars install without tools and provide a sturdy hand-hold in any bathroom shower. The innovative design allows the grab bars to be positioned in any number of ways to ensure safe entry and exit from the bath or shower. The design also incorporates a sensor mechanism that indicates the strength of the suction. If it does not have a good grip on the surface, it tells you.

Product #7)

ABENA Abri Premium Adult Briefs –

The European company ABENA is making fast inroads into the US with their line of ultra-comfortable adult incontinence briefs. Made from Air Plus, their patented soft material, the Abri adult briefs are more comfortable than the standard adult pull-ups on the market. With the addition of stronger elastic in the waist and crotch, and layers of moisture trapping fabric, the Abri has more capacity than other products in the same class. From a recent survey of incontinence users done by Allegro Medical, we found that comfort was the biggest consideration when buying incontinence products followed closely by capacity. The Abri Premium Adult Briefs score high in both categories.

Product #8)

iHealth Wireless Arm Blood Pressure Monitor –

Monitoring your personal health is getting easier with the introduction of wireless health monitors by iHealth. This blood pressure monitor transmits information directly to your mobile device, allowing you to measure and track your systolic/diastolic numbers, heart rate, pulse wave, and measurement time.

Product #9)

iHealth Wireless Pulse Oximeter –

Like the iHealth blood pressure monitor, this Pulse Oximeter transmits vital information wirelessly to your mobile device, reporting on oxygen saturation levels and pulse rate. Part of a family of 3 innovative wireless health monitors, the pulse oximeter makes it easy and quick to get readings and then email results to physicians and caregivers.

Product #10)

iHealth Wireless Activity and Sleep Tracker –

Wearable activity monitors are becoming more widely used and the iHealth Wireless Activity monitor is one of the latest to hit the market. It tracks walking, running, distance traveled and calories burned. It also tracks your sleep efficiency, or how restful you slumber, which has a direct impact on health.
Wireless technology in health devices and mobile apps will continue to emerge in 2014. Don’t be surprised if these products begin communicating with each other, creating an even smarter interconnected view of our total health picture.

Tired of freezing your buns off at the bus stop? Sick of shivering your way through Wintertime? You’re not alone. Today we’re looking at must-have products to survive the chilly times in warmth and comfort. With any of these products, you can enjoy the frostiest outdoor adventures and stay warm and toasty too.

GSeat Ultra Portable Gel Seat Cushion GSeat Ultra Portable Gel Seat Cushion
Add some cushion for your tush with this great portable Gel Seat Cushion that adds just enough insulation and comfort to soften the hardest stadium seat. Only 3.5lbs. and just 2 inches think. Use it indoors or out, at church, your car a concert or camping.
Allegro has everything from wheelchair cushions, travel cushions to hunting cushions and Kayak Cushions. See all
 
Cold Condition Glove
Designed to protect your hands from cold weather but allow for a high level of dexterity, these multi-purpose cold weather gloves are a must-have for your glove box, tool box or back pack. Use them for clearing snow, changing a tire, or keeping your hands warm at the stadium. Wicking material wicks away perspiration. Breathable, but resists water and oil. Non-slip reinforcements on palm and fingers for enhanced grip and abrasion-resistance. Neoprene at the cuff and knuckle. Machine washable.
 
Grabber Foot Warmers – 30 Day Supply
Say goodbye to frigid feet with this 30 day supply of tootsie toasters by Grabber. These foot warmer inserts slide into your shoes and provide 5 hours of soothing warmth. Great for the ski slopes, arthritis or working outside in the cold.
 
Spa-N-A-Box Portable Spa
Nothing warms you better than a nice relaxing spa. Own your own bubbling, whirling spa at a fraction of the cost of a traditional hot tub. Put it together in less time than it takes to whip up a batch of margaritas and without tools to boot. Plugs into a regular household outlet. Seats 4 to 5 people. Great gift for the family. Use it indoors or outdoors, on your patio or deck, in your condo or apartment, lakehouse, cabin or boat!
 
Bed Buddy Foot Warmers with Aromatherapy –
Microwave the reusable scent pack for a minute and put them back in the fleece fabric boots for an hour of moist heat and warm feet! The lightly fragranced pack emit soothing scents of clove, cinnamon and eucalyptus. For cold hands, add the Bed Buddy Hand Warmers or get everything, including the sinus pack in the Bed Buddy Heat Therapy Kit.
 
