Living With Angina From Coronary Artery Disease

Living With Angina From Coronary Artery Disease

 

 

 

Angina is a type of coronary artery disease. The coronary arteries bring oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Because the heart is a muscle, it needs oxygen to work well. In coronary artery disease, one or more of these arteries may be partially or even completely blocked.

Stable and unstable angina do not always lead to a heart attack, but both should be given medical attention.

 

In coronary artery disease, blockages—made up of fats, such as cholesterol, and other debris—form on the inside walls of the arteries.

 

In stable angina, the blockages may not seriously block the flow of blood and this condition usually doesn’t damage the heart.

 

In unstable angina, the blockages may be large and can lead to a heart attack.

 

Having either stable or unstable angina does not always mean your loved one will have a heart attack, but angina can be serious and should be treated by a doctor.

 

 

Chest Pain Can Be An Emergency

Angina is caused by a lack of oxygen in the heart muscle. Symptoms include pain or discomfort in the chest, arms, back, neck, or jaw.

Sometimes, anginal pain may feel like a tight or crushing sensation, or it may be a stabbing pain or numbness. Some people mistake anginal pain as indigestion or gas pain.

 

 

Here are some signs that your loved one’s angina is serious and that he or she should go to the hospital right away:

 

  • Pain or discomfort that is very bad, gets worse, and lasts longer than 20 minutes.
  • Pain or discomfort along with weakness, nausea, or fainting.
  • Pain or discomfort that is worse than your loved one has ever had before.

 

If you loved one has already been diagnosed with coronary artery disease and takes nitroglycerin to help manage his or her condition, any pain or discomfort should go away after he or she takes three tablets in 15 minutes. If it doesn’t, your loved one needs to go to the hospital right away.

If you live in an area where ambulance service is not quickly available, someone should drive your loved one to the nearest hospital. He or she should not drive.

 

 

Treatment of Unstable Angina

If your loved one experiences severe chest pains, his or her doctor will want to run a series of tests. After the tests, you, your loved one, and the doctor can decide on the best course of treatment.

In general your loved one will have three choices: medical therapy, angioplasty, or bypass surgery.

 

 

Medical Therapy

 

 

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Several types of medicine—including a daily low dose of aspirin, nitrates, and beta blockers (both by prescription) — can help relieve the discomfort of unstable angina.

Some of these drugs make it easier for the heart to work, but none of them removes blockages from the arteries. They simply relieve anginal discomfort by bringing more blood to the heart.

Medical therapy may be used alone or in combination with other treatments—but many people with unstable angina do very well on medicine alone.

 

Medical therapy may benefit your loved one if he or she:

  • Has a blockage or blockages in only one vessel
  • Has a less severe blockage
  • Does not have severe anginal discomfort

 

Questions To Ask About Medical Therapy

  • What side effects will the medicine cause?
  • Will my loved one have to take medicine for the rest of his or her life?

 

Some people have uncomfortable side effects from the medicine, but most feel better because they have less anginal discomfort. If your loved one does have a reaction to a medicine, be sure his or her doctor knows about it. Often the reaction goes away or becomes less severe with time. If not, the doctor may be able to change the medicine to make your loved one more comfortable.

If your loved one continues to experience anginal discomfort while taking his or her medicine, he or she may need to discuss the possibility of angioplasty or bypass surgery with his or her doctor.

 

 

Angioplasty

In angioplasty, a thin tube called a catheter is inserted into an artery in the groin and threaded up to the blocked artery. This catheter has a very small balloon attached to the end. When the catheter gets to the blockage, the doctor inflates the balloon. When the balloon is deflated, the blockage should open enough for blood to get through, stopping the anginal discomfort.

 

Possible Benefits Of Angioplasty

  • Relieves your loved one’s anginal pain
  • Increases your loved one’s ability to be active and exercise
  • Allows your loved one to return to former activities
  • Reduces the amount of medicine that your loved one has to take

 

Possible Risks Of Angioplasty

  • Worsened angina
  • Emergency bypass surgery
  • Heart attack
  • Damage to the artery
  • Re-blockage of the artery
  • Death

 

Questions To Ask About Angioplasty

  • Will my loved one need additional angioplasty or bypass surgery in the future?
  • What are the chances that my loved one might die during the procedure?
  • What other complications or problems may result from the procedure?

 

 

Bypass Surgery

Surgery is usually recommended for people who have severe blockages in the left main coronary artery or disease in several vessels. Surgery is also an option when medicines do not control anginal symptoms.

Coronary artery bypass surgery can be a very effective way to increase the amount of blood getting to your loved one’s heart, which should stop his or her anginal discomfort.

In this operation, a piece of a vein, usually from a leg or another artery in the chest, is removed and used to “bypass” the blocked section. One end of the blood vessel is placed into the aorta (the artery that supplies all the blood going out of the heart and into the body). The other end is sewn into the artery below the blocked section to bypass the blockage.

 

 

 

Questions To Ask About Bypass Surgery:

  • What will it feel like to have bypass surgery?
  • What is the chance that my loved one might die during surgery?
  • What other complications or problems may result from the procedure?
  • Will my loved one need more surgery in the future?

 

 

Can Blockages Come Back?

Neither angioplasty nor bypass surgery is a cure for coronary artery disease. Blockages continue to build up on artery walls after either procedure. Both angioplasty and bypass surgery can be repeated if the arteries become blocked again, but the only way to stop coronary artery disease is to prevent more blockages from building up.

Your loved one’s doctor may recommend that he or she attend a cardiac rehabilitation program. These programs usually are offered by local hospitals and very often they are covered by insurance.

In a rehabilitation program, nurses, exercise specialists, and doctors will help your loved one change behaviors that put him or her at a higher risk for future artery blockages. They will also teach your loved one how to exercise safely and help him or her gain confidence in his or her ability to live with heart disease.

 

 

Preventing Blockages

The best way to prevent blockages is to:

  • Eat foods that are lower in fat
  • Increase physical activity

 

 

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Living With Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease does not go away. Your loved one’s behavior and lifestyle will affect his or her condition. This is why it is important for you to encourage your loved one to follow his or her doctor’s advice.

It’s normal for you to worry about your loved one’s health and future, but you should know that most people with unstable angina do not have heart attacks. Usually, angina becomes more stable within eight weeks. In fact, people who are treated for unstable angina can live productive lives for many years.

Coronary artery disease can be very difficult to deal with emotionally. Both you and your loved one may feel a loss of control, as if something had taken over your lives. Doctors, nurses, members of the clergy, and counselors all have experience in helping people with coronary artery disease. They can help you and your loved one deal with this difficult condition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The MIND Diet For Fighting Dementia

The MIND Diet For Fighting Dementia

 

 

 

A recent study from Rush University has identified a dietary pattern that can significantly reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, even in patients with only moderate compliance.

 

There is growing scientific evidence that dietary intake can actually reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

The same eating patterns recommended to support cardiovascular health, such as the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, have also been shown in multiple studies and meta-analyses to slow cognitive decline or reduce the risk of cognitive impairment, including AD.

A recent study led by Martha Clare Morris, ScD, a professor of epidemiology and director of the Section on Nutrition and Nutritional Epidemiology at Rush University, has taken a closer look at the effect of those two diets on cognitive decline and compared them with a new diet plan.

Called the MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet, this new dietary pattern uses the Mediterranean and DASH diets as a basis, but modifies them to place more emphasis on foods that have been linked by previous research to improved cognitive function and delayed decline.

 

 

The Research

 

The MIND trial followed 923 individuals aged 58 to 98 for an average of 4.5 years (in a range of two to 10 years). Diet was assessed using a 154-item guided questionnaire, and cognitive function was measured yearly using 19 cognitive tests.

Participants’ diets were scored by how closely they matched up with recommendations for the Mediterranean, DASH, or MIND eating patterns. High adherence to any of these diets was associated with reduced risk of cognitive decline.

For the people who followed the diet most closely, the Mediterranean diet had the greatest impact, with the top one-third of adherents realizing a 54% reduction in the risk of developing AD. The MIND diet was a close second at 53% reduction.

But the MIND diet was the most effective overall, since the middle one-third of MIND diet followers had a significant reduction in AD (35%) during the study period, even when results were adjusted for AD risk factors. “Unlike the other two diets we studied, even moderate adherence to the MIND diet brought about significant reduction in dementia risk,” Morris says.

 

 

The MIND Diet

 

The MIND diet emphasizes foods shown to support a healthy brain and recommends limiting potentially damaging choices.7 The more closely the recommendations are followed, the greater the impact on neurological health is likely to be.

 

 

Why It Works

 

A diet that supports vascular health is certainly protective against vascular dementia, but certain foods and food components have been directly linked to improved neurological function or reduced AD biomarkers in the brain. “MIND diet foods reflect nutrients shown to slow cognitive decline, lower risk of AD, decrease amyloid in the brain or neuron loss in animal studies, or decrease oxidative stress and inflammation,” Morris says.

