Top Pillows to Relieve Neck Pain

Top Pillows to Relieve Neck Pain




Waking up in the morning with a pain in the neck is an awful feeling.


Not only does a kink in the neck make it hard to move, sending stabbing pains down the arms or back, it is often the reason for headaches, ranging from dull to migraine level.

Morning neck pain can last all day, and can even be the reason for back aches, sciatica, arm and leg numbness, and usually leaves people feeling irritable and tired.



What Causes Nightly Neck Pain?


People often blame their mattress when they wake up with neck pain, but it is rarely the fault of the mattress or a person’s sleeping position.

When you wake up with neck pain, it is usually because you slept with the wrong pillow. Having the right pillow to avoid neck pain is a vital necessity for getting a good night’s sleep.

The reason for this is simple. The neck is made of up muscles, tendons, cartilage and just seven tiny bones. What’s more, those seven bones are all a part of one single column of bones—the cervical portion of the spine.

As small as these bones are, not even connected directly to each other, but sitting on a bed of fluid, they are responsible for protecting one of the most vital parts of our anatomy – the central nervous system, as well as supporting the head and allowing us free movement of the head and neck.

Inside the cervical column, nerves run up and down from brain to all parts of the body. While any part of the spine can be compressed or pinched, causing various degrees of pain or numbness, the neck is the most vulnerable, especially during the night when we are asleep.

Keeping the neck in line with our heads and back is one of the best ways to prevent injury, stiffness and pain in the morning, and the best way to keep our neck straight is to have the right support system – a good, solid neck pain support pillow.




Top 10 Pillows to Relieve Neck Pain



This luxurious pillow provides a high level of comfort and support for the back, neck and head as you sleep. The Mediflow’s inner water chamber is completely adjustable to offer you the exact amount of support and thickness you need, no matter what your favorite sleeping position is.

The Mediflow Waterbase pillow was the subject of a clinical study at Johns Hopkins University, one of the leading medical training schools in the country, and participants found that the Mediflow Waterbase pillow was the best in its class, testing at the top of every category possible.

The study included categories such as: how long it took to fall asleep using the Mediflow Water chamber pillow, how many interruptions to readjust the pillow there were, how long it took to get back to sleep, sleep quality and if the pillow helped reduce neck pain. Overwhelmingly, the Mediflow Waterbase pillow ranked at the top, especially in the reduction of neck pain.

The Mediflow works by allowing you to fill an inner chamber with water, making it a soothing waterbed for your head. The outside is made of durable, easily cleaned polyester that is hypoallergenic and soft.

Keeping the Mediflow Waterbase pillow clean is simple. All you have to do is remove the outer cover and machine wash and dry. Then wipe down the inner water chamber with a damp cloth. It takes just minutes and you can have a fresh, clean pillow whenever you need it.

Typical consumer reviews of Mediflow Waterbase Pillow include:

“If I could rank it higher than 5 stars, I would.”

“Highly recommended for anyone who suffers from neck pain.”

“Get it while you can.”

Material: Polyester | My Rating: 5/5





Premium Shredded Memory Foam Toddler Pillow - Made in USA - Washable case derived from Bamboo Viscose Rayon Blend


The Coop Home Goods Shredded Memory Foam Pillow gives you excellent flexibility and superior comfort that cradles your neck as you sleep. The shredded foam lets you position the pillow any way you like, and is perfect for side, stomach or back sleepers alike.

The airflow between the pieces of foam also keeps the pillow cool during the night, and the proprietary blend of polyester and bamboo fabric of the cover won’t absorb moisture and increases the coolness of the pillow for the ultimate in comfort.

All of the materials in this high-tech pillow are hypoallergenic to provide a healthy, clean atmosphere for sleep. The inner foam material is superior to down or cotton filled pillows, because the springy foam will always keep its shape and mold perfectly to your body as you move in the night for complete support.

Down or cotton pillows flatten and give, and do not keep your neck in the proper position, so you are more likely to wake up with neck pain. Sometimes neck pain or pinched nerves in the neck result in migraines, tingling in the hands and feet, shoulder and lower back pain. Other times you just go through the day feeling groggy and weak.

The Coop Home Goods Shredded Memory Foam Pillow for neck pain provides advanced ingenuity to create a powerful sleep aid. Coop Home Goods is a company dedicated to producing the very best in bedding comfort, and stands behind the products with excellent warranties to guarantee your satisfaction.

Typical consumer reviews of the Coop Home Goods Shredded Memory Foam Pillow include:

“Best pillow I’ve ever used.”

“Stays in place great as I change positions at night.”

“Cool and comfortable, I wake up pain free now for the first time ever.”

Material: Shredded memory Foam |My Rating: 4.9/5





Hypoallergenic Bamboo Pillow - Shredded Memory Foam With Kool-Flow Micro-Vented Bamboo Cover - Made in the USA by Xtreme Comforts - Hypoallergenic and Dust Mite Resistant (Queen)

This soft, comfortable Shredded Memory Foam Pillow by Xtreme Comforts is made of the highest quality shredded memory foam right in the USA. The double airflow system including the vented bamboo cover that stays naturally cool thanks to the moisture resistant, ventilated bamboo cover and the shredded foam pieces that allow air to travel through the pillow without restriction stops body heat from building through the night.

The Shredded Memory Foam Pillow by Xtreme Comforts also offers the extra flexibility that isn’t an option with a solid memory foam pillow, so you can shape it to your neck and it maintains its position through the night, no matter how much you toss and turn.

The no questions asked guarantee gives you the optimal security in knowing that no matter what, the Shredded Memory Foam pillow for neck pain by Xtreme Comforts will always provide you the best in sleep luxury. It protects your neck and is easy to care for.

The hypoallergenic cover and mold resistant inner core help you sleep soundly and keeps the atmosphere healthy and clean. The inner core of the Xtreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam pillow is made from 1005 Certipur-US foam and it is vacuum sealed for safe, eco-friendly shipping.

The Shredded Memory Foam pillow is great for any sleep position. Whether you are a side sleeper, a stomach or a back sleeper, you will be able to adjust the pillow to your exact needs thanks to the inner foam maneuverability, and still enjoy the firm, supportive comfort that it provides your head and neck to alleviate any neck pain. The shredded foam is also great for anyone who likes to sleep with their arm under their pillow, the adjustable nature gives you plenty of leeway and the ability to shape the pillow to any angle.

Typical consumer reviews of the Xtreme Comforts pillow include:

“Love the flexibility and support of the Shredded Memory Foam pillow by Xtreme Comforts.”

“Thick and supportive.”

“Came flat and squished in package, but fluffed up like a marshmallow once unwrapped.”

Material: Shredded memory Foam | My Rating: 4.8/5





Memory Foam Pillow Contour for Back Pain, Neck and Travel - ON MASSIVE PROMOTION - Reduces Snoring, Aligns Spine, Stays Cool - Also Used As Maternity Pillow, Body Pillow, Seat Cushion, Wedge - Free Bonus Sleep Mask, Ear Plugs, Sleep Ebook - Not Decorative or Pet Pillow

Contoured to be specifically beneficial to people who experience neck pain in the mornings the Memory Foam Pillow from Smarter Rest is a strong, durable and easy to care for sleep aid.

There is no specific position that lends itself more to cramped muscles and neck pain in the morning. Side sleepers, people who sleep on their stomachs, or on their backs, are all equally subject to the pain of a sore neck from improper neck alignment.

Whenever a person sleeps in a position that allows their necks to curve upwards, sideways or down, it is out of alignment with their spine. That causes sensitive nerves inside their spinal column to be compressed or pinched. The end result is pain.

When nerves in the neck are pinched, supporting muscles in surrounding areas bunch up and swell in an effort to support the injured area. That leads people to often believe the pain they are experiencing is coming from those muscles, but in reality, the sore, swollen muscle tissue is simply a result.

The actual cause is in the way the bones of the neck are supported during the night. Pinched nerves in the neck can radiate pain throughout the shoulder girdle, down the arms and into the hands. Pain can also go down the back causing lower back pain, sciatica and numbness or pain in the legs as well. More often, pinched neck muscles from an improper sleeping position causes headaches that last for hours.

The Memory Foam Pillow contoured for neck pain by Smarter Rest is made of toxin free German quality memory foam. It is made to maintain spinal alignment and prevent neck pain, stiffness and even snoring during the night. The granulated fabric is soft and luxurious, while allowing for better airflow. The case is mite and allergen resistant, and is entirely washable so you can have a clean surface easily and quickly.

Typical consumer reviews of the Smarter Rest pillow include:


“Woke up feeling better than I have in years.”

“Using the Memory Foam Pillow from Smarter Rest got rid of the constant neck pain and headaches.”

“The perfect combination of soft comfort and firm support.”


Material: Memory Foam | My Rating: 4.7/5




MyPillow Premium Series Bed Pillow, Standard/Queen, White Level (Medium)

The MyPillow is uniquely engineered to provide the perfect level of support depending on body size. One of the most difficult parts of finding the right pillow for neck support is that no two people are exactly the same size. The differences are especially noticeable between the sexes and between adults and children.

The MyPillow uses shirt size to determine special needs so you can buy the size that will fit you the best. Available in four different loft levels, My Pillow has created something that isn’t found anywhere else, and is guaranteed to not go flat under use or machine washing.The MyPillow Premium Series bed pillow for neck pain is made in the USA out of a patented blend of poly filling. The open cell construction of the fibers allows air to flow freely through the pillow to keep you comfortably cool during the night, and will not ball up like down or cotton filled pillows. The poly-fill of the MyPillow is better than thick, solid foam pillows because it will mold to your body shape easier, and you can adjust it to any position you need during the night.

The MyPillow is great for back and stomach sleepers as well as side sleepers. It will also help support the back and shoulders for people who like to put their arms under the pillow while they sleep.

Typical consumer reviews of the MyPillow Premium Series bed pillow include:

“Love this pillow! It is soft and comfortable all night long.”

“Great warranty and easy to care for.”

“The MyPillow fits perfectly and feels great. I get up without neck pain for the first time in ages.”

Material: MyPillow’s Patented Interlocking Fill | My Rating: 4.6/5




Sleep Innovations Contour Memory Foam Pillow, Standard Size


Sleep Innovations is an industry leader in top-of-the-line support pillows. Their Contour Memory Foam Pillow is excellent for preventing neck pain, because it has a special shape designed to cradle the head and neck, giving it a more comfortable feel no matter what your preferred sleep position is.

The Contour Memory Foam Pillow has a recessed center that allows side sleepers to keep their heads in line with their spine, and also gives stomach sleepers the ability to lay with their face on the pillow without pressure from the filling blocking airways or making their skin hot.

Back sleepers avoid having their neck curved and chin forced downward, a position that is ripe for pain in the morning, because the Contour Memory Foam Pillow has a curve that keeps the head form being pushed up and forward.

Sleep Innovations Contour pillow is made from Sure Temp memory foam, and has a long warranty that guarantees it will not flatten, break up or lose its shape in any way.

Some users report an odor which is a common occurrence with any memory foam product that has been in a package for any amount of time. Simply packing it for shipping can cause a build up that will be easily eliminated by airing out the pillow or using a household odor eliminator such as Febreze.

Memory foam pillows are a great choice for people with neck pain in the morning. The strong foam core is pliable enough to move comfortably with your body as you sleep, allows freedom without ever losing support that is so vital to the neck during the night.

The pillow casing is made of soft, luxurious terry cloth velour fabric that stays cool and comfortable. The cover is simple to remove, and washes in the machine.

Sleeping on the Sleep Innovations Contour Memory Foam Pillow is soothing, and made to give you a peaceful night’s sleep. All of the fabric and materials that comprise the pillow are hypoallergenic and allergy free. The Contour Memory Foam Pillow is made in the USA, and even helps reduce snoring and stress caused by insomnia.

Typical consumer reviews of Sleep Innovations pillow include:

“Everyone in the family loves this pillow from my husband and me, along with all of my children, including my toddler.”

“Best sleep in ages thanks to the Contour Memory Foam Pillow.”

“Fits perfectly, and I can sleep on my back without waking up with a stiff neck.”

Material: Memory Foam | My Rating: 4.5/5



Core Products Tri-Core Cervical Pillow, FIB-222, Mid-Size, Gentle


The Tri-Core Cervical Pillow has a patented design created specifically to support the neck in all sleep positions. The shape of the pillow allows anyone to get a good night’s rest no matter what position they favor.

Side and stomach sleepers can enjoy the thick padding along the edges to support the neck without pushing the padding into their face. Back sleepers rest comfortably with their heads in the center depression, and their necks bolstered by the thick outer rim to keep the spine perfectly aligned with the back during the night.

The Tri-Core pillow comes in three sizes for a perfect way to give everyone in the family from the youngest members to the oldest a comfortable, pain free sleeping surface.

At first, the shape of the Tri-Core pillow may throw you off. It doesn’t look like any pillow people are accustomed to seeing. Not only is there a deep depression at the center, which is perfectly created to offer the best neck support in any sleeping position, it has sides that are a variety of sizes. The different side thickness allows any user to get just the right level of support at all times.