NatraCure Heat Therapy Mittens
A great solution for relief from arthritis, ache stiff, hands or treatment of RSIs. One size fits most. Washable and reusable. Lightly scented. Disperses moisturizing mineral oils and Vitamin E to hydrate and nourish your skin. Choose your favorite aroma or use unscented. Microwave for 25 to 30 seconds to warm. Use up to 3 times daily.
 
Bed Warmer
Use the Bed Warmer anywhere you want to warm your bed. Placed at the bottom of the bed under the sheets, the Battle Creek Bed Warmer warms your legs and feet rather than the whole bed. Or, position warmth exactly where it feels best! Costs less to operate than an electric blanket.
 
Arthritis Gloves
Soft, breathable cotton lycra will make you want to wear these gloves day and night. The mild compression and warmth helps increase circulation and promote healing of arthritic, achy, painful, stiff hands. Great for working around the house, on the computer or in the garden to keep your hands warm but your fingers free to feel, touch and grip. The open fingers make it possible to use your tablet and smartphone without taking them off. The gripping dots ensure that hot cup of coco doesn’t slip away.
 
Toasty Toes Personal Heater
At home or in the office, the Toasty Toes Personal Heater – Deluxe Ergonomic Footrest keeps feet warm, happy and comfortable. This “deluxe” footrest is thermostatically controlled to heat your feet and legs to the perfect temperature. Use in the office, study, basement, garage, porch, or craft room. Works seated or standing as the footrest fold flat. Versatile, three position design works the way you do. The 6 foot cord plugs into any 110v outlet and this must-have foot warmer uses less electricity than a lightbulb.
See all Cozy Heater Products
 
Indoor or Outdoor Relief from Cold
Grabber Peel-n-Stick Adhesive Body Warmers – Standard equipment for anyone who enjoys outdoor winter time activities. Widely used for soothing cold, sore joints and muscles as a result of Arthritis, Raynaud’s, Lupus, Scleroderma, Fibromyalgia or just poor circulation. 40 portable heating pads per box, one time use, disposable. Warms for 12+ hours. For cold feet and cold hands, use Grabber’s Foot Warmers and Grabber’s Hand Warmers. Get a case and divide them up for stocking stuffers or gifts for your team members and friends.
 

Visit us at www.AllegroMedical.com to learn more about these and other great cold weather relief products.

For more than 15 years, AllegroMedical.com has been the leading online distributor of home health and wellness products. Rely on Allegro Medical for all of your diabetic supplies and other health needs.

It seems that little has changed in the treatment of spinal cord injuries over the last decade. Hope of one day regaining the use of paralyzed limbs rests on the future development of medical technology break-throughs, but where are they?

First, let’s understand that a spinal cord injury (SCI) occurs when the pathway between the brain and limbs and muscles is interrupted. Without the ability to transmit signals, messages to the legs fall silent, and muscles wait idly for instructions that never arrive.

Renowned SCI research centers, Louisville’s Kentucky Spinal Cord Research Center and Denver Colorado’s Craig Hospital have been experimenting with a revolutionary approach to treating SCI. Calling it “locomotor training,” injured parts of the body are retrained using electrodes, delivering muscle stimulation while the patient is rigged inside a high-tech exoskeleton that helps structure the patient’s movement.

The thought that a human can walk without the input from the brain seems like science fiction. After all, the brain sends signals through spinal cord, so if the damaged spinal cord cannot relay the signals to the limbs, how can walking occur? In 1911, scientist Graham-Brown theorized that the mammalian spinal cord was capable of generating rhythmic motor patterns independently of the brains input. More recent work done in 2008 by Sten Grillner discovered what he called central pattern generators or (CPGs). CPGs are in essence imbedded circuits in the spine that, when triggered, are able to generate walking patterns without input from the brain. (1) This work has become the foundation behind locomotive training. However, triggering the responses and getting legs to move is just one piece of the puzzle. Walking involves numerous sensory inputs and responses that the uninjured blissfully take for granted. Researchers and practitioners are undaunted by the complexity and challenges.