MIND-recommended foods are rich in nutrients such as vitamin E and the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). “Dietary vitamin E (tocopherol), which is found in nuts, plant oils, seeds, and leafy greens, is a very potent antioxidant associated strongly with brain health,” Morris says, “and fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which, studies show, are important for synaptic proteins in the brain. Omega-3s (DHA in particular) are among the more important lipid structures in the brain. They lead to higher synaptic transmission and less oxidative stress.”

The diet also includes plenty of B vitamins such as folate, and vitamins C and D, all of which have been found in multiple analyses and randomized controlled studies to help neurons cope with aging.

Epidemiologic studies sometimes point to specific foods. “Food studies show that vegetables are important for reducing cognitive decline,” Morris says, “but green leafy vegetables show up in research as particularly protective, so we recommend people eat things like spinach, kale, collards, or romaine at least six times a week.”

Fruits, which are stressed in the Mediterranean and DASH diets, are not specifically recommended in the MIND diet, except for berries. “No studies on cognitive decline and AD have found an association with fruits as a general category. But berries like strawberries and blueberries have been shown to decrease neuron loss and improve memory performance in a fairly large body of animal studies and the Nurses Health Study,” she says.

Balance of fats appears to be important to brain health as well. A 2014 Neurobiology of Aging review of evidence linking dietary fat composition to the risk of developing dementia (coauthored by Morris) found support from laboratory, animal, and prospective epidemiologic studies for the hypothesis that high saturated or trans fatty acids increase the risk of dementia and high polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fatty acids decrease the risk.

Avoiding fried foods, pastries, full-fat dairy, and large amounts of red meat, and eating foods such as fish, nuts, and plant oils such as olive oil, as recommended by the MIND diet, provides this balance of fats.

 

 

Putting It Into Practice

 

“The MIND diet is a fairly simple diet to follow,” says Vandana R. Sheth, RDN, CDE, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It eschews specific nutrient recommendations for more general patterns of foods. “Having a green salad and one other vegetable every day and snacking on nuts is pretty simple to do,” Sheth says. “Many people already eat poultry at least twice a week and enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or before bed. Adding fish once a week can be as simple as a can of tuna on that lunch salad.”

Eating three servings of whole grains every day may seem like a challenge, but patients should be reminded that one slice of bread is a serving, so that goal can be met with oatmeal for breakfast and a sandwich on whole grain bread for lunch, or a bowl of whole grain cereal in the morning and a cup of brown rice or barley soup for dinner.

Berries can be expensive, particularly out of season, but frozen berries are just as nutritious as fresh berries and are perfect in oatmeal or for smoothies and yogurt parfaits all year round.

For patients who prefer not to cook, are on a fixed budget, or have issues with dentition, beans are a perfect choice. Rinsed canned beans can be tossed into salads; stirred into prepared soups, stews, and chilies; or served over brown rice with some simple herbs and spices for a truly brain-boosting meal.

Cutting back on saturated fats presents a big challenge for many Americans. Stepping down from whole milk to 2%, and then to 1% over time is an effective strategy. Avoiding cheese, limiting red and processed meats, and keeping to one tablespoon of butter or less per day may be difficult, and cutting back on pastries, cookies, and other sweet treats is nearly impossible for many.

It may help to look at dessert as a special occasion treat rather than a requirement to round out a meal. “It is important to recognize that behavior change is difficult,” Sheth says. “A diet is not a short-term strategy; it’s a permanent lifestyle change. Most people do best by tackling one or two small achievable goals at a time.” Making room for the positive changes discussed above, such as salads, whole grains, fish, and beans, will push some of the less than judicious choices off the plate.

Reassure patients that any step toward the ideal eating pattern is a positive step for neurological (and cardiovascular) health. “The beauty of the MIND diet is that you get benefits even if you are not following it to the letter,” Morris says.

Older patients often have additional concerns that make good dietary choices even more difficult, Sheth says. “Good nutrition allows us to prevent, delay, and better manage normal aging as well as chronic conditions,” she says, “but older patients often experience physical, emotional, and social changes that affect their ability to eat right.

These include limited ability to shop [for], prep, and cook meals; financial constraints; lack of motivation to cook; taste and appetite changes related to medications as well as normal aging; and difficulty chewing or swallowing.”

Health care professionals working with this population are in the perfect position to screen for these issues when providing other needed care. “Discussing eating habits and the importance of proper nutrition, and making a referral to a registered dietitian, as necessary, can make a big difference,” Sheth says.

As the relatively young science of nutrition and the brain evolves, more specific information is sure to become available. What seems clear even now, however, is that diet-related lifestyle changes can be neuroprotective and are worth encouraging in patients. As Sheth says, “Introducing the MIND diet principles can positively affect not only the geriatric patients’ neurological health but also their overall health and well-being.”

 based on an article by Judith C. Thalheimer, RD, LDN

 

Recommended:

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Thanks for visiting and reading … I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

 

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Stasis Dermatitis Leg and Foot Condition

Stasis Dermatitis Leg and Foot Condition

 

 

Stasis dermatitis is a skin condition that develops in people with poor circulation. It typically occurs in the lower legs. In serious cases, stasis dermatitis can progress into ulcers.

Stasis dermatitis is skin inflammation that develops in people with poor circulation. It most often occurs in the lower legs because that’s where blood typically collects.

People over the age of 50 are most at risk for developing stasis dermatitis, especially if they have heart disease, are very overweight, or frequently sit for long periods of time.

Preventing swelling in your lower legs, or peripheral edema, is the best way to avoid getting stasis dermatitis.

When blood collects or pools in the veins of your lower legs, the pressure on the veins increases. The increased pressure damages your capillaries, which are very small blood vessels. This allows proteins to leak into your tissues. This leakage leads to a buildup of blood cells, fluid, and proteins, which causes your legs to swell. This swelling is called peripheral edema.

People with stasis dermatitis usually experience swollen legs and feet, open sores, or itchy and reddish skin.

 

A protein called fibrinogen may be responsible for the changes you see in your skin. When fibrinogen leaks into your tissues, your body converts it to the active form of the protein, which is called fibrin. As it leaks out, the fibrin surrounds your capillaries, forming what are known as fibrin cuffs. According to the Cleveland Clinic, these fibrin cuffs may prevent oxygen from entering your tissues. When your cells don’t receive enough oxygen, they can become damaged and die.

 

 

Risk Factors for Stasis Dermatitis

 

Stasis dermatitis affects people with poor circulation. It’s common among adults over the age of 50. Women are more likely to get it than men.

A number of diseases and conditions can increase your risk for developing stasis dermatitis, including:

 

  • venous insufficiency, which occurs when your veins have difficulty sending blood from your legs to your heart
  • varicose veins, which are swollen and enlarged veins that are visible under your skin
  • congestive heart failure, which occurs when your heart doesn’t pump blood efficiently
  • kidney failure, which occurs when your kidneys can’t remove toxins from your blood
  • obesity
  • injury to your lower legs
  • numerous pregnancies
  • a deep vein thrombosis in your leg, which is a blood clot in your leg vein

 

Your lifestyle can also affect your risk. You may be at a higher risk of getting stasis dermatitis if you’re very overweight, don’t get enough exercise, or if you sit or stand without moving for long periods of time.

 

 

Common Causes of Stasis Dermatitis

 

Poor circulation causes stasis dermatitis. Typically, poor circulation is the result of a chronic, or long-term, condition called venous insufficiency. Venous insufficiency occurs when your veins have trouble sending blood to your heart. There are one-way valves inside your leg veins that keep your blood flowing in the right direction, which is toward your heart. In people with venous insufficiency, these valves become weak. This allows blood to flow back toward the feet and pool in your legs instead of continuing to flow toward your heart. This pooling of blood is what causes stasis dermatitis.

 

 

Varicose veins and congestive heart failure are also known causes of leg swelling and stasis dermatitis.

Most of the conditions that cause stasis dermatitis usually develop in people as they get older. However, there are also several causes that are unrelated to age, including:

  • surgery, such as using a leg vein for bypass surgery
  • deep vein thrombosis in your leg
  • traumatic injury to your lower legs

 

 

Symptoms of Stasis Dermatitis

 

The symptoms of stasis dermatitis include:

  • skin discoloration
  • itching
  • scaling
  • ulcers

 

You may also experience symptoms of venous insufficiency, including:

  • leg swelling
  • calf pain
  • calf tenderness
  • a dull ache or heaviness in your legs that gets worse when you stand

 

In the early stages of stasis dermatitis, the skin on your legs may look thin. Your skin may also itch, but try not to scratch it. Scratching can cause the skin to crack and fluid to seep out.

Over time, these changes can become permanent. Your skin may eventually thicken, harden, or turn dark brown. This is called lipodermatosclerosis. It may also look lumpy. In the final stages of stasis dermatitis, your skin breaks down and an ulcer, or sore, forms. Ulcers from stasis dermatitis usually form on the inside of your ankle.