There are also two firmness levels to choose from, standard and gentle. Both offer excellent support, but are geared to offer buyers a choice between extreme fill and soft, plush fill levels.

All Tri-Core Cervical Pillows for neck pain are made from durable, easy to care for materials. The inner fiber provides luxury while letting air flow smoothly throughout the pillow to alleviate heat buildup.

Typical consumer reviews of Tri-Core Cervical Pillow include:

“Best support pillow I’ve used since an auto-injury required neck support at night.”

“I’ve used this pillow for years and it is the best support I’ve ever found.”

“The Tri-Core Cervical Pillow completely relieved my neck pain.”

Material: Fiber | My Rating: 4.5/5




The precisely contoured Arc4life Cervical Linear Traction Neck Pillow is designed to aid anyone who experiences neck pain when waking up. Neck pain can last all day long, make getting around difficult and is responsible for severe headaches, fatigue, limb pain and numbness and even lower back pain.

This unusual looking pillow is the answer to those problems. It has a recessed center with sculpted sides that vary in shape so you can get the right support in any sleeping position. The Arc4life pillow works great for stomach and side sleepers, back sleepers and people of all shapes and sizes from the oldest in the family to the youngest.

Along with helping alleviate neck pain, the way the Arc4life Cervical Linear Traction Neck Pillow helps you relax makes it easier to fall asleep better and faster. It also helps promote healthier sleep by making it easier to breathe correctly, and eliminates snoring.

The hand-stuffed, fiber filling is moldable for easy movement during the night, and it allows for complete air flow to keep your sleeping surface cool and comfortable.

Along with the varying side shapes, you can fold the Arc4life Cervical Neck Pillow so that both opposing sides are together for extra thickness when sleeping on your side.

Typical consumer reviews of this neck pillow include:

“Completely got rid of the stiff neck problem I’ve had for years.”

“The Arc4life Pillow is such a relief. My physical therapist credited it for getting rid of my neck curvature.”

“Best pillow for my cervical disc problem.”

Material: Fiber | Our Rating: 4.4/5


Chiroflow Professional Waterbase pillow

The Chiroflow Premium Water Pillow offers smooth movement as you sleep without bunching or flattening. It is a great way to get complete support in any sleep position. Because the water core moves with you, it isn’t necessary to get up and reposition the pillow in the middle of the night as you move from side to side, back to front and it makes a great support for pregnant women too.

This luxurious pillow is recommended the most by chiropractors and makes you feel like you’re sleeping at a 5-star resort. Clinical studies show that sleeping on the Premium Water Pillow by Chiroflow helps to reduce neck pain. That is because it has a firm, easy to use support base that you can fill to the desired level of comfort to keep your neck and head cradled all through the night.

You do not need any chemical additives to keep the water clean. Just fill the inner chamber with common tap water, and get ready to experience sleep the way it should be—soothing, peaceful and pain free.

The Chiroflow Pillow is great for side sleepers, stomach and back sleepers alike.

The inner pad is made of a cool, smooth Dacron StaLoft Hollfil fiber fabric for durable, easy care for comfort. The slip cover case is a soft 300 thread count quality, and it is thermal insulated to prevent a buildup of body head. The entire Chiroflow Pillow is machine washable, so you can have a fresh, clean pillow every night.

Typical consumer reviews of the Chiroflow Pillow include:

“Easy to use, comfortable and I have never slept better.”

“Best pillow ever for neck pain.”

“I was skeptical, but slept pain free for the first time in years from the very first time I tried the Chiroflow Premium Water Pillow.”

Material: Polyester | My Rating: 4.3/5



Classic Brands Conforma Memory Foam Pillow, Queen

Classic Brands is a name that is instantly recognized in the bedding industry. They have a strong reputation for quality pillows that provide complete support, and a great customer service department to ensure complete satisfaction.

Their Conforma Memory Foam Pillow is a solid 5-inch thick foam pad that won’t warp, break down or flatten. It maintains its shape throughout the night no matter how much you move and is a fantastic stomach or back support for side sleepers and pregnant women.

Even though the Conforma is a single pad of memory foam, the finely drilled tunnels that perforate the entire surface provide easy air flow to keep the surface cool and comfortable at all times.Memory foam is great for allergy sufferers as well, because the material is naturally hypoallergenic, and also resists mildew, mites and most of all, maintains the proper neck alignment so you always get a good night’s sleep and awake pain free. Your pillow makes up a large percentage of the sleeping surface your body relies on to be comfortable during the night. Picking the right pillow makes a big difference in the type of sleep you get.

The Classic Brands Conforma Memory Foam Pillow is soft and comfortable, and instantly matches the shape of your head while still being firm enough to make sure your neck is safe from strain and injury.

Typical consumer reviews of Conforma Memory Foam Pillow include:

“Great for everyone in my family. My kids love it and my husband and I love it.”

“Just the right mixture of softness and strength to keep my neck from hurting while being soothing to sleep on.”

“Sturdy and easy to keep clean.”

Material: Memory foam | My Rating: 4.3/5



Thanks for visiting and reading …

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





Amazon Echo Great Help for Dementia Patients



Amazon Echo Great Help for Dementia Patients






New Technology Helps Seniors With Dementia!


Amazon Echo is a new technology innovation that has amazing potential for helping seniors with dementia. It’s similar to Siri on the iPhone, except that it understands better and is more useful.



At first glance, the Echo (also referred to as Alexa) might seem like another tech toy.

But if you take a closer look, you’ll see how this tool could improve quality of life for older adults with Alzheimer’s or dementia as well as for seniors with mobility limitations and other health conditions. 





In this post, I’ll explain:


  • How Echo helps seniors with dementia
  • Why it’s recommended by someone with Early Onset Alzheimer’s
  • Who else would benefit from Echo
  • How it works and how much it costs
  • Where to find reviews and demos




Amazon Echo for Dementia


Caregivers often get frustrated because seniors with dementia repeat questions endlessly, need to be entertained, or get anxious when you’re not around. Having Echo there to answer questions, talk about news or weather, or play music can give caregivers much-needed breaks.

Echo can’t completely replace human touch or real conversation, but the intelligent voice controls can make it feel like a helpful friend.


Echo Features that are Great for Seniors With Dementia


  • Instantly answers questions, like “what day is it?” or “what time is it?” — it’s a machine, so it will never get annoyed or frustrated!
  • Plays music and read audiobooks and the news — no need to fuss with complicated controls
  • Tells fun jokes and riddles
  • Looks up information about anything — like, “what’s playing on TV tonight?”
  • Reports traffic and weather




Recommended by an Advocate Who Has Dementia


Rick Phelps bought an Echo in February 2016. He’s 63 and was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s disease in November 2010. After his diagnosis, he became an advocate for dementia awareness and founded the Memory People private Facebook community. Memory People now has over 13,000 members!

After about a week of use, Rick wrote a public blog post strongly recommending it to people with dementia. He doesn’t normally recommend products, so the fact that he raved about it means that it’s working really well for him.


Quotes From Rick’s Positive Review of the Echo

“It has afforded me something that I have lost. Memory. I can ask Alexa anything and I get the answer instantly. And I can ask it what day it is twenty times a day and I will still get the same correct answer.”

“’Alexa, remind me to take my medicine at 8:00am and 8:00pm everyday.’ Once you tell Alexa to do this, it will indeed remind you daily to take your medicine.”

“‘Alexa, play New York, New York, by Frank Sinatra.’  ‘Alexa, add paper towels to my shopping list.’ ‘Alexa, what is the weight of an elephant?’…All you need to do for this thing to read any book to you, is to have this book on audio. Which I buy all my books like. Since I can no longer read. That alone makes this thing worth it’s weight in gold to me.”




Who Else Would Benefit From an Echo?


Older adults with mobility issues or health conditions like Parkinson’s can also benefit from an Echo. It gives them more control over their environment and more independence.

For example, a senior could easily turn on the light across the room or adjust the room’s temperature using only their voice. If they wanted to hear music or read a book, they could do it with another quick voice command. Without Echo, they’d have to ask someone else to help them with these simple tasks.







How Does Echo Work and How Much Does it Cost?


It’s a Personal Assistant

The Echo is basically a hands-free speaker that you control with your voice. It acts like a personal assistant by playing music, providing information like date, time, news, sports scores, weather, and helping with a variety of tasks.




How to Use It

When you want to use the Echo, just say the word “Alexa” to wake it up and let it know that you’re giving it a command. Currently, there are 3 choices for the “wake word” — Amazon, Alexa, or Echo. The amazing thing is that the Echo responds instantly when asked a question.

Because you must use the wake word to activate the Echo, you could put a large sign on it with its “name” to make it easier for older adults with cognitive issues to remember.


How to Set it Up

Echo only needs a wireless network connection to work. You will need a computer or smartphone to set it up, but after that, it works with just the WiFi connection. It does need to be plugged in for power — it doesn’t use batteries.



Helpful Reviews and Demos

See the Echo in action in this helpful review and demo (11 min). Skip to 3 min 10 sec to see how Echo responds to a variety of everyday questions and commands. For another perspective, find out how a blind woman named Joy uses Echo.


Features and Skills

Echo can connect to smart home devices to controls lights, switches, and thermostats. It also connects to the Alexa mobile app to create shopping and to do lists. Amazon is continuously improving the features and adding new “skills” — other services it connects with.


Bottom Line

It’s not cheap, but the Echo could significantly improve quality of life for your older adult and give you a well-deserved break. It’s like an intelligent companion and helper that never gets tired, bored, or frustrated.

There are over 36,800 customer reviews on Amazon with a 4.4 star average, as well as over 1,000 answered questions, technical details and videos.



Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.






You may also be interested in:

Preserving Alzheimer’s Patients’ Dignity


Vitamin D and Diabetes

Vitamin D and Diabetes



What’s So Special About Vitamin D?


Vitamin D is one of the more fascinating substances I have researched in the diabetes arena. It provides a number of important functions, regardless of whether you have diabetes or not. I will discuss these issues more fully below, but the good stuff really comes when you start looking at the impact of the substance on diabetes.


Multiple studies suggest that the impact on both type 1 and type 2 diabetes is startling. While I caution that research is ongoing, initial results suggest that vitamin D deficiency may be a significant cause of diabetes, which means there may be hope to stop people from getting it. Additionally, vitamin D may play a role in slowing the progression of diabetes if you already have it.


So, what exactly is Vitamin D?


Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin at all; it is a hormone.


Initially discovered in the 1930’s, vitamin D was originally “famous” for helping children avoid contracting rickets. Rickets is a disease where the bones don’t develop or harden properly.


If you have ever watched the Lil Rascals television show, you may remember the funny scenes where the kids were required to consume cod liver oil. Back then, scientists didn’t know that cod liver oil (and other fish sources) was a good source of vitamin D. They only knew that the oil helped the kids avoid rickets!


Upon vitamin D’s discovery, you now see one of the main reasons it was added to milk. The other reason is that vitamin D is needed to process calcium to help your bones stay strong. Among other reasons, calcium is also important to help your nervous system and muscles work properly. Calcium wouldn’t work without vitamin D helping it out.


As we will touch on more below, vitamin D may also help the following:


  • Avoid Cancer (colon, prostate, breast, ovarian)
  • Reduce Heart Disease
  • Avoid or Minimize Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
  • Reduce Risk of Developing MS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s
  • Avoid or Improve Certain Mental Health Conditions (e.g., depression)




The Vitamin D – Diabetes Connection



The following research is very compelling. However, there is still some debate among scientists. Probably the best summation of the diabetes and vitamin D connection was done by Dr. Sarfraz Zaidi, MD in his book Power of Vitamin D.  I encourage everyone to read Dr. Zaidi’s excellent book on this topic.


For both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, the increased prevalence during the last 20-30 years has been nothing short of breathtaking. What was once a fairly uncommon disease has risen to the level of an epidemic. One explanation, or contributing factor, for this rise is that people are spending more and more time indoors and/or lathered in sunscreen. These two factors directly contribute to a reduction in vitamin D.


Think about how much time you spend watching television and ow much time you, your kids or grandkids spend playing video games.  If we are honest, often, its too much.



Type 1


In one 30 year study of children in Scandinavia (think long winters with little sunlight), it found that children were almost 80 percent less likely to develop type 1 diabetes if given a daily vitamin D supplement of 2,000 IU. This is a remarkable difference. Conversely, other studies have found that children living in sunnier climates are far less likely to develop type 1 diabetes than their counterparts living in gloomier northern climates.


But, it may not just help you avoid diabetes, it may also help you slow the progression. Vitamin D may help slow the destruction of beta cells in people with type 1 diabetes. Of course, if you have had type 1 for years this probably isn’t going to do you any good. However, if you are newly diagnosed with type 1, you may still have some insulin producing beta cells remaining. A sharp increase in vitamin D supplementation may help sustain these cells, thus reducing your long term needs for larger doses of insulin.


