Monthly Archives: March 2010

How Do You Treat Lymphedema?

Lymphedema is an accumulation of fluid, most often noticed in swelling in the arms and legs. It is caused by some disturbance in the lymph vessels or nodes. For example, they may be missing or damaged.

Living with Lymphedema

Primary lymphedema doesn’t happen very often and is a birth defect wherein certain lymph vessels are missing or malformed at birth. Secondary lymphedema is caused by something that brings about a blockage or interruption in the flow of lymph through the system. It can come about because of an infection, surgery, trauma, radiation, scar tissue, cancer, or a blood clot in a vein.

Anyone who has had one of these procedures could be at risk for lymphedema:

  1. Radiation therapy to a lymph node
  2. Mastectomy and lymph node removal
  3. Lumpectomy and lymph node removal
  4. Modified radical mastectomy with lymph node removal
  5. Cancer surgery and/or radiation therapy to a part of the body that contains lymph nodes

Timing is unpredictable. It can come on days, months, or years after the causative event. Breast surgery obviously brings about changes in the drainage pathways for fluids that are a part of the immune system. Physicians are aware of the possibility of lymphedema developing after a surgery and will be on the lookout for it.

Some symptoms you might want to be aware of:

  1. Jewelry that suddenly is tight on your finger or arm.
  2. Juzo Soft Circlar Knit Dream Sleeve

  3. Diminished flexibility of your hand, wrist, or ankle.
  4. Your clothing is suddenly tight in only one place.
  5. Skin feels tight.
  6. Legs and/or arms feel heavy.

Diagnosis will come after your physician has carefully evaluated your medical history. He/she will particularly be interested in surgeries and treatments as well as any medications you’re taking. Your doctor will quiz you about symptoms and will conduct a complete physical. More tests may be needed.

Treatment varies. The stage of the illness will be a factor as will the cause. In any case, the patient must learn to manage the case. Your health professionals will teach you and others close to you how to carry out the treatment.

If there is an infection, you will get antibiotics. However, bandaging, skin care, diet, compression clothing, exercise, draining of the lymphs, massage and lymphedema pumps are typical of prescribed treatments.

Many products to help in the care of lymphedema are available at Vitality Medical. For example, a range of compression support gauntlets are available including both mens stockings and womens stockings. Anti-embolism stockings may also be prescribed, and Vitality Medical has them. The advantages you will enjoy by buying from Vitality Medical are convenience and cost. You won’t have to leave the privacy of your home to order. Vitality Medical offers discount medical supplies to hospitals, care facilities and home care.

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Oxygen Review – Why Use Oxygen Concentrators?

Why Use An Oxygen Concentrator?

An oxygen concentrator is a wonderful device that has provided much greater mobility to many patients that are dependent upon an external oxygen supply to breathe. While traditionally these oxygen deprived patients would be restricted to their homes or care facilities, now they can enjoy many of the activities they were formerly accustomed to enjoying. Patients suffering from COPD, asthma and a host of other respiratory diseases can use an oxygen concentrator to allow them much more freedom. Portable oxygen concentrators can be easily brought along while they travel in vehicles, on foot, or even on public forms of transportation.

An oxygen concentrator actually extracts the oxygen from the air around you and concentrates it. The nitrogen in the air is then released into the surrounding ambient air. The oxygen machine then delivers this concentrated oxygen to the patient.

Oxygen Tanks versus Oxygen Concentrators

Traditional oxygen tanks simply store oxygen which is depleted when the tank is empty. An oxygen concentrator actually supplies oxygen continuously as long as the power source is uninterrupted. The power source can be an electrical outlet in a home or car, or rechargeable batteries. Patients and caregivers should always ensure that batteries are fully charged before traveling. A charger adapter for the car extends the time you can be away from your home while still getting an ample supply of oxygen. When you exit the car, your concentrator can operate off of its internal battery for up to 4 hours on some portable oxygen concentrator models.

Benefits of Oxygen Concentrators

Invacare XPO2V Oxygen Concentrator

  • Oxygen concentrators are more economical than oxygen tanks.
  • Oxygen concentrators are safer than oxygen tanks.
  • Oxygen concentrators provide much more mobility due to less size and weight.
  • Less hassle. You are not required to meet scheduled appointments to refill oxygen tanks with an oxygen concentrator.
  • Many portable oxygen concentrators are allowed for air travel on-board airlines that cross US airspace. Oxygen Therapy Patients should check with each airline for specific requirements.

Oxygen concentrators have revolutionized the mobility and freedom for patients that require a continuous oxygen supply. These oxygen machines are able to use the surrounding air, remove nitrogen, and concentrate and deliver oxygen to patients who require it for survival.