 

 

 

 

Seeing Your Doctor About Stasis Dermatitis

 

You should see your doctor if you notice leg swelling or any symptoms of stasis dermatitis, especially if the symptoms include:

  • pain
  • redness
  • open wounds or ulcers
  • pus-like drainage

 

 

Diagnosis of Stasis Dermatitis

 

A diagnosis of stasis dermatitis is made based on the patient’s medical history, investigating any conditions that may cause the swelling, as well as observation of the skin rash. Testing for other skin conditions as well as circulation patterns of the body may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Blood flow to the legs is evaluated a by Doppler ultrasound: This is a noninvasive test that uses sound waves to check the blood flow in your legs.
  • Patch testing to determine contact allergies and/or other skin sensitivities
  • Biopsy of infected skin

 

 

Treatment of Stasis Dermatitis

 

There are several things you can do at home to treat stasis dermatitis. You should:

  • avoid standing and sitting for long periods of time
  • prop up your feet when sitting

 

 

  • wear loose-fitting clothing to avoid irritating your skin

 

Ask your doctor about the types of skin creams and ointments you can use.

Your doctor might tell you to put wet bandages on your skin and might prescribe topical steroid creams and ointments. Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics if your skin becomes infected. Surgery may be recommended to correct varicose veins if they become painful.

Treating conditions that cause venous insufficiency, such as high blood pressure and congestive heart failure, can also help control your stasis dermatitis.

 

 

 

Boiron First Aid Calendula Ointment, 1 oz.
Boiron Calendula Ointment
Herbal Treatments

 

In some cases, all-natural herbal methods can be used to help soothe the pain and itching associated with milder forms of stasis dermatitis. For best results, however, they should always be used under the guidance of a qualified herbalist or licensed naturopathic healthcare provider.

These herbs have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, which may help to relieve the symptoms:

  • Calendula (flower heads), licorice root, and ginkgo all have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. They can be used topically, in lotions, oils or ointment form, on the affected area to reduce itching and inflammation.
  • Aloe vera gel and the juice from common plantain leaves (Plantago major) can be applied topically to the affected areas to help soothe skin irritations associated with dermatitis.

 

 

Herbal pastes can also be prepared to help relieve the itching associated with dermatitis:

  • Green clay and goldenseal root in equal parts
  • Equal parts salt, water, clay, and peppermint oil

 

 

 

Noble Formula Hydrocortisone Cream with Pyrithione Zinc (Znp) .25% Enhanced By Hydrocortisone 1%, 4oz (120 Ml)
Noble Formula HC Cream with Pyrithione Zinc
Zinc treatment

Pyrithione zinc has been recognized for centuries for its unique healing properties. Included in those healing properties are alleviation of itching and burning associated with dermatitis symptoms. Pyrithione zinc also has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which may help reduce skin inflammation associated with dermatitis.

Topical zinc pyrithione is generally recognized as a safe and effective treatment for reduction in the symptoms associated with certain forms of dermatitis.

 

 

 

Unna Boot Treatment

 

In the case of stasis dermatitis, zinc is often used in connection with an Unna’s paste boot, a moist, zinc-impregnated paste bandage that provides both compression and topical treatment.

DYNAREX Unna Boot Bandage with Zinc
DYNAREX Unna Boot Bandage with Zinc
The classic Unna boot entails a stretched wrap filled with calamine, zinc oxide, glycerine, sorbitol, gelatin and magnesium aluminum silicate, to be applied to the affected area. Once applied, the boot will harden to a level that is slightly less than that of a cast.

The compressive, supportive nature of the boot helps to reduce the swelling, and the gelatin/zinc mixture protects the skin from irritation and hastens the healing process. In the beginning the boot needs to be changed every two to three days; however after the initial healing it can be left on for a week at a time.

One drawback of the Unna boot is that it does not accommodate changes in leg swelling particularly well. Many comparative studies of different management techniques, including compression with Unna boot, traditional paraffin gauze dressings, and other occlusive dressings, have been made.

In some cases, studies report better patient comfort and compliance when treated with a combination of compression and a moist, occlusive dressing, such as a hydrocolloid dressing, to heal venous stasis ulceration.

 

 

Possible Complications of Stasis Dermatitis

 

If it’s left untreated, stasis dermatitis can result in:

  • chronic leg ulcers
  • osteomyelitis, which is a bone infection
  • a bacterial skin infection, such as abscesses or cellulitis
  • permanent scarring

 

 

Preventing Stasis Dermatitis

 

Stasis dermatitis is usually the result of a chronic illness, such as congestive heart failure, so it’s difficult to prevent if you’re already ill. However, you can reduce your risk by preventing the swelling in your legs, or peripheral edema, that causes it. You can also lower your risk by exercising. Exercise is a great way to improve your circulation and reduce your body fat. Limiting the amount of sodium you consume can also help.

 

In summary, the condition of stasis dermatitis can be quite serious and chronic, with numerous complicating factors and sequelae. However, with careful evaluation, follow-up, and a maintenance program tailored to an individual’s needs, along with education and counseling to improve understanding of the condition, most stasis dermatitis patients can be kept comfortable and free of ulceration.

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some practical information. 

I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

 

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Follow These Tips to Reduce Arthritis Pain Today

 

 

Your older adult shouldn’t have to suffer with ongoing arthritis pain.

 

 

 

 

This disease can’t be cured, but can be kept under control with a combination of treatments and lifestyle changes. Be persistent, it might take some trial and error before finding what works for your older adult.

 

1 in 5 adults in the U.S. have been diagnosed with arthritis by a doctor. Those numbers are huge; with those odds, it’s likely your older adult is living with arthritis pain.

 

Some people dismiss arthritis as occasional aches or stiffness, but chronic arthritis pain can be so severe that seniors are forced to make unwanted lifestyle changes.

 

For example, serious arthritis pain prevents good sleep, makes it difficult to get up and walk to the bathroom, and forces older adults to avoid many everyday tasks and activities.

 

 

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis. It’s a joint disease where the joint cartilage is breaking down over time.

 

This causes swelling and inflammation which leads to pain and stiffness. Being overweight, having previous joint injuries, and being older are all risk factors for arthritis.

 

For persistent, ongoing pain, ignoring it will only make things worse. Arthritis is a degenerative disease, which means it’s not going to get better on its own.

 

Untreated arthritis can lead to bigger health problems like obesity, diabetes, or heart disease because of forced inactivity. Plus, being in chronic pain decreases quality of life; imagine how you’d feel if you constantly ached all over and couldn’t move without pain.

 

Managing the pain and inflammation helps older adults become more active, reduce arthritis severity, and improve overall health.

 

Some older adults don’t want to admit they have chronic pain or that they need help.

 

Observe their behavior to find clues that arthritis pain is causing problems. If you notice changes in your senior’s daily routine, investigate to see if arthritis pain could be the reason.

 

Combining treatments to manage pain or reduce inflammation with lifestyle changes like exercise is a good way to keep arthritis pain under control.

 

Talk with your older adult’s doctor to see if their current medication is an effective way to relieve arthritis pain and get recommendations on helpful exercises.

 

If your loved one has been diagnosed with arthritis, there will probably be several healthcare professionals involved in their care.

 

But the most important part of arthritis care is self-management.

 

 

Self-management is about making positive and healthy lifestyle choices, and acknowledging and addressing the physical and emotional effects of arthritis.

 

Having arthritis affects everyone differently, so learn and practice assisting your loved one with what helps them to live well and thrive.

 

Self-management and your help can make a big difference in how much arthritis affects your senior’s quality of life so they can continue to do the things that are important to them.

 

 

Tips For Helping Your Loved One With Arthritis Self Management

 

 

Work With The Doctor

 

Before the appointment, observe or talk with your older adult over a few days to figure out where the pain is, when it’s worst, and what activities they struggle with.

Write down these observations and discuss them with the doctor. Having complete information helps the doctor understand the pain, rule out any other problems, and recommend treatments.

 

 

Use Heat Therapy

 

Heat loosens up stiff joints and muscles, stimulates circulation, and reduces muscle spasms. Try heating pads, microwaveable heat wraps, air-activated heat patches, or pain relieving creams to see what works best.

You can also make a DIY heat pack by microwaving a wet towel for 1-2 minutes. Put the hot towel in a plastic bag and wrap that with a dry towel.

 

 

Use Cold Therapy

 

 

If heat isn’t doing the trick, try cold therapy. Cold packs may be uncomfortable at first, but they can numb deep pain. Rubbing ice cubes or a small bag of ice over painful areas also reduces swelling and inflammation.

Pro tip: Some get the most arthritis pain relief using both heat and cold.

 

Heat therapy sometimes works best earlier in the day because it relaxes the muscles around the joints. Cold therapy at the end of the day can minimize inflammation from daily activities.

 

Get Moving

 

 

Many older adults with arthritis don’t want to move because it hurts. But not moving actually makes arthritis pain worse. It’s important that your older adult doesn’t stay in the same position for too long. Throughout the day, they need to move, flex, and use the joints that hurt.

 

Encourage your older adult to move around at least once an hour. If they resist, be creative and invent a reason for them to get up or change position. Bathroom trips count too! They should also add daily exercises to their regular routine.