This last assertion is open to some speculation. However, if you or a loved one is recently diagnosed with type 1, talk to your doctor immediately. As discussed below, there typically is no toxicity with increasing vitamin D intake (to a certain point), so there should be no harm in supplementing. Get to your doctor to discuss!!



Type 2


Here is where it gets even more interesting, if this is possible. There have been several European studies that suggest that decreased vitamin D levels in people reduce insulin production and increases insulin resistance.


This is bad right? Basically your body produces less insulin and doesn’t use the insulin it does produce well. This is the very problem facing people with type 2 diabetes. Here are some other studies that look into the relationship between Vitamin D and diabetes.


Reduced Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes: A large United States based study theorized that increased vitamin D intake in women significantly lowered their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. While I would note that this study was not looking specifically at this issue, there was, however, a very strong correlation (33 percent) in its overall conclusion.


Poor Glucose Control: A 2010 John’s Hopkins study of 124 people with type 2 diabetes found that 91 percent of them had a vitamin D deficiency. Interestingly enough, the greater the deficiency the worse the subjects A1C levels were. The study noted that racial minorities tended to be more vitamin D deficient. While the study stopped short of concluding that vitamin D deficiency is the cause of poor glucose control, it did advocate that all people with diabetes be screened for the deficiency.


Increased Insulin Sensitivity: A small study released in 2011 by the Albert Einstein College of medicine looked at 8 vitamin D deficient patients. The subjects received large daily doses of vitamin d for two months to get them to normal levels. At the end of the two months, insulin receptivity (the ability of your cells to use insulin) increased by 37 percent. This is a remarkable increase.


There are many more studies, but you get the point. Vitamin D may help prevent diabetes and may help with glucose control if you already have the condition. I would note that most researchers agree that further study is needed to definitively establish the link.



How Much Vitamin D Should You Take?


Here is where things get a little murky. The National Institute of Health has set forth the following Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA):




The NIH has established the upper limit of vitamin D intake:


Some scientists suggest 2,000 IU daily for best results. My suggestion would be to check with your doctor and establish a plan that is safe for you.




Sources of Vitamin D


Natural Sunlight: The safest way to get your vitamin D is through natural sunlight. If you are Caucasian and not very tan, then 10-15 minutes in the sun with a short sleeve shirt and shorts is plenty. If you are tan or have darker skin, then you need approximately 20 minutes. There is no toxicity risk of receiving too much of the vitamin in this manner.



The problem is that if you live in a northern climate, even if you joined a polar bear club and ran around naked for 3 hours a day outside, you still couldn’t get enough. Which leads us to the next two options.




Food: Food sources are somewhat limited. You could eat fortified foods, such as milk, orange juice or cereal. Additionally, the highest natural food sources per serving are:


  • Cod Liver Oil (1 tablespoon) 1,360 IU
  • Swordfish (3 oz.) 566 IU
  • Salmon (3 oz.) 447 IU




As you can see, if you want to achieve a higher amount of daily intake, it is hard with natural foods.


Supplements: For people who work indoors or live in a northern climate, supplementation is typically the only way to get the higher intake of vitamin D. When you go to the store to purchase your supplements, you will notice that there are two different types, D2 and D3.


At lower levels, most scientists suggest there is not a big difference between the two types of vitamin D. However, if you are looking to do some of the higher doses, then there is a difference and I typically see D3 recommended. The issue is that D3 is much more effective than D2 at the higher levels.

Again, check with your doctor to determine the right plan for you.


Suggested Vitamin D Supplement:




I like the Viva Labs brand of bioactive Vitamin D3;  unlike many vitamin D3 products, this one is non-synthetic and naturally derived, featuring the most biologically active form of vitamin D.

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Your Fibromyalgia Questions Answered


Your Fibromyalgia Questions Answered


What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia syndrome is a common and chronic disorder characterized by widespread pain, diffuse tenderness, and a number of other symptoms. The word “fibromyalgia” comes from the Latin term for fibrous tissue (fibro) and the Greek ones for muscle (myo) and pain (algia).


Although fibromyalgia is often considered an arthritis-related condition, it is not truly a form of arthritis (a disease of the joints) because it does not cause inflammation or damage to the joints, muscles, or other tissues.


Like arthritis, however, fibromyalgia can cause significant pain and fatigue, and it can interfere with a person’s ability to carry on daily activities. Also like arthritis, fibromyalgia is considered a rheumatic condition, a medical condition that impairs the joints and/or soft tissues and causes chronic pain.


In addition to pain and fatigue, people who have fibromyalgia may experience a variety of other symptoms including:


  • cognitive and memory problems (sometimes referred to as “fibro fog”)
  • sleep disturbances
  • morning stiffness
  • headaches
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • painful menstrual periods
  • numbness or tingling of the extremities
  • restless legs syndrome
  • temperature sensitivity
  • sensitivity to loud noises or bright lights.



A person may have two or more coexisting chronic pain conditions. Such conditions can include chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel disease, interstitial cystitis, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, and vulvodynia. It is not known whether these disorders share a common cause.



Who Gets Fibromyalgia?


Scientists estimate that fibromyalgia affects 5 million Americans age 18 or older.1 For unknown reasons, between 80 and 90 percent of those diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women; however, men and children also can be affected. Most people are diagnosed during middle age, although the symptoms often become present earlier in life.


People with certain rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (commonly called lupus), or ankylosing spondylitis (spinal arthritis) may be more likely to have fibromyalgia, too.


Several studies indicate that women who have a family member with fibromyalgia are more likely to have fibromyalgia themselves, but the exact reason for this—whether it is heredity, shared environmental factors, or both—is unknown. Researchers are trying to determine whether variations in certain genes cause some people to be more sensitive to stimuli, which lead to pain syndromes. 



What Causes Fibromyalgia?


The causes of fibromyalgia are unknown, but there are probably a number of factors involved. Many people associate the development of fibromyalgia with a physically or emotionally stressful or traumatic event, such as an automobile accident. Some connect it to repetitive injuries. Others link it to an illness. For others, fibromyalgia seems to occur spontaneously.


Many researchers are examining other causes, including problems with how the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) processes pain.


Some scientists speculate that a person’s genes may regulate the way his or her body processes painful stimuli. According to this theory, people with fibromyalgia may have a gene or genes that cause them to react strongly to stimuli that most people would not perceive as painful. There have already been several genes identified that occur more commonly in fibromyalgia patients, and NIAMS-supported researchers are currently looking at other possibilities.



How is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed?


Research shows that people with fibromyalgia typically see many doctors before receiving the diagnosis. One reason for this may be that pain and fatigue, the main symptoms of fibromyalgia, overlap with those of many other conditions. Therefore, doctors often have to rule out other potential causes of these symptoms before making a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Another reason is that there are currently no diagnostic laboratory tests for fibromyalgia; standard laboratory tests fail to reveal a physiologic reason for pain. Because there is no generally accepted, objective test for fibromyalgia, some doctors unfortunately may conclude a patient’s pain is not real, or they may tell the patient there is little they can do.


A doctor familiar with fibromyalgia, however, can make a diagnosis based on criteria established by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR): a history of widespread pain lasting more than 3 months, and other general physical symptoms including fatigue, waking unrefreshed, and cognitive (memory or thought) problems. In making the diagnosis, doctors consider the number of areas throughout the body in which the patient has had pain in the past week.


See Alternative Fibromyalgia Treatment Track Records



How is Fibromyalgia Treated?


Fibromyalgia can be difficult to treat. Not all doctors are familiar with fibromyalgia and its treatment, so it is important to find a doctor who is. Many family physicians, general internists, or rheumatologists (doctors who specialize in arthritis and other conditions that affect the joints or soft tissues) can treat fibromyalgia.


Fibromyalgia treatment often requires a team approach, with your doctor, a physical therapist, possibly other health professionals, and most importantly, yourself, all playing an active role. It can be hard to assemble this team, and you may struggle to find the right professionals to treat you. When you do, however, the combined expertise of these various professionals can help you improve your quality of life.


You may find several members of the treatment team you need at a clinic. There are pain clinics that specialize in pain and rheumatology clinics that specialize in arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, including fibromyalgia.


Only three medications, duloxetine, milnacipran, and pregabalin are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Duloxetine was originally developed for and is still used to treat depression. Milnacipran is similar to a drug used to treat depression but is FDA approved only for fibromyalgia. Pregaballin is a medication developed to treat neuropathic pain (chronic pain caused by damage to the nervous system).


Doctors also treat fibromyalgia with a variety of other medications developed and approved for other purposes.





Analgesics are painkillers. They range from over-the-counter products to prescription medicines. For a subset of people with fibromyalgia, narcotic medications are prescribed for severe muscle pain. However, there is no solid evidence showing that for most people narcotics actually work to treat the chronic pain of fibromyalgia, and most doctors hesitate to prescribe them for long-term use because of the potential that the person taking them will become physically or psychologically dependent on them.



Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS)


As their name implies, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium, are used to treat inflammation.Although inflammation is not a symptom of fibromyalgia, NSAIDs also relieve pain. The drugs work by inhibiting substances in the body called prostaglandins, which play a role in pain and inflammation. These medications, some of which are available without a prescription, may help ease the muscle aches of fibromyalgia. They may also relieve menstrual cramps and the headaches often associated with fibromyalgia.



Complimentary and Alternative Treatments


Many people with fibromyalgia also report varying degrees of success with complementary and alternative therapies, including massage, movement therapies (such as Pilates and the Feldenkrais method), chiropractic treatments, acupuncture, and various herbs and dietary supplements for different fibromyalgia symptoms. (For more information on complementary and alternative therapies, contact the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 


Although some of these supplements are being studied for fibromyalgia, there is little, if any, scientific proof yet that they help. FDA does not regulate the sale of dietary supplements, so information about side effects, proper dosage, and the amount of a preparation’s active ingredients may not be well known. If you are using or would like to try a complementary or alternative therapy, you should first speak with your doctor, who may know more about the therapy’s effectiveness, as well as whether it is safe to try in combination with your medications.


See Alternative Fibromyalgia Treatment Track Records



Will Fibromyalgia Get Better With Time?


Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, meaning it lasts a long time—possibly a lifetime. However, it may be comforting to know that fibromyalgia is not a progressive disease. It is never fatal, and it will not cause damage to the joints, muscles, or internal organs. In many people, the condition does improve over time.



What Can I Do to Try to Feel Better?


Besides taking medicine prescribed by your doctor, there are many things you can do to minimize the impact of fibromyalgia on your life.

These include:


  • Getting enough sleep. Getting enough sleep and the right kind of sleep can help ease the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia. Even so, many people with fibromyalgia have problems such as pain, restless legs syndrome, or brainwave irregularities that interfere with restful sleep. It is important to discuss any sleep problems with your doctor, who can prescribe or recommend treatment for them.


  • Exercising. Although pain and fatigue may make exercise and daily activities difficult, it is crucial to be as physically active as possible. Research has repeatedly shown that regular exercise is one of the most effective treatments for fibromyalgia. People who have too much pain or fatigue to do vigorous exercise should begin with walking or other gentle exercise and build their endurance and intensity slowly.


  • Making changes at work. Most people with fibromyalgia continue to work, but they may have to make big changes to do so. For example, some people cut down the number of hours they work, switch to a less demanding job, or adapt a current job. If you face obstacles at work, such as an uncomfortable desk chair that leaves your back aching or difficulty lifting heavy boxes or files, your employer may make adaptations that will enable you to keep your job. An occupational therapist can help you design a more comfortable workstation or find more efficient and less painful ways to lift.


  • Eating well. Although some people with fibromyalgia report feeling better when they eat or avoid certain foods, no specific diet has been proven to influence fibromyalgia. Of course, it is important to have a healthy, balanced diet. Not only will proper nutrition give you more energy and make you generally feel better, it will also help you avoid other health problems.



What Research is Being Conducted on Fibromyalgia?


The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) sponsors research that will improve scientists’ understanding of the specific problems that cause or accompany fibromyalgia, in turn helping them develop better ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent this syndrome.


The research on fibromyalgia supported by the NIAMS covers a broad spectrum, ranging from basic laboratory research to studies of medications and interventions designed to encourage behaviors that reduce pain and change behaviors that worsen or perpetuate pain.


Following are descriptions of some of the promising research now being conducted:


Understanding pain. Research suggests that fibromyalgia is caused by a problem in how the body processes pain, or more precisely, a hypersensitivity to stimuli that normally are not painful. Therefore, several National Institutes of Health (NIH)-supported researchers are focusing on ways the body processes pain to better understand why people with fibromyalgia have increased pain sensitivity.


These studies include:


  • The establishment of a tissue bank of brain and spinal cord tissue to study fibromyalgia and to determine the extent to which chronic pain in fibromyalgia patients is associated with the activation of cells in the nervous system and the production of chemical messengers, called cytokines, that regulate immune cell function.


  • The use of imaging methods to evaluate the status of central nervous system responses in patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia compared with those diagnosed with another chronic pain disorder and pain-free controls.


  • An investigation to understand how the activation of immune cells from peripheral and central nervous system sources trigger a cascade of events leading to the activation of nerve cells, chronic pain, and the dysregulation of the effects of analgesic drugs against pain.