How to Take Care of Your Colon

How to Take Care of Your ColonDrive Medical Hospital Beds - Inner Spring Mattress

Colorectal cancer or colon cancer is the cause of 655,000 deaths worldwide every year and is the fourth most common cancer in the United States. Included in this classification are growths in the colon, rectum, or appendix. These cancers come from polyps, mushroom-like growths, in the colon. They are benign most of the time but some can develop into cancer. The colonoscopy is the diagnostic tool of choice.

Early identification can lead to a cure by surgery and chemotherapy. If they go untreated they will spread. If the spread is to distant sites, it cannot be cured.

The colonoscopy is the most effective screening method yet. By identifying the types of polyps that become cancerous early enough and having them removed, you will avoid this kind of cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that those who have no identified risk factors other than age should begin testing at age 50. Those with a family history should talk to their doctors sooner.

Screening tests:

  1. Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
  2. Colonoscopy every 10 years
  3. Double contrast barium enema every 5 years
  4. CT colonography every 5 years

This disease has few signals unless it has spread elsewhere. Many of the symptoms may be a part of other diseases and go unnoticed. Some things to look for are changes in bowel habits, tenesmus (a feeling of incomplete defecation), and smaller diameter of stool than usual. There may be bleeding and increased mucus. If the tumor is large enough, there will be bowel obstruction.

Risk Factors

  1. Age. Usually occurs in the 60s and 70s.
  2. Polyps of the colon
  3. History of cancer
  4. Heredity
  5. Smoking
  6. Diet—high in red meat and low in fresh fruit, vegetables, poultry, and fish
  7. Physical inactivity
  8. Virus
  9. Low levels of selenium
  10. Inflammatory bowel disease
  11. Environmental factors
  12. Alcohol, especially heavy drinking

Some alternative-medicine movements promote colon cleansing and special diets as a way to avoid developing colon cancer. There are even centers where you can go and have your colon cleansed. For the cleansing of the bowel, Vitality Medical has a range of tools for that purpose. Go to the website and click “Enema & Colon Care” in the left column. You will find enema bags, Fleet Enema, suppositories, Enemeez, and laxatives. The prices here are low and everything can be ordered online and delivered to your front door.

Drive Medical Fleet Childrens EnemaAlliance Labs Enemeez Mini EnemaFleet Ready To Use Sodium Phosphate Enema

What You Need to Know About Diabetes Insulin

The most common form of diabetes is called Type 2 as opposed to Type 1, called juvenile diabetes because it occurs in young people. Millions of Americans have been diagnosed with type 2 and many undiagnosed diabetics are unaware that they are at risk. More common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, and the elderly, it affects many and impacts their quality of life.

Diabetes Care

Two things have been identified as causes: the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin enables the body to use glucose for energy. When the glucose is not processed by the insulin, it builds up in the blood and brings on diabetes complications.

Many Type 2 Diabetes patients are able to control their blood-sugar levels with medication and diet; however, many must have regular injections of insulin in order to remain stable and avoid diabetic crises, which can be deadly. Because insulin must be injected frequently, most doctors recommend that patients learn to do it themselves.

Hypodermic needles, sometimes called syringes, are used by medical professionals to inject liquid forms of medication or to remove fluids from the body. The barrel is typically plastic or glass with marks for measuring fluid. Most such needles or syringes are plastic nowadays and disposable. Besides being safer, the plastic syringes seal better than glass between the barrel and the piston.

The advantage glass syringes offer is that they are reusable. Glass syringes are rarely reused nowadays, thanks to the low costs associated with producing plastic ones, and there is always the danger of spreading diseases between patients. Intravenous drug users are prone to re-use syringes and thereby often spread HIV and Hepatitis.

The use of insulin syringes by diabetics is another thing. They are typically used by only one person, so the danger of spreading a disease is not a consideration. For diabetics, a standard U-100 insulin syringe is recommended.

Diabetes Treatment to Live a Normal Life

Syringes for self injection have special characteristics. For one thing, the needles are shorter since the injections are under the skin instead of into the muscle. They also have finer needles so the pain is not so great. The markings on these special syringes are for insulin units, making it easier to get the right dose.

Insulin syringes, unlike others, can be reloaded from a container after each use. Medicool Poucho CaseSince cross-infection is not an issue, this convenience is helpful to the insulin injector. An autoinjector is a spring-loaded syringe designed specifically for use by diabetics. The injection is usually into the thigh or buttocks. This is intended to make it easier for the diabetic to overcome a natural resistance or hesitation to self-injection.

The auto injector does not show its needle. It also has a safety device to keep it from firing accidentally. The user presses a button and the needle is inserted automatically and the insulin is delivered. Most auto injectors have a visual indicator so full dosage can be confirmed.

For a full range of supplies for the diabetic, including insulin travel cases, lancing devices, skin prep, test strips, control solution and monitoring systems, visit Vitality Medical’s website. The prices are low at Vitality Medical and patients have the convenience of online ordering with products delivered fast to their own doors.