 

Recommended Reading: Arthritis: What Exercises Work

What is the most powerful arthritis treatment ever developed to help restore you to a healthy, pain-free, and vigorous life–for the rest of your life?

It’s the very same breakthrough that has:

–Helped more arthritis sufferers than drugs, surgery, or any other treatment–without dangerous side effects.

–Been widely prescribed by medical doctors and other health practitioners.

The answer? Exercise.

Here are the right exercised for your kind of arthritis, pain-level, age, occupation, and hobbies.

And they’re the most effective exercises for arthritis available anywhere–rated “best” by arthritis sufferers themselves in an unprecedented nationwide survey…supported by medical doctors…and backed by the latest research.
only this book has them.

Let Arthritis: What Exercises Work work wonders in ending your arthritis pain–forever!

It doesn’t matter what their fitness level is. Even carefully walking around the kitchen using a walker or going back and forth in the hallway is a good joint workout. Regular activity will bring arthritis pain relief.

 

Massage It

Having your older adult massage and rub their painful joints helps warm up and relax the area. It’s a great wind-down activity and might help your older adult sleep better. If massage is painful, try using heat beforehand to warm the area first. Lotions or oils can also help.

 

The Village Company Muscle Therapy Relief Natural Lotion, 16 Ounce

Recommended for arthritis massage:  The Village Company Muscle Therapy Relief Natural Lotion

  • Let village naturals therapy muscle relief lotion make a house call
  • Massage away muscle aches and pains while aromatherapy vapors help you feel better
  • Our deep penetrating therapeutic formula is enriched with vitamins and skin softening ingredients that will help improve skin circulation and appearance
  • This product has never been tested on animals and does not contain animal-derived ingredients
  • This product contains juniper to calm and restore, sage to soothe and comfort, and wintergreen to relax and invigorate, it’s 90.74% naturally derived

 

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being at a healthy weight is better for joints because more body weight = more pressure on joints. Did you know that losing just 1 pound takes 4 pounds of pressure off each knee?!

 
Recommended:  The E-Factor Diet

e-factor-diet-cover

 

 

The E-Factor Diet  teaches the hidden factors that prevent people from losing weight.  For me, this has been the diet program that trumps all others.

 

 

 

 

 

Instead of recommending simple solutions like “eat better” and “exercise more”, The E-Factor Diet focuses in on the core problems with weight loss programs, and works for both large and small weight loss goals, and for maintenance.  Just simply, it works.

 

Add Omega-3’s to Reduce Inflammation

Take omega-3 supplements or eat fish like salmon, sardines, herring, and tuna to get more omega-3 fatty acids. This helps reduce inflammation levels in the body and can help decrease arthritis pain.

Recommended Reading: Conquering Arthritis – What Doctors Don’t Tell You Because They Don’t Know
  
 

 
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Dementia-Proof Cooking With Fire Avert

 

Fire Avert will automatically disconnect the power to your range or stove in the event that fire or smoke are detected.

Fire Avert is a revolutionary kitchen fire prevention device that can be installed in any home with no tools or professional assistance in less then 10 minutes.  

 

Fire Avert by Active Fire Prevention is a revolutionary fire prevention device created to stop home fires before they start.

 

Fire Avert was invented and designed by Firefighters as they continually went on kitchen fires.  With the help of firefighters and engineers, Fire Avert is the first Auto Safety Stove Shut-Off device that turns off the stove when your smoke alarm is activated.

 

Fire Avert helps protect your home from the leading cause of home fires in the united states –  unattended cooking – by automatically disconnecting power to your range or stove in the event that fire or smoke are detected.

 

Fire Avert activates in response to the audible signal of an existing smoke detector – a patented syncing feature syncs to the sound signature on your specific smoke detector, ensuring maximum reliability and minimizing false alarms.

Plug and play installation means that Fire Avert can be installed in less than 10 minutes in a few easy steps without tools or professional assistance.

Fire Avert works on electric stove and oven ranges. The Fire Avert will only plug into a 4 prong female outlet (NEMA 14-50R), typically found in all homes built after 1990. If you have the older 3 prong female outlet you will need to replace it with the standard 4 prong along with the power cord from the stove. Both these parts are easily switched out and can be found at most hardware stores.

Originally called the Active Alarm, the Fire Avert is a fire safety device

 

Fire Avert works best with outlets close to the floor and with the power cord running parallel to the floor. (Please note picture below). If your outlet is in a position where the Fire Avert does not fit due to orientation of the outlet, any trained person can simply rotate the outlet.

 

 

What does the Fire Avert do?

 

Fire Avert protects your home from kitchen fires day and night! The best way to prevent or stop a kitchen fire is by simply turning off the stove before there is any fire, and that is exactly what Fire Avert does.  

Fire Avert intelligently turns off the stove before there is any fire. Fire Avert is continually monitoring for the sound of your smoke alarm.  

When your smoke alarm sounds from food left on the stove (for longer than 30 sec.) Fire Avert will turn off the stove before there is any Fire.  This concept has been tested and proven by professionals around the country for being the best way to prevent or stop a kitchen fire.

Is the Fire Avert necessary?

 

Yes, the Fire Avert is a must for every home in the US.  In fact every 3.5 minutes a kitchen fire is reported.  Cooking on an electric stove is the #1 cause of home fires in the US, 500 people lose their lives every year from these fires and 5,000 people are severely  injured from these fires every year.  

The average cost of these fires for a home owner are over $6,000. Fire Avert will be the cheapest home owners insurance you will ever buy.

 

What if I accidentally set off my smoke alarm while cooking?

 

The Fire Avert has an intelligent 30 second delay that allows those of us who aren’t the best cooks to clear out the smoke before the Fire Avert cuts the power to the stove. The 30 seconds is plenty of time to clear out smoke or shut off the smoke alarm before the Fire Avert cuts the power supply to the stove.

How can I reset the Fire Avert?

 

The Fire Avert is simply reset by flipping the breaker in your electrical panel off and back on again.  Once the Fire Avert is installed you never again have to pull the stove out.  The Fire Avert is also maintenance free with no batteries.

Will kids toys or loud music trip the Fire Avert?

 

No, Fire Avert is smart enough to distinguish between kids screaming, loud music, kid toys, or any other sound.  Only the true sound of your smoke alarm will trip the Fire Avert.

Is the Fire Avert reusable?

 

Yes, the Fire Avert can be used over and over again.  You never have to recharge or refill it!

 

Related:

 

All About Grab Bars and Hand Rails for Safety

 

All About Grab Bars and Hand Rails for Safety

 

 

A Guide to Bathroom Grab Bars and Hand Rails

 

Falls in the home are a major safety risk for anyone, but especially seniors. A fall can happen in any part of the house, but one of the most common places is the bathroom, where 1 in 3 individuals over the age of 65 experience at least one fall per year.

There are a lot of things you can do to make your home safer, but one of the most simple, inexpensive, and effective solutions is adding grab bars or hand rails in the right areas.

Towel bars and other objects that are commonly used for balance and support are not designed to hold human weight, and if they break while being used it could make for a very nasty spill.

Read on to find out more about what type of grab bar/hand rail is right for the unique needs of each user, where they should be installed, and how you should go about installing them.

 

 

Seniors standing on one leg can be dangerous at the best of times, but particularly when having to stand on one leg while raising the other leg up and over a high tub wall – wow!

Getting into and out of the shower is not quite as risky but still comes with hazards for getting off balance.

The elderly often have to stand on one leg while getting their other leg up and over a small (or big) lip or end up holding onto a moving surface (such as the swinging or sliding shower doors).

Bathroom grab bars are one of the bathroom safety products that I recommend the most for preventing falls and you can see why.

If elderly people are having any difficulty with mobility or balance, grab bars are a must!

 

 

Who Should Use Grab Bars and Hand Rails?

 

Seniors with any issues with mobility or balance would benefit from shower grab bars or bathtub grab bars.

Actually, I would say any elderly person would benefit from bathroom grab bars as a tool to prevent falls in this high risk area.

 

 

Who Should NOT Use Grab Bars and Hand Rails?

 

There is no reason not to use bathroom grab bars.

They are great for improving safety and preventing falls.

They even come in a brushed metal that is quite nice looking and a variety of styles and finish that can compliment any bathroom decor.

Even the elderly who are not originally keen to get bathtub safety bars or shower handles end up finding them very handy.

Often a bathroom grab bar is put in for one person in a couple, but the spouse tells me later “ that they always use it too!

Recommended Features

 

 

 

 

Permanent Versus Suction

When it comes to installing bathroom grab bars onto the walls of a shower or bathtub, I always recommend permanent installation, as opposed to the suction grab bars.

There are suction cup grab bars, but I have heard of instances of the suction cup not sticking properly, which can cause a fall (the opposite of the purpose of the bathroom grab bar!).

If your landlord absolutely will not allow the installation of a bathroom grab bar, then you could consider the suction cup grab bars as they may be better than nothing.