  • An intensive evaluation of twins in which one of the pair has chronic widespread pain and the other does not, along with twins in which neither of the pair has chronic pain, to help researchers assess physiological similarities and differences in those with and without chronic pain and whether those differences are caused by genetics or environment.


  • A study examining the use of cognitive behavioral therapy in pain patients, which researchers hope will advance their knowledge of the role of psychological factors in chronic pain as well as a new treatment option for fibromyalgia.


  • The Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) initiative. The PROMIS initiative is researching and developing new ways to measure patient-reported outcomes (PROs), such as pain, fatigue, physical functioning, emotional distress, and social role participation that have a major impact on quality of life across a variety of chronic diseases. The goal of this initiative is to improve the reporting and quantification of changes in PROs. The NIAMS supports an effort to develop PROMIS specifically for use in patients with fibromyalgia.


See Alternative Fibromyalgia Treatment Track Records


Improving Symptoms. A better understanding of fibromyalgia and the mechanisms involved in chronic pain are enabling researchers to find effective treatments for it. Some of the most promising lines of research in this area include the following:


  • Increasing exercise. Although fibromyalgia is often associated with fatigue that makes exercise difficult, regular exercise has been shown to be one of the most beneficial treatments for the condition. Researchers are trying to determine whether increasing lifestyle physical activity (that is, adding more exercise such as walking up stairs instead of taking the elevator) throughout the day produces similar benefits to exercise for fibromyalgia, improving symptoms such as pain, fatigue, and tenderness. Scientists are also examining the potential mechanisms by which lifestyle physical activity might influence symptoms. Other research supported by the NIAMS is examining the effectiveness of a simplified form of Tai Chi on pain and other measures such as sleep quality, fatigue, anxiety, and depression.


  • NIAMS-supported research is also examining ways to help people maintain helpful exercise programs. Because many people with fibromyalgia associate increased exercise with increased pain, doctors and therapists often have a difficult time getting patients to stick with their exercise program. The new research is examining patients’ fears that cause them to avoid exercise as well as behavioral therapies to reduce fears and help them maintain exercise.


  • Improving sleep. Researchers supported by the NIAMS are investigating ways to improve sleep for people with fibromyalgia whose sleep problems persist despite treatment with medications. One team has observed that fibromyalgia patients with persistent sleep problems share characteristics with people who have sleep-disordered breathing—a group of disorders, the most common of which is the obstructive sleep apnea, characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. These researchers are studying whether continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP, a therapy administered by a machine that increases air pressure in the throat to hold it open during sleep) might improve the symptoms of fibromyalgia.


Other groups of researchers are examining the link between sleep disturbance and chronic pain in fibromyalgia and are studying whether behavioral therapy for insomnia might improve fibromyalgia symptoms.


Recommended: Fibromyalgia – The Breakthrough Treatment & Prevention Program

Harvard Medical School – Flavonoids News

Harvard Medical School – Flavonoids News For Erectile Dysfunction





From The Harvard Health Journals

If you are worried about erectile dysfunction (ED), you might want to turn to the produce section or supplement isle. 

Flavonoid-rich foods may lower your risk of ED, which affects half of middle-aged and older men, according to a study published in February 2016 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

More than 50,000 men participated in the study, and the researchers found that those who consumed at least three portions of flavonoid-rich foods per week, on average, were 10% less likely to suffer from ED.


Of the main types of flavonoids, three had the greatest benefit:


  • anthocyanins
  • flavanones
  • flavones


How flavonoids help is not fully known, but earlier research has shown that some flavonoids can make arteries more flexible, which increases blood flow, says lead author Dr. Aedin Cassidy, professor of nutrition at the University of East Anglia, in Norwich, England.

Adding a few more portions of these fruits to your diet also can help prevent cardiovascular disease, and ED is often an early barometer of poor vascular function,” she says.


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Recommended: Mind Over ED – A Proven Program for Reliable Erections Without Drugs, Pills or Potions by Dr. Joel Block





About Flavonoids


The unique nutrient richness of every whole, natural food can be showcased in a variety of ways. But there is no better way to highlight the unique nutrient richness of foods than to focus on their flavonoid content.


Flavonoids are a quite remarkable group of phytonutrients that fall into the chemical category of polyphenols. They’re perhaps most famous for their rich diversity of color-providing pigments (including the deep blues of blueberries and rich reds of raspberries).


The name of these phytonutrients actually derives from their color-related chemistry, with the Latin word flavus meaning “yellow.” As a group, however, flavonoids are highly bioactive and play a wide variety of different roles in the health of plants, animals, and human health.


The flavonoid nutrient family is one of the largest nutrient families known to scientists. Over 6,000 unique flavonoids have been identified in research studies, and many of these flavonoids are found in plants that are routinely enjoyed in delicious cuisines throughout the world.


In terms of nutrient richness, we get far more flavonoids from plant foods than from animal foods, and in particular, vegetables and fruits can be especially nutrient-rich in this type of phytonutrient.


Some of the most widely-studied flavonoids are nutrients you may already have heard about not in particular connection with any specific food—for example, the flavonoid quercetin.


Other flavonoids you may have heard about due to their association with a particular food—for example, the catechins in green tea.


Sometimes a flavonoid is actually easy to link up with its most nutrient-rich food sources— for example, the tangeretin found in tangerines (as well as other citrus fruits).


Flavonoids are best known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits as well as the support of the cardiovascular and nervous systems.


Because they also help support detoxification of potentially tissue-damaging molecules, their intake has often, although not always, been associated with decreased risk of certain types of cancers, including lung and breast cancer.


However, it is important to note that the amount of flavonoids required to provide the above health benefits is not certain, and there are some conflicting research findings in this regard.



Antioxidant Benefits


Because many flavonoids—and especially those belonging to two flavonoid subgroups called flavonols and flavan-3-ols—can be effective in reducing free radical damage to cells and other components in body tissue, they provide antioxidant benefits. It is not clear, however, if we should be thinking about flavonoids as falling into the same category as more widely known antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C or vitamin E.


One reason for this is because their concentration in the bloodstream is so much lower. Another reason lies in the fact that many of the antioxidant functions of the flavonoids are not performed by the flavonoids themselves, but by forms of the flavonoids that have been altered by our metabolism.


Even though we do not know all the details about the way flavonoids function as antioxidants, however, studies have documented better protection of certain cell types—for example, red blood cells—following consumption of flavonoid-rich foods. Blueberries, for example, have been repeatedly studied in this context for their flavonoid-related antioxidant benefits.


In this antioxidant context, it is also worth pointing out the potentially unique relationship between flavonoids and vitamin C. Recent studies have shown the ability of flavonoids to alter transport of vitamin C, as well as to alter function of an enzyme called ascorbate oxidase, which converts vitamin C into a non-vitamin form (monodehydroascorbate).


While we do not yet know the full meaning of these relationships, it is clear that the transport and cycling of vitamin C is flavonoid related. This association makes sense to us, since so many foods high in vitamin C (such as our top five WHFoods for vitamin C are papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and strawberries) are also high in flavonoids.



Anti-Inflammatory Benefits


Much of the research on flavonoids as anti-inflammatories has involved their ability to block the production of messaging molecules that promote inflammation. In metabolic terms, this activity of flavonoids involves the inhibition of cyclo-oxygenase (COX) and lipoxygenase (LOX) enzymes.


Not only have specific flavonoids (for example, quercetin) been shown to provide these benefits but so also have flavonoid-containing extracts from a variety of foods, spices, and herbs. In addition to the metabolic activities described above, food flavonoids have also been shown to suppress inflammatory signaling in another metabolic pathway called the nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-kB) pathway.



Cardiovascular System Benefits


Not surprisingly, since many problems in the cardiovascular system involve problems with oxidative stress and inflammation, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits from food flavonoids provide direct support for this body system. In the bloodstream, flavonoids have been shown to help protect LDL cholesterol molecules from oxygen-related damage. This LDL protection, in turn, helps to lower risk of atherosclerosis.


Flavonoids including rutin and hesperidin have also been shown to increase the strength and integrity of the blood vessel walls, lowering risk of blood vessel problems.


In one study, adding a spice mix to a meal of beef—a mix that contained such flavonoid-rich herbs as oregano, rosemary, garlic, ginger, and black pepper—led to a significant improvement in vascular function over the next several hours. Yet herbs and spices are by no means the only foods studied in this regard; similar effects have been demonstrated for soy foods, chocolate, pomegranate juice, and grape juice.


Finally, numerous flavonoids—including quercetin and rutin—have been shown to help prevent excessive clumping together of platelet cells that could otherwise lead to unwanted clogging of the blood vessels. This property of flavonoids is called an “anti-aggregatory” property, and it’s yet another way in which these phytonutrients help support the cardiovascular system.


In 2014, a research group looked at cardiovascular benefits related to the flavonoid content of fruits and vegetables. These researchers were able to determine that six total fruit and vegetable servings did a better job at protecting cardiovascular health than four total servings.


They also decided upon six total servings of fruits-plus-vegetables as their minimal recommendation for heart health.



Support of the Nervous System


Protection of nerve cells from oxygen-based damage, and help during the slow and demanding process of nerve regeneration (outside of the brain and spinal cord), are both demonstrated benefits of flavonoid intake for the nervous system.


There is some preliminary evidence that the onset of certain chronic neurodegenerative diseases—including age-related dementia and Alzheimer’s disease—may be delayed when long-term intake of flavonoids has been strong.


Because flavonoids may help to improve blood flow in the brain, there is also preliminary evidence to suggest the possibility of better brain functioning in some areas, including areas involving cognitive function.



Other Health Benefits


In terms of their anti-cancer potential, research on flavonoids has been somewhat mixed. Due to their well-documented antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, flavonoids would be expected to lower risk of certain cancers since chronic oxidative stress and chronic unwanted inflammation can place cells at greater risk of becoming cancerous.


Furthermore, because flavonoids are known to modify the body’s detoxification pathways, it might be expected that flavonoids would help lower exposure to unwanted toxins that could pose increased cancer risk.


In studies on animals and on isolated cell types, the above expectations seem to be fully met, with flavonoid intake improving detoxification, oxidative stress, unwanted inflammation, and initiation of cells into pre-cancerous states.


However, in larger scale studies on humans and risk of human cancers, greater intake of flavonoids has not been consistently associated with decreased risk of cancer. To date, the strongest evidence appears to involve breast cancer and lung cancer where decreased risk is a more consistent finding.


It may be the case that certain subgroups of flavonoids are particularly helpful for lowering risk of certain types of cancer. It might also be the case that studies have had trouble accurately quantifying flavonoid intake. There are thousands and thousands of food flavonoids, and yet some studies have only focused on very select examples or limited types of foods.


Improved detoxification is a very likely benefit that we get from strong flavonoid intake; yet, like with the area of cancer risk, research here has been somewhat mixed.


When the cells in our body detoxify unwanted contaminants, there are two key steps involved in the process. In a first step (called Phase 1), potentially damaging molecules are made more reactive so that they can be passed on to Phase 2. In this second, Phase 2 step, the activated molecules get neutralized by being combined with a second neutralizing molecule.


Flavonoids can impact both steps in detoxification (Phase 1 and Phase 2). With Phase 2, these influences seems fairly consistent because they tend to promote the combining/neutralizing goal of Phase 2. However, with respect to Phase 1, the role of flavonoids is more complicated since they can switch Phase 1 either on or off. In other words, they can both facilitate and block this first step in detoxification.


This complicated relationship between flavonoids and detoxification has resulted in some mixed research findings, although overall, most researchers have concluded that strong flavonoid intake modified detoxification in a helpful way and decreases our risk of problems from unwanted toxins.


A final potential health benefit we want to mention is better regulation of cell cycles. Most cells in our body go through stages of activity where they rest, divide, or go into a self-dismantling and self-recycling process called apoptosis.


In the health of all our body systems, it is important for these cell cycle stages to stay in balance. Ample intake of food flavonoids appears to promote these cell cycle balances, most likely through regulation of signaling that takes place between cells and their surroundings.



Summary of Food Sources


Flavonoids are produced by plants, and plant foods are by far our greatest source of these health-supporting phytonutrients. Among all plant food groups, by far it’s been fruits and vegetables that have been best studied and most analyzed for their flavonoid content.


There is also flavonoid data on nuts and seeds, grains, beans and legumes, and select other foods and beverages (for example, green tea and black tea).


It’s important to remember that flavonoids are a very large (more than 6,000 have been so far identified) and very diverse group of phytonutrients. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Flavonoid Database actually breaks down its flavonoid analyses into five of the basic flavonoid chemical subgroups, and it analyzes the best food choices in each of these subgroups.


I like this approach to understanding the flavonoid content of food, because it emphasizes the need to consume a wide variety of flavonoids that includes all of the different types. In keeping with this approach, the charts below will show you the top foods in each of the flavonoid subcategories.