“There’s new knowledge that can attack the results of paralysis and is also leading us down the path of ultimately reaching that cure,” said Susan Harkema, a Ph.D. researcher at University of Louisville’s Kentucky Spinal Cord Research Center in an interview with the Denver Post last month. The aim of Harkema and other’s using locomotor training is not to provide a cure for SCI but to restore movement in patients who would otherwise remain paralyzed.(1) Denver Colorado, SCI survivor, James Nall’s treatment with locomotor therapy, is being chronicled by the Denver Post. Their series, titled “Stepping Toward Hope” follows Nall through the arduous effort to retrain his body to operate without the typical signals from the brain.(2)

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, is working with Craig Hospital in Denver and others to advance the work and science of locomotor training. According to Craig Hospital Research Director, Susan Howley, the results so far represent a “potentially phenomenal breakthrough.” Howley, like many experts researching SCI, tempers her optimism and says, “The field is enormously rich in possibilities, but sometimes it seems every time we have a new nugget of information, it reveals how much we still don’t know.”

The locomotor training work being done might seem like science fiction. But even science fiction may not convey the complexity and intricacy of the spinal cord and it’s role in the task of walking. Regardless of the challenges, more work needs to be done to understand and heal damage to this most central component of our bodies.

For more than 15 years, AllegroMedical.com has been the leading online provider of medical supplies and equipment to wheelchair users. Rely on Allegro Medical for catheters, wound care supplies, wheelchair accessories, cushions, backs, tires, ramps and more.

(1) Dietz V, Grillner S, Trepp A, Hubli M, Bolliger M: Changes in spinal reflex and locomotor activity after a complete spinal cord injury: a common mechanism? Brain 2009, 132(8):2196-2205.

(2) The Denver Post – Therapy for spinal-cord injuries helping Coloradans regain mobility http://www.denverpost.com/paralysis/ci_24381471/will-i-walk-again#ixzz2kNRgBKU4

diabetic testing

Over 18 million people in the US have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Affecting over 6% of Americans, diabetes is one of the most prevalent medical conditions the US. Many people don’t even realize that they have diabetes. The initial symptoms are fairly mild, so roughly 30% of the people with diabetes are not even aware of it.(1)

With so many unaware that they have diabetes, what are the early warning signs? Frequent urination, dizziness or fatigue may be early signs of diabetes. Anyone with these symptoms may want see a doctor for additional testing. The sooner that diabetes is diagnosed, the better the outcome, treatment, and management of the condition. If you are fortunate to have caught diabetes early, you can make some lifestyle changes that can help to treat it. Although there is no cure, diabetes can be managed effectively.

One of the best things that you can do to prevent Type 2 diabetes is to start exercising on a regular basis. Exercise will build and strengthen muscles, including the heart.(2) It will lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune and respiratory systems, it will ease stress and fatigue, and will just make you feel much better in general. Remember that the mind and the body are directly connected, so taking care of both is essential. Exercise will also help people with diabetes to improve the way that their body uses blood glucose and insulin.

A poor diet can often contribute to the root cause of diabetes. Reducing the amount of junk food that you eat and making sure to eat fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats on a regular basis will help greatly. Staying hydrated is another essential step that is overlooked far too often. You may also want to consider taking various vitamins and supplements.(3) Before going on a supplement regimen, make sure that you speak to your doctor so that you can be sure that it will be beneficial.

It is important that people with diabetes are vigilant with their dental care procedures. The high levels of sugar in the mouth can make people with diabetes much more susceptible to periodontal disease, as well as other oral issues.(4) Regular brushing and flossing is crucial, as is bi-yearly visits to the dentist for checkups and maintenance. Diabetes is also the leading cause of blindness, so be sure to visit an ophthalmologist at least once a year.(5)
Like many medical conditions, stress may make it worse.(6) Reducing stress will go a long way in helping you to cope mentally and physically. Take time out of your day to just relax or do an activity that you enjoy. Massage therapy is one great way to reduce stress, while also helping to improve overall health.

For more than 15 years, AllegroMedical.com has been the leading online distributor of home health and wellness products. Rely on Allegro Medical for all of your diabetic supplies and other health needs.