 

 

 

The Exception:  The Clamp-on Bathtub Safety Bar

 

The one type of non-permanent bathroom grab bar that I do recommend is a clamp-on bathtub safety bar.

This type of bathroom grab bar is secured onto the side of the bathtub with a dial that clamps down securely onto rubber pads.

The grab bar extends up from the clamp (usually in a U-shape) and provides a stable surface to hold onto.

They can be purchased in a height adjustable version.

If they are tightened well, they are effective for holding onto when stepping into and out of the bathtub.

 

 

 

 

Two Stable Surfaces

 

I always recommend that a person have two stable, sturdy surfaces to hold onto when stepping into and out of a bathtub or shower (for example, two grab bars).

It is best if the elderly person is able to reach both surfaces from outside the tub and can hold onto both prior to stepping into the tub. Using two hands like this is the most effective way to prevent falls.

 

 

Non-Slip Surfaces

 

Try and find bathroom grab bars that have a non-slip surface as part of the grab bar. The metal types will have a “knurled” surface, a set of ridges to help with getting a firm grip.

Hardware stores often sell white powder-coated metal grab bars but these do not usually have a non-slip surface. A non-slip decal can be applied after the fact but isn’t as good an option as getting bathtub safety bars with the non-slip surface already built in.

 

 

Check Weight Capacity

 

Most bathroom safety equipment comes with a weight capacity. Be sure to check this for your loved one’s weight.

 

 

Getting a Qualified Healthcare Professional Recommendation

 

Having a qualified healthcare professional, such as an occupational therapist, recommend the proper set up for your aging parent’s bathroom grab bars is the best way to ensure the bathroom is as safe as possible.

Not only will the healthcare professional be able to recommend the safest set-up, they can often also help with organizing and checking the installation of the grab bars if you prefer.

 

 

Types and Sizes of Grab Bars and Hand Rails

 

bathroom grab bars

 

Types:

 

Bathroom grab bars generally come in metal and plastic, or a combination of the two.  The most common metal types for the medical grade bathroom grab bars are stainless steel or nickel. They also come in other metals such as chrome or brass.

Often the bathroom grab bar purchased at a hardware store is white powder-coated stainless steel.  Metal clamp-on bathtub safety bars are also usually this type.

Clamp-on bathtub safety bars will also come in plastic as will the suction cup bathroom grab bars.

Some suction bathroom grab bars and clamp-on safety bars will be a combination of plastic and white powder-coated steel.

 

 

Sizes and Shapes:

 

Bathroom grab bars come in many different shapes and sizes.

The most typical sizes for straight grab bars are 12″, 16″, 18″, 24″ and 32″.  Once in a while, a 48” grab bar might be installed but this is rare.

Bathroom grab bars can also be angled or L-shaped.

 

How to Fit Grab Bars and Hand Rails to Your Home

 

 

1) Use the recommendation of a qualified healthcare professional when possible

 

As every person has a different bathroom set up, having the recommendation of a qualified health care professional such as an occupational therapist can be really helpful.

 

 

 

2) Pay an Installer

 

I always recommend that people pay to have professional installation of their grab bars.

At times, a family member feels handy enough to install the grab bars themselves. This is a good option if they do indeed know what they are doing. However, you’d hate for any water to seep in behind your grab bar and rot out your bathtub or shower.

 

 

3) Installing Grab Bars Without a Wall Stud

 

It is great if you can match up the best bathroom grab bar placement with a stud behind the wall.  However, this isn’t always the case. It is more important to get the grab bar in the right place than to hit a stud.

Toggle bolts can be used on both fiberglass or ceramic bathtub or shower surrounds. These are bolts with a butterfly on the end that can be put through the drill opening, the butterfly will open once through the drill hole and provide a secure surface to drill the grab bar into. I have seen many grab bars done this way. If installed properly, they are very secure and there is no leaking.

Don’t forget to use plenty of silicone  to ensure that the site is waterproof.

 

 

4) Recommended Placement of Bathtub Grab Bar

 

A proper recommendation of bathtub grab bar placement is difficult without a proper bathroom assessment.

However, the most typical recommendation for bathrooms with a bathtub is as follows:

 

  • 24″” vertical (up and down) grab bar at the entrance of the bathtub on the side opposite to the taps
  • 24-32″” grab bar angled at 45 degrees with the top closest to the taps and the bottom closest to the vertical grab bar above

 

This works well for people that still get down into the tub to bathe.

 

The trick is to make the bottom of the grab bar low enough for them to use it to help getting up from the tub while the top is high enough they can use it as a second stable surface to hang onto when getting into the tub (a 48” grab bar might be needed in this case).

 

Another idea for bathers is to do it as above and also add a clamp-on bathtub safety bar at the end near the taps. This way they can hold onto the vertical grab bar and the clamp-on grab bar when getting into and out of the shower and can use the angled bar and the clamp-on bathtub safety bar when getting up from the bottom of the bathtub.

 

 

5) Recommended Placement of Shower Grab Bars

 

The main goal in recommending shower grab bars is to provide two stable shower handles for the person to hold onto while getting into or out of the shower.

The most typical recommendation for bathrooms with a small shower is as follows:

  • 24″” vertical (up and down) shower grab bar on the opposite side of the door hinges right at the entrance to the shower
  • 24″” vertical shower handle on the far wall of the shower (if it is close enough to reach before getting into the shower so you can hold two stable surfaces)

Sometimes you might place this one closer or farther away along the wall if you will be using shower stools and will also be using it to get up and down from your shower stool

 

 

6) Choosing a Grab Bar Size

 

The size of bathroom grab bars can vary in both diameter and length.

Consider the size of the senior’s hands when thinking of diameter.

Some of the nickel grab bars I’ve seen are quite nice looking but the diameter is larger and won’t work for some tiny elderly lady hands.

On the other hand, some of the smaller grab bars make it difficult for big man hands to get a proper grip either.

 

 

7) Grab Bars for the Toilet

 

Bathroom grab bars can also be placed beside the toilet for a hand hold when getting up and down.

The simplest grab bar is a 12-18″ bar at a 45 degree angle on the wall beside the toilet (the bottom closest to the toilet and the top farthest away from the toilet).

Angled or L-shaped grab bars can also be very handy for beside the toilet.

 

If you are traveling, and need grab bars that are portable, there are two options:

 

 

 

How Much Do Grab Bars and Hand Rails Cost?

 

A nice metal grab bar with a knurled surface usually costs between around $25-30 for a 12″ to $38 – 45 for a 36″.

 

Installation costs vary depending on the charge of the installer. Medical suppliers generally charge anywhere from $60 – $90/ hour to install. Installing two grab bars with re-enforcers typically takes around 0.5 – 1 hour.

 

Sometimes medical suppliers will charge per bathroom grab bar and the charge will be around $35 for the first grab bar and $15 for each additional grab bar.

 

Clamp-on bathtub safety bars are usually between $45 and $70 for the white powder-coated metal type or $60 – 85 for plastic.

 

Suction cup grab bars usually run between $25 – $50 depending on size though I do not recommend these unless you have no other options or are traveling and require a portable option.

 

A note that many of the suction cup grab bars come with a limited warranty while the metal, permanently installed grab bars usually come with a lifetime warranty.

 

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading … I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

 

 

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Simple Gadget for a Better Back

Sometimes, the best solution to a problem doesn’t require Bluetooth, batteries or bytes but rather, plain old physics.

That’s the case with the Verti Back Harness, a simple strap-based contraption that promises better posture and less lower back pain. I tried it out for a few weeks to see if it makes good on its promises.

 

First, a look at how it works.

Verti Back provides lumbar support and corrects your posture. Regular usage for even as little as 20 minutes daily will self-train the body into eventually developing good sitting habits so that your posture remains straight even when not using Verti Back.

What makes Verti Back different from competing brands is that it has been designed to maximize effectiveness rather than portability. So while Verti Back does not fold up into a small tight carry-case, it is built with thicker material with additional padding — and that means better support and comfort.

After the loops are in place and the pad is positioned where you need it, you tug on the sides of the straps to cinch the whole thing up. Then, if you like, you can clip the straps on each leg together which puts you into even better alignment.

 

While that might all sound complicated, I was all strapped up in about five minutes of checking out the device — without needing to look at instructions.

When I first pulled those straps, I had an almost instant reaction:  “Oh!” I thought. “This really works.”

 

When you pull those straps, your knees become anchors for the device and the pad gets pulled forward. The effect is like having a giant hand press into your lower back to get you to sit up straight.

As someone who spends way too much time slouching in front of a computer screen, having such an immediate and easy way to correct my posture was wonderful.

I also tend to sit all twisted up like a pretzel — not with both feet on the floor like every infographic about proper desk mechanics shows you. The Verti Back harness fixed that too. Once I clipped the straps together, my legs came into parallel alignment and there really was no other way to sit but with my feet flat.

In a few days, I started to crave using the harness. The low back support really feels that good.

The Verti Back company says you should use the harness for about 20 minutes per day and you will eventually improve your overall posture. I’m not quite sure that’s true, as I definitely found myself assuming my neanderthal slump when not in the harness but, at least while using it, it made me look like I had grown up in a family that slapped you on the back of the head if you weren’t sitting up straight.