The five subcategories shown in the charts below are:


(1) flavonols (which include quercetin, kaempferol, myricetin, and isorhamnetin)

(2) flavan-3-ols (which include catechins, epicatechins, gallocatechins, and theaflavins)

(3) flavones (which include apigenin and luteolin)

(4) flavonones (which include hesperetin, naringenin, and eriodictyol) and

(5) anthocyanidins (which include cyanidin, delphinidin, malvidin, pelargonidin, peonidin, and petunidin).




Best Food Sources



flavonols flavan-3-ols* flavones flavonones anthocyanidins
onions apples parsley oranges blueberries
apples bananas bell peppers grapefruit bananas
romaine lettuce blueberries celery lemons strawberries
tomatoes peaches apples tomatoes cherries
garbanzo beans pears oranges   pears
almonds strawberries watermelon   cabbage
turnip greens   chili peppers   cranberries
sweet potatoes   cantaloupe   plums
quinoa   lettuce   raspberries
        garbanzo beans



Impact of Cooking, Storage and Processing


You will lose some flavonoids from plant foods during prolonged storage. For example, onions stored at room temperature will lose about one quarter to one third of their original flavonoid content over six months, with most of the loss occurring in the first two weeks.


As water-soluble nutrients, flavonoids can be lost through water contact, and in some cases, up to 80% of specific flavonoids can be lost into cooking water during the boiling of foods. Because many flavonoids provide visible colors in a food, loss of flavonoids during boiling can often be seen in a dulling of the food’s colors. Color changes of this kind are one of the indicators we use for overcooking; if you boil or steam a food long enough to see its vibrant colors start to dull or disappear, you can be sure that you are losing too many valuable nutrients from the food, including its health-supportive flavonoids.


Flavonoids are susceptible to damage by heat, and as mentioned earlier, they are also susceptible to damage over prolonged periods of time. This issue of time brings us to the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are likely to be more flavonoid-rich the fresher they are at the time of purchase. The issue of heat is one of the reasons I caution against frying or lengthy cooking even in medium heats.


Finally, I would note that flavonoids are often concentrated in the skins and outer portions of fruits and vegetables, and that these portions of the foods are excellent to consume.


Due to risk of contamination on these outermost surfaces, you always want to wash the foods and gently scrub them with a vegetable brush. Of course, you can also reduce risk of contamination by purchasing certified organic foods.


When you are storing flavonoid-rich foods, it is best not to damage their skins prior to storage, for example, by pre-cutting, pre-slicing, or pre-peeling and then placing in the refrigerator. They are best kept in whole, natural form until you are ready to consume them or prepare them for inclusion in a recipe.



Risk of Dietary Deficiency


Risk of dietary deficiency for flavonoids is basically synonymous with low dietary intake of whole, natural foods, and in particular, low intake of vegetables and fruits. By far your best way to ensure ample flavonoid intake is to maximize your intake of whole natural foods, including fresh, brightly colored vegetables and fruits whose flavonoid pigments provide them with their vibrant colors. This approach sounds simple, and it is a great method for increasing your flavonoid intake.


From a common sense standpoint, let’s say that a person consumed six vegetable and four fruit servings in a day, for a total of 10 vegetable-plus-fruit servings. Furthermore, let’s say that all of these servings came from whole, natural foods. In this situation, a person’s total flavonoid intake would be likely to fall somewhere near 1 gram (1,000 milligrams) or more. It is within this context that we consider average flavonoid intake in the U.S. to be inadequate.


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In addition, since a disproportional amount of U.S. flavonoids come from a single flavonoid subgroup (flavan-3-ols provided from black and green tea), there is likely to be flavonoid deficiency from the other subgroups given the pattern of flavonoid consumption in the U.S.



Other Causes of Flavonoid Deficiency


Most documented risks for flavonoid deficiency have already been discussed since they involve poor dietary intake. Overconsumption of processed foods, overcooking of foods, and underconsumption of fresh vegetables and fruits are the primary circumstances related to deficiency. Problems with the chewing of fresh foods can increase a person’s flavonoid deficiency risk, especially if these foods are avoided in a meal plan due to chewing problems. Lack of appetite can also put a person at risk of deficiency, simply due to overall low intake. In studies of the overall U.S. population, inadequate intake of nutrients—including flavonoids—can be associated with poverty and general lack of access to fresh foods.


Relationship With Other Nutrients


As described earlier, a unique relationship exists between flavonoids and vitamin C. Flavonoids affect the transport of vitamin C around the body, and they also help regulate the function of an enzyme called ascorbate oxidase, which converts vitamin C into a non-vitamin form (monodehydroascorbate). While we do not yet know the full meaning of these relationships, it is clear that these nutrients have a special and unique relationship. The uniqueness of their relationship makes sense  since so many foods are high in both flavonoids and vitamin C. Some top foods for vitamin C—namely papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and strawberries—are great examples since each of these foods is rich in flavonoids as well.


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Brain Tumor – What You Need to Know


A brain tumor is a collection of damaged cells that multiply out of control within the brain. Also called a neoplasm, growth, mass or lesion, a brain tumor is classified as either primary or secondary (metastatic), and can be benign or malignant.




Types of brain tumors:


  • Primary brain tumors develop and generally remain in the brain.
  • Secondary brain tumors, or metastatic brain tumors, are cancers that develop elsewhere in the body and spread to the brain. The most common cancers that spread to the brain are lung and breast cancers.
  • Malignant brain tumors grow rapidly and invade other cells.
  • Benign brain tumors generally do not grow rapidly. However, even benign tumors can be life-threatening. Being informed of the diagnosis of a brain tumor is difficult for families, but there are also reasons to be hopeful. Substantial progress had been made in the medical understanding of cancers in general, and advances in learning the biology of brain tumors is leading to more effective treatment. Many of these treatment options are discussed below.



According to the American Brain Tumor Association, an estimated 62,000 new cases of primary brain tumors are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.

Some research indicates that the number of primary brain tumors is rising, particularly in the elderly. Primary malignant brain tumors represent 2.4 percent of all deaths due to cancer in the U.S. However, nearly half of all primary brain tumors are benign and can be treated successfully. An additional 150,000 individuals are diagnosed with metastatic brain tumors each year.

The frequency of metastatic brain tumors appears to be increasing: improvements in treating primary cancers elsewhere in the body allow people to live longer, but stray cancer cells can find their way to the brain.

There are more than 100 types of brain tumors. Certain types of primary brain tumors most commonly occur in children, while others occur more frequently in adults. Adult brain tumors typically appear between the ages of 40 and 60 years, and occur slightly more often in men.



As tumor cells multiply within the brain, they can press against, irritate and/or destroy normal brain tissue. As a result, brain tumors may cause symptoms such as:


  • headaches
  • seizures
  • speech problems
  • weakness
  • poor vision
  • pain or numbness
  • movement problems
  • paralysis
  • nausea or vomiting


Brain tumors may cause feelings of tiredness or fatigue. In addition, brain tumors can cause problems with memory, reading and talking. However, not everyone gets every symptom. About one-third of people with brain tumors have no symptoms at all.

Diagnosing Brain Tumors


Brain tumors may be diagnosed and evaluated using one or more of several different types of procedures:


  • MRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • CT – Computerized Tomography
  • PET – Positron Emission Tomography
  • Biopsy


MRI, CT, and PET scanning are all ways to take pictures of the inside of the body. They do not require surgery. These procedures are discussed in more detail below.



MRI ─ Magnetic Resonance Imaging
MRIs use an extremely strong magnet to produce images. With contrast-enhanced MRI, the patient is first injected with a dye that makes normal and tumor tissue display differently.

If your loved one requires an MRI, be sure to tell the doctor of any history of allergies or drug reactions. Because the MRI uses a magnet, no metal can be brought into the room while the MRI is taking place. Patients who have pacemakers and/or metal implants cannot have an MRI.



CT – Computerized Tomography
A CT scan may be used for patients who cannot undergo MRI because they have pacemakers, metal implants, allergies or claustrophobia.

CT scan machines take multiple x-rays of small areas of the brain from different angles. The computer then combines the scans to make a detailed, three-dimensional image.

Because iodine may be used as a contrast agent to enhance the image, you should tell the doctor if your loved one has any allergies, diabetes, asthma, a heart condition, kidney problems or thyroid conditions.



PET – Positron Emission Tomography Scan
PET scans are sometimes used in addition to MRI or CT to evaluate brain tumors. After receiving treatment for a brain tumor, PET scans can also be used to differentiate new tumor growth from scar tissue or necrosis (cells killed by radiation).


Biopsy is the surgical removal of a small piece of the tumor tissue. The tissue is studied to confirm the type of tumor, and to help the healthcare team outline a treatment plan.

Treating Brain Tumors


There is a range of options to be considered in the treatment of brain tumors. Your healthcare team will design a plan to help treat the tumor and relieve any symptoms the brain tumor may be causing.


The following healthcare professionals may be part of the treatment team:


  • Neurologist: a doctor who specializes in the management of patients with diseases of the brain and other parts of the nervous system.
  • Neurosurgeon (or brain surgeon): a doctor who specializes in surgery of the brain and the rest of the nervous system.
  • Neuro-oncologist: a doctor who specializes in the management of patients with brain tumors and other nervous system tumors.
  • Neuropsychologist: a psychologist who specializes in how the brain works and the impact that damage to the brain has on the patient.
  • Radiation Oncologist: a doctor who specializes in the management of cancer patients and treats them with radiation therapy.
  • Physical therapist: a healthcare provider who teaches and guides the patient through various exercises to prevent pain and restore function or help the patient to adapt to new physical limits.
  • Speech-language pathologist or speech therapist: a healthcare provider who specializes in the treatment of communication and swallowing problems.
  • Social worker: a healthcare provider who provides a wide range of services directly to persons with cancer and their families including counseling, support and education.



The first treatment of choice, depending on the location and size of the tumor, is surgical removal of as much of the lesion as possible (also called resection). Surgery can also reduce symptoms caused by swelling in the skull.

Improvement in surgical techniques in recent years has made surgery much safer; however, surgery always has risks that you and your loved one should discuss with the oncologist and neurosurgeon.

Surgery may be followed by radiotherapy (see below) to help treat any remaining tumor cells. In deciding whether surgery is right for your loved one, your doctor will consider the size, location and type of the tumor, overall health, and medical history.

Radiation Therapy or Radiotherapy



Radiation therapy is the use of painless x-rays which destroy tumor cells by making them unable to reproduce. Radiation may be used after surgery to prevent the tumor from coming back (recurrence), or to destroy tumor tissue that could not be completely removed. In cases where surgery is not an option, radiotherapy may be used instead of surgery to destroy tumor tissue or to relieve symptoms.


Different types of radiotherapy:


  • Whole Brain Radiation Therapy (WBRT) delivers an even dose of radiation to the entire brain. Whole brain radiotherapy is the preferred treatment for brain tumors, because it can treat small, undetectable tumors that may be developing in different areas of the brain. The advantages of whole brain radiotherapy are that it can treat large and small tumors, many tumors at the same time, and tumors deep in the brain that cannot be removed through surgery. Whole brain radiotherapy is often used to reduce the risk of tumor recurrence after surgery.
  • Conventional External Beam Radiation is the most common form of radiation therapy. The beams are aimed at the tumor plus a small border of tissue around the tumor. Conventional external beam radiation therapy is painless, and is typically given in 15-minute visits over several weeks.
  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery is a more targeted form of radiation therapy, and is not actually surgery at all. It is called “radiosurgery” be-cause it is so precise and focused. The equipment used for radiosurgery is generally referred to by its brand name, such as Gamma KnifeTM, X-knifeTM or CyberknifeTM. This form of therapy delivers a higher dose of radiation to a small tumor (usually 1.5 inches or less in diameter) in a single treatment session. Because this form of radiation targets the tumor more precisely, it is less likely to injure healthy tissue. Stereotactic radiosurgery only treats tumors that can be detected on MRI or CT scans.




Chemotherapy is the use of special drugs to kill tumor cells. Some chemotherapy drugs are given by mouth; others are given by injection. In some cases, chemotherapy may need to be given without stopping over a long period of time. In this case, a pump or catheter may be placed underneath the skin to deliver the drugs.

There is a chemically protective layer around the brain called the blood-brain barrier. This barrier can prevent the drugs or chemotherapy given by mouth or injection from reaching the brain. To solve this problem, new ways of giving chemotherapy are being developed to deliver the drug directly to the tumor. One example of this is chemotherapy wafer implants that are surgically implanted in the tumor site and deliver treatment over time.

New drugs are also being developed which target specific abnormalities in the tumor cells. Referred to as “targeted treatments,” this new generation of drugs forms the basis of personalized medicine.

Because chemotherapy affects both healthy cells and tumor cells, side effects can occur. These vary depending on the type of drug and the individual.

For a list of information about treatment for brain tumors, visit:

Treating the Symptoms

The following treatments can help with the symptoms of a brain tumor, such as headaches and nausea, although they will not actually help to remove the tumor or cure your loved one:


Steroids (Corticosteroids)
Brain tumors often produce swelling and inflammation inside the skull. This can cause headaches, sleepiness and other problems. Steroids (corticosteroids), usually dexamethasone, reduce the swelling quickly and can improve mental functioning.