(1) – http://www.pamf.org/diabetes/whatis/
(2) – http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/specialtopic/physical-activity/exercise’s-effects-on-the-heart.html

(3) – http://www.joslin.org/info/Vitamin-Supplements-for-People-with-Diabetes.html

(4) – http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/home-remedies/home-remedies-for-diabetes1.htm

(5) – http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2012-11-28/health/bs-hs-expert-grodin-20121128_1_diabetic-retinopathy-eye-pressure-glaucoma

(6) – http://www.heartmath.com/news/stress-can-exacerbate-effects-of-diabetes.html

Civil War Era Medical Supplies

There is no way to predict what may happen to a person’s health. Many medical conditions can be debilitating, making it difficult to be able to do everyday tasks that were once simple. Just aging naturally will present many new challenges. It is common for many with medical issues not to realize the number products and solutions that can improve quality life, increase independence and mobility. For example, someone who has arthritis may find it difficult to turn their lamp on or off. However, buying a basic large knob that clamps on the small twisting switch will allow for much easier turning. This is a very simple, inexpensive product, but it can make a world of difference for those who need it.

Getting in and out of bed can be a struggle for those with back problems or for the elderly. Falling out of the bed can also be a serious problem. If a person is immobile, it can be very difficult to recover after falling out of the bed, especially if there is nobody around to assist them. To combat both of these problems, many people will add a handrail to their bed. Again, this is a simple addition that will help to prevent falls and also allow the owner to have something to hold when easing in or out of bed.

One important item that anyone who is prone to falling or who lacks mobility should always have is a medical alert system. These small devices can be worn around the neck, and usually have some sort of button on them that will alert an emergency service if there is any sort of problem. If a person falls down and cannot get back up, or if they are having a medical problem and can’t get to a phone this handy device can save a life.1

There are plenty of other supplemental products that can greatly improve a person’s quality of life. AllegroMedical.com has an extensive inventory of daily living aids at reasonable prices. Allegro’s website is easy to navigate, allowing anyone to comfortably browse and find new products that they may not have known about otherwise. There are also customer reviews and product descriptions that will help the buyer to get a good feel for what they can expect in terms of quality and function.

By providing each and every customer with quality customer service, guaranteed quality products, and low prices that fit into the budget, Allegro Medical has earned their reputation as leaders in online availability of home health and wellness supplies and daily living aids. Rely on AllegroMedical.com for a wide selection of daily living aids and other home health and wellness supplies.

Sources:

(1) – http://www.elderlyalertdevices.com/

Incontinence bladder

There’s no two ways about it, urinary incontinence is no fun. Thankfully, those who do suffer from this, all-to-common condition can take steps that will help live an independent and active life. Plenty of products and treatments exist in the market today that can help people to discretely manage incontinence.

The first step may be to admit that there is an issue. It can become easy to isolate yourself from your friends, family, and loved ones. Many times, incontinence can be a side-effect of a more serious condition, so it is essential that you take steps to look into a solution.(1) If you are experiencing incontinence, it is important to visit a healthcare professional as soon as possible. It may be embarrassing, but doctors deal with incontinence issues on a daily basis, so there is no reason to feel shame when admitting that you share a condition with millions of other Americans.

There are many causes of incontinence. For some, it is just part of aging. Men may have prostate problems that contribute to incontinence. Women may experience leakage after childbirth. Obesity is one of the most common reasons for incontinence, which can be reduced or even eliminated by simply changing your diet and exercising more frequently. Stress incontinence often happens when a person sneezes, coughs, or laughs, so it may be possible to manage it by first realizing what is causing the accidents. An overactive bladder can cause urge incontinence, which is defined by a sudden urgency to urinate before it happens.(2)

At the doctor’s appointment, you can expect them to ask detailed questions about your lifestyle to try and determine what exactly the root of the incontinence is. It is important that you provide honest information and work with the doctor to figure out the problem. Determining the reason for incontinence can involve some careful detective work, so it is important that you give the physician as much pertinent information as possible. Even seemingly, unrelated medical issues, can actually play a major role.

The doctor may also do blood or urine tests to determine if there is an infection or any sort of abnormality that is causing accidents. Once the cause has been determined, the healthcare provider will usually be able to recommend a proper course of action which may include exercises, supplements, lifestyle changes, and any number of other suggestions that may reduce the frequency of incontinence, and sometimes even stop it altogether.

If you are still experiencing incontinence after medical treatment, you will want to purchase products like adult diapers, bed pads, and other items that will help to keep accidents discreet and manageable.

For more than 15 years, AllegroMedical.com has been the leading online distributor of home health and wellness products. Rely on Allegro Medical for all of your incontinence and other health supplies.