It also didn’t really provide lasting pain relief. While I definitely noticed my low back pain fading while wearing it, the next day, the pain returned like a superhero in a Marvel film. Still, any relief is welcome relief for this blogger who sits at a desk all day.

 

 

The one complaint I have with the device is that it did eventually start hurting my knees. I liked the pressure on my low back so much that I may just have had it cinched too tight. I tried moving the straps below my knees on to my shins; that helped a bit, but I found that the angle wasn’t as good. So I will be sticking to using my knees and just getting in and out of the harness throughout the day when they start to get a bit sore. The knee discomfort always faded as soon as I took off the harness.

 

Considering what contour chairs that offer lumbar support cost these days, it should be noted that the Verti Back device is a pretty good bargain at just US $40.

If you’re interested in others’ experience with the Verti Back, there are over 40 customer reviews at Amazon.

 

If you have experience with the Verti Back or another posture product, let me know in the comments below.

 

 

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Massage Chairs for Pain Relief

 

 

Massage Chairs for Pain Relief

 

 

 

Most healthcare providers are recognizing massage therapy as a legitimate aid for body pain and an effective adjunct to pain treatments.

 

 

A good massage can do wonders for relieving tension and back pain, but a therapeutic massage is not always convenient or available.

 

Most believe massage chairs are a luxury item. A massage chair is certainly not necessary for every day living, or for relieving back pain. However, for some, the benefits that a massage chair can bring certainly outweigh the price.

 

 

Fifty-four percent of healthcare providers say they will encourage their patients to pursue massage therapy to treat body pain, in addition to medical treatment.

 

A study on massage and pain conducted at the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami in 2001 found that: “Massage lessened lower back pain, depression and anxiety, and improved sleep. The massage therapy group also showed improved range of motion and their serotonin and dopamine levels were higher.” (International Journal of Neuroscience, 106, 131-145.)

 

 

 

Benefits of Massage Therapy

 

 

According to the American Massage Therapy Association, research shows that massage therapy provides several important health benefits, including:

 

  • Massage improves blood circulation, which aids in recovery of muscle soreness from physical activity.
  • Massage relaxes muscles for an improved range of motion. The muscle relaxation also helps with insomnia.
  • Massage leads to increased endorphin levels. The increase of endorphin levels is actually one of the greatest benefits of massage therapy. Endorphins are the chemicals the body produces that make you feel good, which is very effective in managing chronic pain.

 

The American Academy of Pain Management recognizes massage therapy as an effective treatment for body pain caused by soft tissue injury (such as a muscle strain).

 

 

Massage Therapy Can Reduce Muscle Pain

 

 

Muscles that are in spasm will be painful to the touch. The pain is caused by ischemic muscle tissue. Ischemia means the muscle is lacking proper blood flow, usually due to the muscle spasm. This in turn creates the following undesirable process:

  • Because the muscle is not receiving enough blood, the muscle is also not receiving enough oxygen
  • The lack of oxygen causes the muscle to produce lactic acid
  • The lactic acid makes the muscle feel sore following physical activity.

After the muscle is relaxed through massage therapy, the lactic acid will be released from the muscle, and the muscle should start receiving enough blood and oxygen.

 

 

 

Benefits of Massage Therapy and Massage Chairs

 

 

A good hands-on massage can play a crucial role in alleviating body pain.

Similarly, a good massage chair is designed to provide some measure of pain relief and relaxation, however, without the need for person-to-person interaction.

 

Getting a massage in the privacy of home, along with convenience and time efficiency, are the major reasons why some are opting to go with a massage chair as a potential means to ease their back pain.

 

Comprehensive research has demonstrated that there are three central reasons why massage is beneficial:

 

  • Massage improves venous and lymphatic flow—manipulating muscles increases blood flow. Increasing blood flow facilitates the circulation and absorption of nutritional elements into the muscles and tissues. Increasing lymphatic circulation clears toxins out of these areas. Together, this revitalizes the massaged area.
  • Massage therapy decreases tension and improves flexibility – massaging helps loosen tight and strained muscles. Stretching and kneading problem areas allow muscles to relax as well.
  • Massage therapy increases endorphin levels – possibly the most beneficial aspect of massage. Endorphins are the ‘feel good’ chemicals that run through the body – increasing their levels induces positive results. Among other benefits, increasing endorphin levels has been correlated with quicker recovery, reduced pain, and reduced anxiety.

 

These benefits of massage work both physically and psychologically to help reduce common symptoms of body pain.

 

Through the study of the human body and analysis of feedback, many massage chair designs have been developed with the goal of achieving similar benefits.

 

See Top 10 Massage Chairs Reviewed

 

 

Potential Risks and Contraindications for Massage Therapy

 

In general, any type of massage is non-invasive and considered very low risk. While there aren’t specific contraindications or risks associated with use of massage chairs, in general any of the contraindications to general massage therapy should be followed when using a massage chair.

 

Contraindications for massage therapy include:

 

  • Infectious skin disease
  • A rash
  • An unhealed wound
  • Immediately after surgery
  • A tendency to form blood clots or if using blood thinners
  • Circulatory ailments such as phlebitis or varicose veins
  • Inflamed or infected injuries
  • Areas of bleeding or heavy tissue damage
  • At the sites of recent fractures, sprains, or bruises
  • Immediately after chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • Osteoporosis (use caution)

 

See Top 10 Massage Chairs Reviewed

 

Main Components of Massage Chairs

 

Most massage chairs are designed to involve three main components intended to closely match these massage techniques:

 

  • Massage chair motors – these are the essential mechanical aspects of the massage chair. They power and move the nodes and rollers to the necessary areas, as well as allow the needed adjustments to the seat back.The massage chair has numerous preset patterns and programs used to massage the entire back. However, the motors, nodes, and rollers are meant to be modified through the control pad that accompanies all massage chairs. As the user specifies, the massage chair focuses on the top of the spine down through the lower back, with a tapping motion, rolling motion, or kneading motion.

 

  • Massage chair nodes and rollers – these vary in size and shape, designed to emulate fingers and hands. A massage chair with large rollers and nodes provides a more generalized approach at massaging, while massage chairs with smaller nodes and rollers provide the more detailed, point-specific massaging. They target specified areas of the user’s back and can move in a variety of ways, which are pre-programmed into the mechanics of the massage chair. Again, the user can adjust these nodes and rollers on the massage chair to best fit his or her needs.

 

  • Computer assisted adjustability of the massage chair – This is perhaps the most essential factor. Almost all massage chairs are designed to automatically adjust for the weight, height, and width of the selected user. By measuring the pressure on the seatback, the height of the protrusion of the rollers and nodes adjusts. In addition, by locating specific areas on the anatomy of the back, the massage chair makes the necessary adjustments for the height and width of the user. Selecting various inputs on the control pad can also refine these options.

 

Of course, a mechanical substitute can never reproduce the exact feeling of human touch. As years have gone by, designers have more closely approximated the necessary factors in a massage chair to provide its user with relief from back pain.

 

Although a higher price usually correlates with a higher quality, with massage chairs this is not always the case. Recently new lines of similar, if not better models have emerged at significantly lower prices than past models.

 

See Top 10 Massage Chairs Reviewed

 

Find a Comfortable Massage Chair

 

 

As with many comfort-related products in the market, the final decision should rest primarily on the opinions of the user. It is advisable to test the many different brands and styles of massage chairs that are available.

 

 

 

Guidelines for Choosing a Massage Chair

 

 

 

Here are some general guidelines to follow when searching for a massage chair:

 

Price range of massage chairs – as mentioned before, massage chairs are quite expensive. Price should always factor in with all of the above aspects for the final decision.

 

Presets and adjustability of massage chair

take time to experiment with the preset programs. Some massage chairs may have a preset that is specific to a problem area in the back. Other chairs may offer greater variability. A massage chair with a large range of adjustability may prove beneficial when purchasing a single chair for multiple users.

 

Accessories

certain massage chairs will come with a separate ottoman or a leg-rest that extends in and out of the chair. Some positions may be more comfortable for certain back conditions; for example, sitting in a reclining position with the legs elevated may be more comfortable for some people with spinal stenosis. Several chairs even have a leg-rest that has its own massage or vibration capabilities.

 

Again, as with any comfort related product, there is no absolute definition of what is good or bad. Of course, only through trying different types and styles will a person truly understand if a massage chair is beneficial or necessary at all.

 

 

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Electric Blankets – Comfort and Energy Savings

Electric Blankets – What You Need to Know

 

 

 

Electric heated blankets can help you keep warm and cozy on those especially cold winter nights, without raising your heating bill.

Electric blankets come in several forms: blankets, throws and even mattress pads. The best models are safe, comfortable and easy to use, and provide sufficient, even heat.

 

Here I’ve sorted through user reviews and expert opinions to create a buyer’s guide to the best electric blankets, mattress pads and throws on the market today. 