Most patients feel better with short-term steroid medications; however, some will need to take steroids for more than a few months to control symptoms.

If your loved one takes steroids as part of the treatment plan, be sure to tell the doctor or nurse about any changes in their health that you may notice. Steroids can cause side effects such as weight gain, increased appetite, insomnia and irritability. Also, your loved one should speak with the doctor if they decide to stop taking steroids as stopping suddenly can be dangerous.


Anti-seizure Medications (Anticonvulsants)
Medications may be given to help prevent seizures. These medications are called anti-seizure medica-tions or anticonvulsants. There are several different anti-seizure medications available such as Keppra, Tegretol, Depakote, Neurontin, and Phenobarbitol. If your loved one is taking an anti-seizure medication as part of the treatment plan and either it does not work or causes unpleasant side effects, the doctor will be able to switch to a different medication.




Your loved one’s medical treatment is carefully planned to control the disease and reduce the symptoms as much as possible. Many people seek out complementary therapies to help them feel better and cope with the stress of cancer. These therapies are not meant to replace the medical therapy, but may help your loved one to manage his or her symptoms.

Complementary therapies for cancer may include stress management, relaxation and imagery training, meditation, group support, family counseling, nutrition, herbal medicine, massage, acupuncture and education. Some cancer centers and hospitals offer these services for people with cancer, their families, and their caregivers.


Recommended: My Brain Tumor – One Woman’s Uplifting Story


Can Clinical Trials Help Your Loved One?



Clinical trials are research studies to test new treatments. For cancer research a clinical trial might focus on medication, surgery, radiotherapy, a new type of therapy, or some combination of these. Benefits of participating in clinical trials include:

  • Being among the first to receive a promising new treatment
  • High-quality medical care
  • Helping doctors understand more about cancer treatment, thus helping future cancer patients


Some risks of participating in clinical trials include:


  • ƒƒAn experimental treatment may not be as good as standard care
  • ƒƒThe new treatment may not work for your loved one
  • ƒƒYour loved one may be in the study group that does not receive the new treatment


Doctors are now investigating several treatments for brain tumors in clinical trials. Some new drugs are designed to increase the effectiveness of standard treatments, such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Other new treatments are designed to change tumor cells, so that their growth is under control.

There are many ways to find trials that might be appropriate for your loved one. Start by asking the doctor about what trials are available. Various organizations also provide lists of trials along with information about what is being tested, and where the trial is occurring.


What Will Happen After Treatment?


After treatment, a patient’s health is monitored closely. An MRI, CT, or other type of imaging scan may be done every so often to see if the treatment is working. Frequent physical exams will help the doctor find out if the cancer has returned or if side effects are a problem. Be sure to report any recurrence of symptoms or other changes in your loved one’s health promptly to the doctor or nurse.

Issues for Caregivers


Q: What effects do brain tumors have on the mind, emotions or personality?

Brain tumors can indeed affect the mind, emotions, and/or personality. Problems with memory, speech, and/or concentration may occur. Your loved one may face serious mental challenges with feelings of confusion. Moods may change, as may the way a person acts. Your loved one may have difficulty doing more than one task at a time. Various treatments may slow the progression of these symptoms, so check with the doctor about what treatments may help.

Be aware that a neuropsychologist can help with rehabilitation. In order to come up with an effective plan, the neuropsychologist will first do a series of tests to look at your loved one’s emotions, behaviors, and mental abilities.

Based on the results of the tests, one or more of the following may be recommended:

  • Cognitive rehabilitation, which means treatment for mental difficulties
  • Occupational rehabilitation, which is education and training about how to be able to continue working
  • Counseling to deal with emotional changes


Recommended: My Brain Tumor – One Woman’s Uplifting Story


Q: How can the home be safer for my loved one with brain tumors?

Due to possible muscle weakness, changes in balance, and other considerations, the following may help make your home safer for your loved one:


  • If the home is more than one story, consider putting your loved one’s bed on the ground floor


Q: How can I cope emotionally?

As a caregiver, you may choose to receive counseling either to learn how to help your loved one deal with the mental changes they are having, or to learn to deal with your own reactions to changes in your loved one.

This is a difficult time for everyone involved. While illness may bring people closer together, it may also cause tension, unhappiness and stress. Here are some suggestions for coping:


  • Find family members and friends who are willing to commit to helping you take care of your loved one.
  • Involve those people in a caring community that provides both practical and emotional support to you and your loved one.
  • Identify your strengths and the strengths of the others in your caring community.
  • Take time off regularly! Caregiver burnout is a major concern.
  • Get involved with outside groups and organizations that provide support and information for people with cancer and their caregivers.

Credits:  American Brain Tumor Association, 2007, Living with a Brain Tumor, Chicago, IL.    American Brain Tumor Association, 2010, A Primer of Brain Tumors, Ninth Edition, Chicago, IL.   National Brain Tumor Society (formerly National Brain Tumor Foundation), 2002, Coping with your Loved One’s Brain Tumor, Oakland, CA.   National Brain Tumor Society, 2004, Understanding Brain Metastases: A Guide for Patient and Caregiver, Oakland, CA.

Recommended: My Brain Tumor – One Woman’s Uplifting Story


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Alternative Fibromyalgia Treatment Track Records

Alternative Fibromyalgia Treatment Track Records





It would be great if we could just give people a pill to fix their fibromyalgia,” says Mark J. Pellegrino, MD, of Ohio Pain and Rehabilitation Specialists and author of 13 books on fibromyalgia. “But there’s no magic pill. A balanced approach is important.”


For some people with fibromyalgia, that balanced approach includes trying complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in addition to medication, exercise, and physical therapy.


There hasn’t been a lot of formal research on the effectiveness of alternative treatments for fibromyalgia. But many people with fibromyalgia and some doctors believe some alternative treatments can help ease pain, fatigue, and other symptoms, especially when combined with conventional approaches.




Popular Alternative Treatments and Their Track Records


Commonly Used Dietary Supplements for Fibromyalgia



Natrol 5-HTP TR Time Release, 200mg, 30 Tablets


5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan). This is a building block for the brain chemical serotonin. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression, so it’s believed that raising serotonin levels can lead to a better mood. One study found that 5-HTP supplements may also help ease anxiety, insomnia, fibromyalgia pain, and morning stiffness.









 Jarrow Formulas SAM-e, Promotes Joint Strength, Mood and Brain Function, 200 mg, 60 Enteric-Coated tabs




SAMe (S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine). This amino acid derivative may boost levels of serotonin and dopamine, another brain chemical. Limited research suggests SAMe may improve mood and sleep.





 Doctor's Best High Absorption Magnesium (200 Mg Elemental), 240-Count




Magnesium. Low levels of this element may be linked to fibromyalgia. However, research has not turned up solid evidence that taking magnesium supplements improves symptoms.








  Now Foods Melatonin

Melatonin. This hormone is often used in supplements to improve sleep. It may also ease fibromyalgia pain.












Nature's Bounty St. John's Wort, Double Strength, 300mg, 100 Capsules (Pack of 2)





St. John’s wort. Though this herb is sometimes used to treat certain fibromyalgia symptoms, there’s no solid evidence that it works. A few studies suggest it may help with mild depression. But it can also limit the effectiveness of some medications.






Pellegrino, who has fibromyalgia and is a physician speaker for pharmaceutical companies that make medications used to treat fibromyalgia, considers the “three pillars of treatment” to be medicine, physical therapy, and supplements.

He says that some supplements, along with other treatments and lifestyle changes, have helped his patients experience less pain, more energy, and better sleep.

The idea behind using supplements is to boost levels of certain substances in your body that may reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia. “If there’s a deficiency you can measure,” says Pellegrino, “it makes sense to replace that deficiency.”



Supplements and Fibromyalgia: Proceed With Caution


If you are considering supplements, talk with your doctor. Some supplements can have harmful interactions with prescription medications. Some are unsafe if you have certain medical conditions. Pellegrino also advises being wary of products that promise fibromyalgia relief or contain supplements not commonly used.

“When it comes to supplements, we’re learning more and more,”  “But unlike drugs, we don’t have rigorous research. It’s important for a person with fibromyalgia to work with a doctor who is knowledgeable about supplements.”



Acupuncture to Ease Fibromyalgia Pain


In traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture was thought to rebalance the flow of energy through one’s body. For modern Western practitioners, it’s a healing method that increases blood flow and production of the body’s natural painkillers.

In its most common form, acupuncture involves stimulating points on the body by inserting thin needles into the skin. When a slight electric current is run through the needles, it’s known as electroacupuncture. Both methods are used for fibromyalgia.

Some people believe acupuncture is an effective, if temporary, treatment for fibromyalgia symptoms. Others are not so sure.

In a 2006 Mayo Clinic study, acupuncture appeared to significantly reduce fatigue and anxiety among people with fibromyalgia. Other studies have suggested that acupuncture can temporarily ease fibromyalgia pain as well. Yet researchers who analyzed several clinical trials, including the Mayo Clinic study, concluded that overall, acupuncture is not effective in treating fibromyalgia.




Personal Recommendation: Nayoya Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set

Nayoya Back and Neck Pain Relief - Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set - Relieves Stress, Back, Neck, and Sciatic Pain - Comes with a Vinyl Carry Bag for Storage and Travel - As Seen in USA Today


On a personal note, in our house,we have used the Nayoya Acupressure mat for everything from my husband’s sciatica pain to my frozen shoulder. 


It takes some getting used to, but after about 15 minutes, there is an intense feeling of relaxation, and it does seem to help with pain.  Worth trying (especially if you don’t like acupuncture needles). There are over 2,000 consumer reviews for the Nayoya mat on Amazon.


Trying things yourself may be the only way to find out what works for you. It may take several acupuncture treatments for you to conclude whether its benefits, if any, are worth the money.



Alternative Fibromyalgia Treatments: Massage


Massage can reduce muscle tension and ease pain in the muscles and soft tissue. It can also improve circulation and range of motion and boost production of natural painkillers. Some studies suggest it can improve your mood. And it may help people with fibromyalgia sleep better, too.

Formal studies of the effects of massage on fibromyalgia symptoms are few and results are mixed. However, researchers at the University of Miami’s Touch Research Institute report that just 20 minutes of moderate-pressure massage can lessen the flow of chemicals associated with pain and stress while increasing production of serotonin.

The result: a better night’s sleep. That can help combat fatigue and the inability to concentrate known as “fibro fog.”




Osaki OS-4000A model OS-4000
Osaki OS4000B Model OS-4000 Zero Gravity Executive Fully Body Massage Chair

Again on a personal note, my husband and I regularly use a massage chair in our home.  My husband swears it helps him immensely when his sciatica pain flares up. 

I believe this would be a worthwhile investment for the management of any chronic pain condition, such as fibromyalgia. 









Fibromyalgia Treatments at Home


Don’t forget simple and inexpensive home remedies for pain. For example, heat — especially moist heat — can temporarily ease pain and stiffness by boosting blood flow to the places where you hurt.

Try applying a moist heating pad, taking a warm shower, or just warming your clothes in the dryer before you put them on. Cold packs can help you feel better too, by reducing the deep muscle pain of fibromyalgia.



Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.





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Find The Best Bathroom Scale for You


Find The Best Bathroom Scale for You


Trim Digital Bathroom Scale with LCD Display, Tempered Glass Surface


Modern bathroom scales are a far cry from yesterday’s models. Mechanical scales, once the only kind you could buy, are still available and are still favored by some.

However, these scales also have some downsides. They display weight with an analog dial and needle pointer, which introduces some imprecision compared to digital displays (see below). In addition, the inner workings of a mechanical scale can be surprisingly delicate, made up of small pieces, including springs that lend themselves to wear and tear, introducing inaccuracies.

Photo above – Trim Digital Bathroom Scale




See my full reviews below, including




While mechanical scales are purely mechanical in nature, digital scales use load cells to convert the physical weight on the scale to an electrical signal that’s displayed on a readout with a precision that’s as close as a tenth of a pound.

In addition to greater accuracy, the advantage of having weight represented by an electrical signal is that it allows for a lot of added functionality. Some of that is fun stuff — like the ability for the scale to speak your weight aloud, though those that are overly self-conscious about their weight might not find that a particularly helpful attribute.

Other features are more useful, however. Some digital scales will also display your Body Mass Index (BMI), a measure of fitness that’s based on your weight and height. Some are body fat scales, sending small electrical pulses through a user’s body in an attempt to gauge body weight/density.

Smart scales are digital scales that take things a step further. They wirelessly connect to a smartphone, tablet or directly to the Internet via Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth, and integrate with compatible apps and web sites to help you keep tabs on your overall fitness. Data transmitted includes weight, of course, but often other measures such as body fat, BMI, and more, such as heart rate. Many smart scales include built-in memory to store multiple user profiles and allow a single scale to serve the needs of an entire family. Some can display information collected from the web, such as the predicted weather.