(1) – http://www.healthcentral.com/incontinence/c/52/21859/symptom/
(2) – http://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/coping-12/slideshow-incontinence-embarrassment

Urinary catheters are divided into three main types: External, Intermittent, and Indwelling.  Depending on the patient, and application, picking the best catheter requires an understanding of the variations and benefits provided by each.

 

External Catheters

External catheters are designed for men, and often are also called condom catheters, Texas catheters.  External catheters are made from silicone, consist of an outer sheath that covers the penis, and has an opening at the tip to allow urine to flow into a collection device.

 

Rochester Medical is a manufacturer that has been producing external catheters for over 30 years and has pioneered an adhesion process that keeps the catheter in place for long periods of time. They are known for the development of the WideBand brand of condom catheters that utilize an adhesive inside the entire sheath wall of the catheter. This process ensures that urine does not migrate from the tip compromising the adhesive and requiring catheter replacement.

 

Ambulatory patients can use external catheters, along with a leg bag collection device, as an alternative to wearing an adult brief. Male quadriplegics may also use external catheters as they may not have the dexterity to self catheterize using an intermittent catheter. The external catheter may be left in place all day and accommodate active lifestyles.

 

Intermittent catheters

Intermittent catheters are inserted into the urethrae to immediately drain urine from the bladder and are designed for one time use. Both men and women use the intermittent catheter which are typically the best choice for an active wheelchair user or someone with a postoperative bladder or prostrate challenge.

 

Intermittent Catheter Tip Types

Different tips and connection ends are available on intermittent catheters. Tips are either straight or curved (also called a Coudé-tipped).  Depending on the patient’s condition, insertion may be easier with a curved tip over a straight tip1. The Olive Tip is another variation of the curved tip catheter designed to facilitate easier insertion for female catheter users.

 

Intermittent Catheter Material

Intermittent catheters are packaged individually in a sterile container. Most are made from Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC and coated with a hydrophilic material to ease insertion. The application of a hydrophilic polymer, mainly polyvinyl-pyrrolidone (PVP) to the exterior of the catheter creates a super slick surface when mixed with water. This makes insertion and extraction easy and lessons the risk of UTIs and urethral complications2. The alternative to hydrophilic coated catheters is the use of a sterile lubricant gel like Surgilube.

 

Closed / Sterile Systems

A closed system intermittent catheter combines an intermittent catheter in a self-contained drainage bag. The catheter is typically hydrophilic coated or pre-lubricated and also features an introducer tip – a plastic tip that shields the catheter from bacteria as it’s passed through the distil urethrae. The distal urethra is the first few centimeters of the urethrae and considered a location where harmful bacteria reside which may result in UTIs3 during catheterization. The outer bag of the closed system also provides a way to hold the catheter without risking contamination by touching it directly during the insertion process.

 

Foley Catheters

Indwelling catheters are also called Foley catheters or balloon catheters. Foley catheters are designed to be inserted into the bladder by a health care professional and remain in place for longer periods. The Foley catheter has a connection end that can be attached to a drain bag, leg bag, or collection bag and a small balloon at the insertion end. The balloon is inflated after the Foley is inserted into the bladder allowing it to remain in place. To remove the Foley catheter, the balloon is deflated and the catheter can be extracted. Foley catheters are typically made from rubber or silicone material.

 

Foley catheters are most often used in a medical setting, for patients undergoing surgical procedures, or those who are bedbound for long periods of time.

 

Understanding the three types of urological catheters will ensure the best patient application. From external, intermittent, or Foley, choosing the right catheter may reduce the risk of UTIs, enhance patient mobility and create greater independence.

 

 

For more than 15 years, AllegroMedical.com has been the leading online distributor of home health and wellness products.  Rely on Allegro Medical for all of your catheter and home health care supply nees.

 

 

1)      Review of Intermittent Catheterization and Current Best Practices, Diane K. Newman, MSN, ANP-BC, CRNP, FAAN, BCIA-PMDB, Margaret M. Willson, MSN, RN CWOCN, http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/745908_8

 

2)      Clean Intermittent Catheterization in Spinal Cord Injury Patients: Long-Term Follow-up of a Hydrophilic Low Friction Technique, Waller, Jonsson, Norlen, Sullivan, Journal of Urology, February 1995

 

3)      The ‘no-touch’ method of intermittent urinary catheter insertion: can it reduce the risk of bacteria entering the bladder? Hudson E, Murahata RI. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15852058

 

 

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