 

For my full, detailed reviews, see Electric Blankets – Reviewing the Best

 

 

Electric Blankets are Safe, Soft and Subtly Warm

 

Getting a good night’s sleep on a cold winter’s night can be a challenge, but heated bedding can be a big help.

Electric blankets, electric throws and heated mattress pads offer a lot of appeal for people who would love to crawl between preheated sheets on a chilly night. Those suffering from cold feet in the middle of the night might find them a godsend. Additionally, some claim that an extra warm bed helps alleviate body aches.

Electric blankets, electric throw blankets and electric mattress pads make a warm bed a reality with just a flick of a switch. Many have preheating functions, which allow you to set a desired temperature while getting ready for bed.

Heat controls typically feature up to 10 temperature settings so you can get the level of comfort that’s right for you. Additionally, many queen-sized and larger models may have two controls, one for each side of the blanket. That means one sleeper can stay as cozy and warm as they prefer without giving the other a case of the night sweats or a cold shoulder.

Electric blankets haven’t always enjoyed the best reputation. Older models tended to be thick and scratchy, and sometimes posed a fire hazard with extended use. Modern heated blankets are much improved. They warm you with thin, supple wires sandwiched between layers of ultra-soft fleece, plush, or knitted material.

 

Learning from the past, safety ratings are now paramount, and electric blankets and mattress pads come with automatic shut-off timers and amply rated power adapters to keep the bedding — and you — from overheating.

 

Others, like the Soft Heat Luxury Micro-fleece Blanket pictured below use low-voltage electricity, which experts consider safest of all — and are an especially good choice for those with pets.

 

Additionally, most modern electric bedding can be machine-washed and even machine-dried, as long as the manufacturer’s recommendations are observed.

 

 

Heated Bedding Can Take Several Different Forms

 

Electric blankets offer convenience and versatility. They can easily be put on or pulled off a bed, even in the middle of the night if you get too warm and the blanket has yet to cool down. However, since they lay above you on the bed, they lose a little bit of efficiency as heat that’s radiated upwards is lost.

Heated throw blankets are similar, but smaller. They won’t generate as much heat as a full-sized electric blanket, but are great for wrapping around yourself, say while curled up on your couch on a chilly night.

Electric mattress pads sit between you and your mattress. That makes spur-of-the-moment use more difficult (unless you want to strip down the bed to pull it on or off), but improves energy efficiency — you, not the ceiling, are the beneficiary of heat that’s radiated upwards.

The Electric Blanket Institute also holds that heated mattress pads are “inherently safer.” Electric blankets can get bunched up, allowing heat to buildup — and that was a major source of electric blanket fires with older models that lack modern safeguards. Since a heated pad is held tight to the mattress, there’s much less chance of that happening.

While there are a multitude of electric bedding brands offered in the U.S., the Electric Blanket Institute reveals that the vast majority of products are currently made by one of three manufacturers — Biddeford Mills, Sunbeam or Perfect Fit Industries. The Institute adds that, while materials and controllers will vary, all heated bedding made by that manufacturer, regardless of branding, will perform similarly.

 

 

Finding the Best Electric Blankets, Throws and Mattress Pads

 

Electric blankets, heated throws, and heated mattress pads receive little attention from professional reviewers, Good Housekeeping being a notable exception. Its testing is several years old, but most of the electric blankets and heated mattress pads rated there are either still sold, or are offered in nearly identical models. The Electric Blanket Institute does not rate electric blankets or mattress pads, but offers helpful buying guidance and discusses the differences between models offered by the major manufacturers.

Owners fill in the rest of the picture. While not every electric blanket, electric throw or electric heating pad gets tons of feedback, others draw hundreds and sometimes thousands of reviews across sites such as Amazon.com, Walmart.com, ComfortHouse.com and elsewhere.

When analyzing reviews to find the best choices, I look for feedback regarding performance, ease of use, comfort and the overall ownership experience. Not every electric blanket, electric heated throw blanket, or heated mattress pad excels on every point, but the very best ones will outperform the competitors in most regards.

 

 

For my full, detailed reviews, see Electric Blankets – Reviewing the Best

 

 

The Best Electric Blankets Let You Enjoy a Warm Worry-Free Night

 

The best electric blanket warms your bed, holds in the heat, feels soft to the touch, washes well and fits in with your bedroom décor. There are many good heated blankets on the market today, but I find the best to be the Soft Heat Luxury Micro-fleece Blanket

 

  
One of the most-reviewed heated blankets on Amazon.com, this cozy microfleece has garnered a lot of feedback there.
 
At ComfortHouse.com, site owner Jeffrey Gornstein notes that the Soft Heat blanket receives the highest ratings and the most reviews of any blanket it carries.

 

Made by Perfect Fit Industries, the Soft Heat electric blanket converts the AC used by most electric blankets to safer low-voltage DC. Perfect Fit is the only maker of low-voltage electric blankets in the U.S., and its products are the only electric blankets sold here that meet Underwriters Laboratories standards for “non-hazardous low voltage,” the Electric Blanket Institute reports. However, all the heated bedding in this report meets the latest Underwriters Laboratories standards for electric bedding safety and should be perfectly safe to use as long as manufacturer instructions are followed.

The Soft Heat Luxury Micro-fleece does take a bit more time to warm up than other electric blankets, but users say the added safety and “soft warmth” from the blanket are worth it.

Additionally, it chews through less electricity over the course of a night’s use than most other models. Speaking of chewing, if a cat or dog often shares your bed, the low-voltage of the Soft Heat electric blanket will minimize the shock hazard in the event of claw or chewing damage — though your pet could still damage the blanket itself. That’s why experts recommend heated mattress pads as the best choice for pet owners.

 

 

Despite the light weight of the Soft Heat blanket, its polyester fabric manages to keep in the heat all night — or at least until the 10-hour auto shut-off kicks in. Note that auto shut-off is a standard safety feature that is included in all of our recommended electric blankets.

 

The Sunbeam Microplush Heated Blanket  (Est. $65 and up) is another strong choice for those looking for the perfect blanket to warm their beds this winter. This is a standard, AC-powered, non-low-voltage electric blanket, though with modern safety features and, as noted above, it meets the latest Underwriters Laboratories electric bedding standards.

Sunbeam Microplush Heated Blanket, Twin, Lagoon, BSM9BTS-R596-16A00

Heating technology aside, this Sunbeam electric blanket has very similar specifications to the Soft Heat Luxury Micro-fleece: It comes in the same sizes, has the same number of heat settings (10), the same 10 hour shut-off time and the same warranty duration (five years).

However, the Sunbeam Microplush heats faster and, according to some users, feels hotter to the touch while heating than the Soft Heat Micro-fleece. Some versions of the blanket sold at different retailers may have controllers with different features — for example, while most electric blankets have an auto-off feature that will turn off the blanket after 10 hours, the version sold at ComfortHouse.com lets the user change when the blanket will turn off — but core performance will be the same. Both the Soft Heat and Sunbeam blankets win praise from users for their soft fabric.

 

 

For those on a tighter budget, Sunbeam Electric Heated Fleece Blanket  (Est. $50 and up) looks like a good alternative.  You can find it a Amazon.com, where it earns a  4.2-star score based on more than 850 reviews.

This Sunbeam electric blanket looks to be fairly feature-rich for a budget model. It has a preheating function, a six foot cord, and dual controllers for queen and larger sizes.

The one corner that does look to be cut compared to other Sunbeam electric blankets is that there are only five heating levels, but that doesn’t surface as a concern in user reviews.

Durability also looks good — though like nearly all electric blankets we looked at, complaints about blankets that arrived dead or missing a control, or that failed prematurely are not unheard of. More common are complaints that the quilted fleece blanket was thinner than the owner would have liked or that the material was not soft enough.

 

 

 

For sleepers who prefer the secure feeling of a thick blanket, the Sunbeam Quilted Fleece Heated Blanket  (Est. $63 and up) could be an option.

I’ve seen comments that even with the electricity off — or out altogether — it’s warm enough to keep you cozy anyway. As with virtually every electric blanket, reliability is a concern, but its 3.9 star rating is good for this category.

 

 

For more details and options, see my full reviews of electric blankets: Electric Blankets – Reviewing the Best

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Electric Blankets – Reviewing the Best

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About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

 

 

Electric Blankets – Reviewing the Best

 

Electric Blankets – Reviewing the Best

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve sorted through user reviews and expert opinions to name the best electric blankets, mattress pads and throws on the market today. 

 

For a primer on what to look for and how to use electric blankets, read my previous post, Electric Blankets for Comfort and Energy Savings.

 

 

 

Best Overall Electric Blanket

 

 

Soft Heat Luxury Micro-Fleece Low-Voltage Electric Heated Twin Size Blanket, Beige

The Soft Heat Luxury Micro-fleece‘s low-voltage heating system provides safe, soothing warmth wrapped in a soft, cozy polyester blanket. Adjusting temperature is simple and dual controls for the queen and king sizes keep couples comfortable all winter long. The thin, unobtrusive interior wires disperse heat evenly and go unnoticed by users.