Finding the best bathroom scales

While mechanical scales are still very much available, digital scales tend to score more favorably in user and, especially, expert reviews, and are the best choice these days for most buyers.

To find the best basic, body fat and smart digital scales, I turned first to a bevy of experts, including,, Good Housekeeping and others, putting the most weight (pun intended) on those sources that perform hands on testing.

I also looked at the extensive user reviews available at sites such as,, and elsewhere. These user reviews help us fill in the gaps regarding factors such as real-world ease-of-use and long term reliability. The results are my selections as the Best Reviewed bathroom scales for any user and any budget.


Best Overall Bathroom Scale


Precision Digital Bathroom Scale w/ Extra Large Lighted Display, 400 lb. Capacity and "Step-On" Technology [2016 VERSION]


The EatSmart Precision Digital Bathroom Scale lacks much in the way of bells and whistles, but offers everything you need in a modern bathroom scale. It’s easy to use, easy to read, economical, and reasonably accurate.

Its 400 pound weight capacity makes it suitable for most individuals, and its clear glass platform fits in with most bathroom décor. A tape measure so that you can also keep track of inches, hopefully, lost is also included.

  • Large, 3.5-inch backlit display
  • 400-pound weight capacity
  • 0.2-pound measurement increments
  • Company has well regarded customer service
  • Some small quibbles about accuracy


Bottom line

The EatSmart Precision Digital Bathroom Scale is a solid performer with good accuracy and reliability in a sleek, attractive package. It’s easy to use, with no tap-on required to calibrate the scale before use and a large, backlit display for readability. The company has also established a track record for proactively reaching out to users that report less than perfect satisfaction to make sure any issues are fully addressed.


Breaking it down


Excellent performance. While the experts at Good Housekeeping say that the EatSmart Precision isn’t the most accurate it has tested, most owners don’t share similar quibbles. User reviews regarding accuracy largely say they are pleased. Among those that aren’t, EatSmart offers responsive customer service, contacting each reviewer leaving negative feedback at to address concerns; in some cases even sending along a free replacement when one wasn’t requested. The majority of those users come back to report that their new scales are highly accurate performers.


Ease of use

No tap-on calibration necessary. The EatSmart Precision Digital Bathroom Scale couldn’t be simpler to use. One issue with earlier versions was that they required a toe tap to turn on and calibrate the scale, but that’s been eliminated in a 2014 update. The scale’s large 3.5-inch backlit display offers easy readability, even in dim lighting conditions.


Strong track record. The EatSmart scale has been available for quite a few years, and feedback indicates that while some initial quality issues are not unheard of, those are usually quickly addressed by the company. We also saw lots of user reviews at that reflected long-term use, often after several years, and most owners say that their scales are still going strong. The Precision digital scale is backed by EatSmart’s two-year guarantee.



Sleek, slim design attractive in any setting. Users praise the EatSmart Precision’s slim, sleek appearance, which they say fits in well with nearly any décor. The 12- by 13-inch platform isn’t the best for large users, but helps keep the footprint small, a plus in a tight bathroom.


Best Body-Fat Scale

EatSmart Precision GetFit Digital Body Fat Scale w/ 400 lb. Capacity & Auto Recognition Technology
Experts say that while home body-fat scales are all challenged when it comes to accuracy, the EatSmart Precision GetFit Digital Body Fat Scale performs as well as the top models, and outperforms many when it comes to accurately and consistently measuring weight. It’s attractively styled, too, with a slim profile that matches it slim price — at least compared to other body-fat scales. Ease of use is terrific, too.
  • Can track up to eight users
  • Easy-to-read LCD display
  • Auto-calibration (step-on technology)
  • Terrific customer service
  • Body fat measurements can be inaccurate
  • Doesn’t calculate Body Mass Index (BMI)


Bottom Line

The EatSmart Precision GetFit Digital Body Fat Scale offers four measurement modes: weight, body fat, bone mass, and body water. While, like all home body-fat scales, body-fat measurements should be looked at more as a guide than as gospel, it’s otherwise accurate and highly affordable compared to similar products.

Setup and use is easy, and the scale can track the data for up to eight users. While there are some complaints of malfunctioning units, EatSmart is known for its superior customer service.



Mostly terrific, but take body-fat measurements with a grain of salt. Because of the technology used, experts are nearly unanimous in saying that home body-fat scales can’t do more than a fair job, at best, of measuring body fat. However, the EatSmart Precision GetFit Digital Body Fat Scale compares favorably to even those body-fat scales that cost considerably more in that regard, and often beats them in other ways. “One of the less expensive advanced body analysis scales, this model worked comparably to our top performers, weighing subjects both accurately and consistently,” Good Housekeeping says. The GetFit can track body mass, body water, bone mass and muscle mass based on a user’s weight and other settings that manually entered (height, lifestyle considerations) but, notes, it can’t display a Body Mass Index reading.


Ease of Use

Simple to setup and intuitive to use. This scale must be set up before use by inputting statistics for each user, but most owners agree that setup is a cinch and typically takes less than 10 minutes.

Reviews also praise this scale’s ability to track up to eight users, making it simple for multiple family members to monitor their personal weight loss and fitness goals. owners consistently give kudos to the large (3.5-inch), backlit display and ample platform. Step on technology eliminates the need to tap the scale to calibrate it before stepping on it for a measurement.



Durable product, excellent customer service. Users posting reviews of the EatSmart Precision GetFit on generally praise construction quality. Like most EatSmart scales, there are some users who report getting a defective unit.

However, EatSmart is known for its superior customer service, and many received replacement products — sometimes without requesting them — that have functioned flawlessly for months or years. The EatSmart Precision GetFit Digital Body Fat Scale is backed by EatSmart’s two-year warranty.



Sleek, modern finish looks great in any bathroom. The EatSmart Precision GetFit Digital Body Fat Scale has a sleek, modern look that owners love. It’s available in either black or white, with a tempered glass platform and chrome-like sides and bottom.



Best Smart Scale

Withings WS-50 Smart Body Analyzer, Black

Tech-savvy buyers will find the Withings WS-50 Smart Body Analyzer lives up to their standards. It measures weight, of course, as well as body fat, and has a few extra tricks up its sleeve — including the ability to measure indoor air quality and display weather forecasts. Connectivity is via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. It is compatible with many third-party mobile and web apps, or you can use Withings own app, which draws kudos of its own.  

  • Accurate weight measurement
  • Tracks multiple users
  • Easy to setup and use
  • Attractive design
  • Works on any floor surface
  • Poor customer support


The Withings WS-50 smart scale is a top choice for the tech-savvy user that want’s a connected scale to keep track of their weight and more. It’s versatile, with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and the ability to play nice with third party apps — though reviews say that its own app is powerful enough for most users. Testing shows that the WS-50 is highly accurate when it comes to weight measurements, and no less accurate than other home scales when it comes to measuring body fat. While most users are satisfied, those that run into issues say that customer service is often unresponsive.



A high-tech, accurate performer. The Withings WS-50 Smart Body Analyzer is no ordinary scale. It’s a connected smart scale that can share its measurements via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. You can use your favorite third party app to track your progress, or use Withings’ own app, which draws praise for its usefulness and versatility, including the ability to accept data from other apps and devices.

For those with massive self-confidence, the Withings app can even tweet out your progress to the world, if that’s something you’d actually like to do.

When it comes to measuring weight, no scale does better in expert reviews, and calls it the most accurate scale it’s tested. It’s also one of the few scales that testing shows to be reliable on a variety of floor surfaces and coverings, including carpeting, according to Elizabeth Palermo at

Body-fat measurements, on the other hand, are no more accurate than other home scales — a limitation of the technology they all use — in other words, fair at best, though that’s still better than many body-fat scales. The scale can also capture and record room air quality and temperature data, and even display that day’s weather forecast.


Ease of Use

Setup is a cinch — most of the time. Connected devices often pose challenges to users when it comes to getting that connectivity to actually work, and the WS-50 is not immune from that — and, no surprise, the challenges are especially steep for those connecting via Wi-Fi rather than Bluetooth. However, if you don’t run into those issues — or can overcome them — everything else seems to go as smooth as silk. “Setting up the Withings scale was refreshingly simple,” says Palermo, who adds that Bluetooth pairing with her smartphone was actually easier than with other smart scales in the test.

The WS-50 can automatically track up to eight users, with the initials of the user appearing in one corner of the 2.9-inch backlit display so you know you are using your profile rather than someone else’s.



Spotty customer service. Although Withings offers a one-year, limited warranty, some owners indicate that customer service is slow or completely unresponsive. Reports of units that failed prematurely are not uncommon, though don’t appear to be higher than with similar products.



Appealing, sleek, modern and shiny look. Reviewers agree that the Withings WS-50 is attractive, with an elegant glass surface. “We like its sleek all-glass top, which will look up-to-date on any bathroom tile floor for years to come,” says Laptop magazine’s Mike Prospero.



Also Consider: Best Cheap Smart Scale


Weight Gurus Bluetooth Smart Connected Body Fat Scale with Large Backlit LCD, by Greater Goods (Black)
Experts quibble a little over its accuracy and sensitivity, but the consensus is that the Weight Gurus Bluetooth Smart Connected Scale is a competent performer and a terrific value. 


The Weight Gurus app is well regarded, and the scale seems to be less prone to user issues regarding smart features and connectivity than some competing products.
The Weight Gurus Bluetooth Smart Connected Scale rates 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon with over 800 customer reviews.

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Elder Abuse Questions and Answers


World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD)


World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was launched on June 15, 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations.  It is recognized annually on June 15th.

The purpose of WEAAD is to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.

In addition, WEAAD is in support of the United Nations International Plan of Action acknowledging the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue. WEAAD serves as a call-to-action for individuals, organizations, and communities to raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.


Tools and Tips

Every year an estimated 5 million older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. And that’s only part of the picture: Experts believe that for every case of elder abuse or neglect reported, as many as 23 cases go unreported.

With such a complex issue, there is only one way we can address it: United together.

The Administration for Community Living (ACL), partnered with the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), encourages individuals and organizations across our nation, states, and local communities to take a stand and to raise public awareness about elder abuse.

Your voice can speak out against ageism, combat isolation, and bolster education efforts one person and community at a time.

Visit he Take Action page to find more ideas. Visit the WEAAD microsite on to become a collaborator. Need additional resources? Contact the National Center on Elder Abuse

In Canada, visit the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (CNPEA)


Frequently Asked Questions

Elder abuse is a growing problem. While we don’t know all of the details about why abuse occurs or how to stop its spread, we do know that help is available for victims. Concerned people, like you, can spot the warning signs of a possible problem, and make a call for help if an elder is in need of assistance.


What is Elder Abuse?

Federal definitions of elder abuse first appeared in the 1987 Amendments to the Older Americans Act, however, these definitions are guidelines. Each state defines elder abuse according to its unique statutes and regulations, and definitions vary from state to state. Researchers also use varying definitions to describe and study the problem.

Domestic elder abuse generally refers to any of the following types of mistreatment that are committed by someone with whom the elder has a special relationship (for example, a spouse, sibling, child, friend, or caregiver).

Institutional abuse generally refers to any of the following types of mistreatment occurring in residential facilities (such as a nursing home, assisted living facility, group home, board and care facility, foster home, etc.) and is usually perpetrated by someone with a legal or contractual obligation to provide some element of care or protection.

Elder abuse can affect people of all ethnic backgrounds and social status and can affect both men and women. The following types of abuse are commonly accepted as the major categories of elder mistreatment:

  • Physical Abuse—Inflicting, or threatening to inflict, physical pain or injury on a vulnerable elder, or depriving them of a basic need.
  • Emotional Abuse—Inflicting mental pain, anguish, or distress on an elder person through verbal or nonverbal acts.
  • Sexual Abuse—Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind, coercing an elder to witness sexual behaviors.
  • Exploitation—Illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a vulnerable elder.
  • Neglect—Refusal or failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter, health care or protection for a vulnerable elder.
  • Abandonment—The desertion of a vulnerable elder by anyone who has assumed the responsibility for care or custody of that person.

Although there are distinct types of abuse defined, it is not uncommon for an elder to experience more than one type of mistreatment at the same or different times. For example, a person financially exploiting an elder may also be neglecting to provide appropriate care, food, medication, etc. 


What Are the Warning Signs of Elder Abuse?

While one sign does not necessarily indicate abuse, some indicators that there could be a problem are:

  • Change Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, and burns may be an indication of physical abuse, neglect, or mistreatment.
  • Bruises around the breasts or genital area can occur from sexual abuse.
  • Sudden change in alertness and unusual depression may be indicators of emotional abuse.
  • Sudden changes in financial situations may be the result of exploitation.
  • Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, and unusual weight loss are indicators of possible neglect.
  • Behavior such as belittling, threats, and other uses of power and control by spouses or those who should be in a position of trust are indicators of verbal or emotional abuse.
  • Strained or tense relationships, frequent arguments between the caregiver and elderly person are also signs. 