Pros
  • Safe, low-voltage heating
  • Thin interior wires
  • Easy-to-use controls
Cons
  • Bulky power adaptor
  • Slow to heat up
  • Controls aren’t durable

The Soft Heat Luxury Micro-fleece Blanket provides low-voltage warming in a soft, well-made electric blanket you’ll want to keep on your bed year-round. The low voltage technology is deemed safer than what’s used in other blankets — though those are safe as well. The downside is slower warming.

 

Performance

Low-voltage heat warms safely but not quickly. The Soft Heat Luxury Micro-fleece Blanket uses “non-hazardous low voltage,” which is considered to be the least likely to shock the user if the blanket becomes wet or insulation is damaged. It’s also less likely to harm pets if they chew on the blanket (though pet owners might be better served still with an electric mattress pad such as the Best Reviewed Sunbeam Quilted Heated Mattress Pad, which sits completely under the rest of your bedding).

However, the same low-voltage technology that makes the blanket exceptionally safe also makes it slow to warm up — something Good Housekeeping testers note in their comparative review; the Soft Heat took over an hour to reach 70 degrees and more than 25 minutes to cool down. Users find this blanket provides warmth to the bed without feeling “hot” to the touch.

 

Ease of Use

Intuitive backlit heat controls. The straightforward controls of the Soft Heat Luxury Micro-fleece Blanket allow users to preheat their beds or fine-tune temperatures with a simple twist of a dial. The control’s backlit display is easily visible at night, users say, and the brightness of the display dims automatically after adjustment. Queen- and king-sized blankets sport dual controls, so couples can set their side of the blanket for their individual heat preferences. For convenience and added safety, the auto-off feature shuts off the blanket after 10 hours.

 

Comfort

Unobtrusive wiring. While users appreciate the low-voltage safety of the Soft Heat Luxury Micro-fleece, they also love its soft fabric. Made of brushed polyester fleece, the blanket’s top and bottom layers protect the internal heating wires without feeling too heavy or bulky, users say. The wires themselves are thin and flexible and spaced far enough enough that sleepers do not feel them, even when the blanket is sandwiched between a top sheet and a comforter.

 

Ownership

Washes well but control connections are finicky. Users who machine-wash the Soft Heat Luxury Micro-fleece according to the manufacturer’s instructions say it looks as good as new afterward, without any pilling, pulling or other common issues. However, many owners note the connections linking the bedside controls to the actual blanket are temperamental, despite coming with clips to secure the cord to the blanket. Users also complain the large power adapter takes up too much room under the bed. The product is backed by a five-year warranty, and several users report the customer service department was friendly, though perhaps not always helpful.

 

 

Also Consider (Traditional Style):

Sunbeam Microplush Heated Blanket, Twin, Lagoon, BSM9BTS-R596-16A00

The Sunbeam Microplush Heated Blanket is a favorite with many thanks to its velvety plush fabric, toasty warmth and attractive price point (starts at $75).

It lacks the low-voltage technology of the Soft Heat blanket, and the interior wires are felt more readily, but it heats up faster and is warmer to the touch. It is also safe when the manufacturers’ instructions are followed, and meets UL standards for heated bedding.

 

 

 

Also Consider (Budget-Friendly)

Sunbeam Heated Fleece Electric Blanket, Twin Size, 10 Hour Shut Off with a 6 Foot Cord, Off White

Reviews indicate that the Sunbeam Electric Heated Fleece Blanket is a good quality heated blanket considering its price. Features are good, including dual controls in larger sizes and automatic shut off after 10 hours.

There are only five heating levels, but most users don’t seem to mind — or even notice — the reduced versatility compared to pricier blankets. It meets UL safety standards.

 

 

 

Best Electric Mattress Pad

 

 

 

 

The Sunbeam Quilted Heated Mattress Pad is made of machine-washable polyester. It meets UL safety standards for heated bedding and has a lot of great features, including a preheat function, 10 heating levels, automatic shut off and independent heating with dual controllers for each side of the bed (in queen sizes and above). Durability isn’t bulletproof, but it scores better in that regard than most heated bedding.

Pros
  • Heats quickly
  • Heating wires are unobtrusive
  • Machine-washable
Cons
  • Cords attach at an awkward location
  • Some complain about the feel of the top fabric
  • Not the best customer support

 

The Sunbeam Quilted Heated Mattress Pad provides heat from underneath by clinging to your mattress like a fitted sheet. That improves efficiency as heat radiated upwards is absorbed by you instead of diffused into the air in the room. Durability is good — though not perfect — and is helped by the fact that all heated mattress pads are less likely to be tossed or kicked about than other heated bedding.

 

Performance

Warm bed is ready when you are. The Sunbeam Quilted Heated Mattress Pad‘s preheating function is a hit with users who  say the mattress pad heats their bed to the right temperature in the time it takes them to brush their teeth and switch into pajamas.

The pad warms evenly, reviewers say, and keeps the right temperature up to the 10-hour safety shut-off. If sleepers feel too hot or cool during the night, there are 10 different heat levels so you can adjust the temperature up or down. Dual controls on the king- and queen-sized mattress pads allow couples to independently adjust the temperature on their side of the bed.

 

Ease of Use

Awkward cords. The Sunbeam Quilted Heated Mattress Pad is ready to use right out of the box. The only difficulty users report is positioning the device’s cords. For safety reasons, the cords cannot be tucked under the frame of the bed or kept within the bed coverings.

Some owners say it’s easier for them to reverse the pad and have the cords attach at the head of the bed — which is also how some also address the issue of being able to feel the cord connection with their feet. Pads with dual controls require two nearby power outlets.

This Sunbeam Quilted Heated Mattress Pad is machine-washable and can be dried in a home dryer as per manufacturer’s instructions, users say.

 

Comfort

Hides wires well. This Sunbeam Quilted mattress pad feels much like non-electrical mattress toppers, despite the embedded heating wires. Most owners say they could not feel the wires through the pad and their sheet.

The reviewers at Good Housekeeping write that they found the covering fabric “cheap” and recommended topping it with high-quality sheets. Users, on the other hand, don’t typically raise similar objections.

 

Ownership

Customer service could be better. The Sunbeam Quilted Heated Mattress Pad earns hundreds of positive reviews from users. However, customers who mentioned the after-sales service from Sunbeam in their reviews had little positive to say.

One issue that crops up is that getting Sunbeam to honor the mattress pad’s five year warranty requires shipping a defective item at the owner’s expense back to the company. However, according to our assessment of hundreds of owner reviews, this seems to be a persistent problem across the board for heated bedding.

 

 

 

Best Heated Throw Blanket

Soft, cozy and just the right size for the couch, the Sunbeam Microplush Heated Throw offers a comfortable way to keep warm in and out of bed.

Available in a wide variety of colors and patterns to match your living room decor, it folds up neatly when not in your lap.

Pros
  • Convenient size and soft material
  • Heats quickly
  • Three-hour automatic shut-off
Cons
  • Cord is awkwardly placed
  • Durability issues
  • Just three heat levels

 

Owners love snuggling under the plushy Sunbeam Microplush Heated Throw while watching TV, reading a book or working on a computer, reviews say. The 3 hour automatic shut-off is both a great convenience and a safety feature.

The three temperature settings are fewer than with other heated bedding products, including other heated throws, but users voice few complaints about it.

 

Performance

Heats quickly with three settings. Users say the Sunbeam Microplush Heated Throw warms up quickly and is thick and insulated well enough to maintain its warmth even after the 3 hour safety switch turns the heating elements off. Once the temperature is set, it heats quickly, and then shuts off for safety after three hours.

The Microplush Heated Throw blanket has three heat settings and a digital control. The control is connected to the power cord, which detaches to allow for easy washing.

 

Ease of Use

Simple intuitive controls. Using the Sunbeam Microplush Heated Throw is as easy as plugging in the blanket and setting the temperature to high, medium or low. However, many users find the cord placement at the foot of the blanket awkward.

Depending on your furniture’s location in relation to electrical outlets, this may put the control out of easy reach. Additionally, some users report that the controls are very sensitive and that even jostling it a little can turn it on.

 

Comfort

Microplush fabric is soft enough for all-day use. The Sunbeam Microplush Heated Throw wins top marks from reviewers looking for something to put over their laps while watching TV or working at a desk.

It’s not a heavy throw, users say, and neatly folds up over the arm of the couch when not in use. Many of those who share feedback on Amazon.com or Walmart.com note they purchased this blanket for friends and family who are recovering from surgery or illness.

 

Ownership

Easy to own, for as long as it lasts. Though the majority of reviewers are pleased with their Sunbeam Microplush Heated Throws, even claiming to use them daily, there are a significant number of owners who have encountered durability issues — even within the manufacturer’s five-year warranty. Many reviewers complain that the blanket either stopped warming, warmed inconsistently, or shut off before the 3 hour timer.

On the positive side, users find that the Sunbeam Microplush keeps its shape and feel after machine-washing. The throw comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns.

 

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About Me

Create Your Own Blog