It’s important to remain alert. The suffering is often in silence. If you notice changes in personality, behavior, or physical condition, you should start to question what is going on.


What is Self Neglect and What Are the Signs?

Tragically, sometimes elders neglect their own care, which can lead to illness or injury. Self-neglect can include behaviors such as:

  • Hoarding of objects, newspapers/magazines, mail/paperwork, etc., and/or animal hoarding to the extent that the safety of the individual (and/or other household or community members) is threatened or compromised.
  • Failure to provide adequate food and nutrition for oneself.
  • Failure to take essential medications or refusal to seek medical treatment for serious illness
  • Leaving a burning stove unattended
  • Poor hygiene
  • Not wearing suitable clothing for the weather
  • Confusion
  • Inability to attend to housekeeping
  • Dehydration

Self-neglect is one of the most frequently reported concerns brought to adult protective services. Oftentimes, the problem is paired with declining health, isolation, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, or drug and alcohol dependency.

In some of these cases, elders will be connected to supports in the community that can allow them to continue living on their own. Some conditions like depression and malnutrition may be successfully treated through medical intervention. If the problems are severe enough, a guardian may be appointed.


What Makes Older Adults Vulnerable to Abuse?

Elder abuse, like other types of domestic violence, is extremely complex. Generally a combination of psychological, social, and economic factors, along with the mental and physical conditions of the victim and the perpetrator, contribute to the occurrence of elder maltreatment.

Although the factors listed below cannot explain all types of elder maltreatment, because it is likely that different types (as well as each single incident) involve different casual factors, they are some of the risk factors researchers say seem to be related to elder abuse.

Dementia and Cognitive Impairment
Elders with dementia are thought to be at greater risk of abuse and neglect than those of the general elderly population. Risk factors for this population include the caregivers heightened perception of burden and depressive symptoms, as well as the care recipient’s psychological aggression and physical assault behaviors.


Domestic Violence Grown Old

It is important to acknowledge that spouses make up a large percentage of elder abusers, and that a substantial proportion of these cases are domestic violence grown old: partnerships in which one member of a couple has traditionally tried to exert power and control over the other through emotional abuse, physical violence and threats, isolation, and other tactics.


Personal Problems of Abusers

Particularly in the case of adult children, abusers often are dependent on their victims for financial assistance, housing, and other forms of support. Oftentimes they need this support because of personal problems, such as mental illness, alcohol or drug abuse, or other dysfunctional personality characteristics. The risk of elder abuse seems to be particularly high when these adult children live with the elder.


Living with Others and Social Isolation

Both living with someone else and being socially isolated have been associated with higher elder abuse rates. These seemingly contradictory findings may turn out to be related in that abusers who live with the elder have more opportunity to abuse and yet may be isolated from the larger community themselves or may seek to isolate the elders from others so that the abuse is not discovered. Further research needs to be done to explore the relationship between these factors.


Who Are the Abusers of Older People?

Although more research is needed, most cases of elder abuse are perpetrated by known and trusted others, particularly family members (including adult children, spouses, and others). Abusers can be men or women, of any age, race, or socio-economic status. Elder mistreatment is perpetrated by family members, friends, service providers, peers, and strangers.


Are There Criminal Penalties For the Abusers?

Although laws vary from state to state, in most states there are several laws that address criminal penalties for various types of elder abuse. Some states have increased penalties for those who victimize older adults. Increasingly, across the country, law enforcement officers and prosecutors are trained on elder abuse and how to use criminal and civil laws to bring abusers to justice. Read about state elder abuse laws, important legal issues, and how to access the laws in our Laws Section of Library.


Who Do I Call If I Suspect Elder Abuse?

In the United States, visit this page.

In Canada, visit this page.



What Can I Do if Concerned About Possible Neglect or Abuse in a Nursing Home?

If you suspect abuse or neglect of someone living in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or board and care home, contact a local Long-Term Care Ombudsman for more information. For a directory of state reporting numbers and resources, visit the State Resources page.

The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care  (formerly NCCNHR):

  • Empowers and educates consumers and families
  • Trains and supports individuals and groups to advocate for and empower consumers
  • Promotes the critical role of direct-care workers and best practices in quality-care delivery
  • Advocates for public policies that support quality care and life

The website provides information and resources to help residents  understand your rights and advocate for quality care, as well as for family members and friends

In Canada, call your local police if the situation is not an emergency but you suspect it might be against the law. Ask to speak to someone who has been trained in elder abuse or domestic/family violence.  If the situation is an emergency, call 9-1-1. Also, visit the CNPEA for more information


How Can Elder Abuse Be Prevented?

Educating seniors, professionals, caregivers, and the public on abuse is critical to prevention. On an individual level, some simple but vital steps to reduce the risk:

  • Take care of your health.
  • Seek professional help for drug, alcohol, and depression concerns, and urge family members to get help for these problems.
  • Attend support groups for spouses and learn about domestic violence services.
  • Plan for your own future. With a limited power of attorney or a living will, health care decisions can be addressed to avoid confusion and family problems, should you become incapacitated. Seek independent advice from someone you trust before signing any documents.
  • Stay active in the community and connected with friends and family. This will decrease social isolation, which has been connected to elder abuse.
  • Know your rights. If you engage the services of a paid or family caregiver, you have the right to voice your preferences and concerns. If you live in a nursing home or board and care home, call your Long Term Care Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is your advocate and has the power to intervene.


All states have adult protective and long-term care ombudsman programs, family care supports, and home and community care services that can help older adults with activities of daily living. Call the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 for information and referrals on services in your area.

Visit the Get Involved section to learn how concerned citizens of all ages can become involved in prevention, or in Canada, join the CNPEA here.


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Patient Lifts and Slings For Safety and Comfort


Patient Lifts and Slings For Safety and Comfort




Patient lifts and slings are an essential part of home health care when a person requires help getting out of bed, getting up from a sitting position or when they need help moving from one spot to another.



Patient Lifts have provided patients and caregivers alike, with a more efficient means of transportation. Patient lifts allow an occupant to be effortlessly lifted from a bed and transferred into a wheelchair, onto a commode, or bath, all without any strain by the caregiver or risk by the occupant. Patient lifts offer safety assistance to both the occupant and the caregiver.


From manual patient lifts to electric patient lifts to scales and slings, there are a wide variety of effective patient lifting devices available in today’s medical supplies market which affects how the lift operates for the caregiver and occupant.


There are a number of factors you should take into consideration before making a purchase, including how much you are willing to spend, where is the lift going to be used, how much the occupant weighs and how often you will be using the lift.


By answering the questions below, you can best assess the type that will best suit your needs.


The basic questions to ask before buying a Patient Lift are:


  • Is the lifting to be done from a seated or a prone position?
  • Does the occupant have a lack of extremity use or spasticity?
  • Can the patient utilize the provided hand grips?
  • Is collapsible design a necessity?


The primary advantage of all the general purpose patient lifts is that they enable a single caregiver to meet a wide range of safe patient handling requirements for patient and caregiver injury prevention.

Patient Lifts can widely be classified into 4 categories:


  • Manual Patient Lifts
  • Power Patient Lifts
  • Stand-Up Patient Lifts
  • Heavy-Duty Patient Lifts


Other Patient Lift Resources include:


  • Lifting Slings
  • Lift Accessories

Power Patient Lifts

Electric Patient Lifts come equipped with enormous power enabling them to accommodate a wider range of patients.

Electric Patient Lifts are often able to hold up to six hundred pounds and feature power-operated bases that allow for customized structuring.

They feature an ergonomic design, which makes patient transfers much easier and less stressful for both the patient and the caregiver. Additionally, electric patient lifts also offer long, padded handles with various grip choices to accommodate users of different heights.

Further, electric patient lifts operate via a rechargeable battery pack or plug-in cord and also include a manual override feature in case of a power outage. Due to these features, electric patient lifts are more expensive than their manual counterparts.

Stand-Up Patient Lifts

Stand-Up Patient Lifts are designed for the caregiver to assist patients in standing from a seated position, dressing or undressing, and/or moving the patient from a wheelchair to a commode or bed.

Stand-Up lifts are ideal for patients who are too weak to stand without assistance. Stand-up patient lifts are preferred over general purpose floor lifts because they provide the patient a greater degree of independence and participation and at the same time promotes circulation and joint range and improves clinical outcomes by enabling the patient to stand for a period of time.

Heavy-Duty Patient Lifts

Heavy-duty Patient Lifts are capable of lifting up to 1000-lbs. Heavy-duty Patient Lifts are ideal homecare equipment for transferring bariatric patients from bed to wheelchair, wheelchair to commode or bath etc.

The base legs are generally adjustable and open for additional stability during transfers. The legs of these lifts can also easily close to make the lift as narrow as possible for hallways and doorways.

Additionally, Heavy-duty frame mounts and steel tubing outline such structures in order to guarantee optimum strength to lift heavy loads. All Bariatric Lifts are electrically operated and use 24V rechargeable batteries.

Patient Lift Slings

Patient Lift Slings are easy for the caregiver to use and provide secure support to the patient. These durable, comfortable slings are available in a variety of styles and fabrics to meet specific patient needs.

Getting the right Lift Sling is a vital part of purchasing and using a Patient Lift. Both normal patient lifts and stand-up patient lifts require that the sling is purchased separately, because patient lift slings are available in multiple sizes and styles to meet specific needs.

Each sling is constructed of durable materials which resist deterioration from exposure to moisture or laundering. Patient Lift Slings are available in a variety of styles like full-body sling, sling with toileting cut-out, commode sling and divided leg sling.



Installing patient lifts and slings can prove invaluable to the comfort of both the caregiver and the patient, increasing the quality of life for those who have advanced mobility issues, and enabling those who are temporarily or permanently disabled to remain in their homes rather than having to relocate to a nursing home.


With so many variables at play, choosing the right patient lift can be a daunting task and an uninformed purchase can cost time and money. Luckily, I’ve put together a guide to help you choose the right lift for any user’s unique needs.




Floor Based Patient Lifts


Hoyer Deluxe Power Patient Lift HPL402


Floor based patient lifts can be moved from room to room and are spatially economical. We offer several models ranging in price and designed to support a wide range of weight. The Hoyer Deluxe Power Patient Lifter features handle grips to reduce back strain and a mechanical lever for non-powered lowering. This model also provides the patient with more leg-clearance and comes equipped with castor bumpers to prevent wall and furniture damage. This patient lift is designed to support up to 400 pounds, folds for compact storage and can easily be moved from room to room.


If you require a standing lift with the utmost support, the Reliant Stand-Up Patient Lift is ideal. This lift supports up to 350 pounds and the adjustment features adapt to a range of body sizes. This patient lift features multi-functioning slings that allow for quick toilet transfers, stand assist and full supported seated transfers.





Tension Mounted Overhead Patient Lifts



Another great in-home lift is the Guardian Voyager Portable Overhead Lifter. It has a lifting capacity from 220-440 pounds, enabling care givers to easily perform safe lifting with less effort, keeping them from getting injured themselves.


Guardian Voyager Portable Overhead Lifter (for Easytrack Systems) The Guardian Voyager Portable Lifter when used with optional Easytrack Systems, offers a revolutionary breakthrough in overhead lifting and transfer technology for the home.


Overhead ceiling lifts solve the problems that traditional floor-based lifts have presented such as difficulty maneuvering over thick carpeting, turning in tight spots, and getting into and around bathrooms.


Although ceiling lifts have been available, they typically require permanent and expensive modifications to the home thus turning it into an institutional setting. Now, with the Guardian Voyager and Easytrack Lift, caregivers can easily transfer family members or loved ones from a bed to a wheelchair, wheelchair to bath or any where else within the range of the Easytrack System without permanently defacing their homes.


A Guardian Voyager with Easytrack System can be the enabling factor that allows the home to be the primary place for care. And because the system is portable and can be setup without tools in as little as 5 minutes, it offers the flexibility to travel.


The Voyager Portable Lifter is the lightest portable lift on the market today. Weighing only 12 pounds with the battery, the Voyager can lift up to 440 pounds.


Its lightweight design allows for portability and easy attachment to any permanent mount or the Easytrack trolley if using one of the Easytrack systems. The smooth, quiet operation ensures the person being transferred is safe and comfortable. The patented Quick Release feature prevents having to lift the Guardian Voyager onto the rail, as well as saves time and battery power.






  • Can be used with optional 2, 3, and 4 post track configurations
  • Heavy-duty Lifting Capacity – 440 lbs
  • Lightweight – only 12 lbs. (including battery)
  • Lightweight and portable – only 12 lbs.
  • Quick easy set-up in less than 5 minutes
  • Push button feature to Remove and rechargeable Battery pack
  • Quick Strap Release Lever – fast winding/unwinding of Strap before and after transfer operation
  • Electronic soft-start and Soft-stop



Patient Slings

There are a variety of slings available for rent or purchase depending on patient needs and the type of lift you decide on. Look slings that offer full head and neck support and double padding for comfort, and are machine-washable. Quick-drying mesh fabric makes them ideal for bathing, and handles and strong nylon and polyester straps help to prevent falls. The Hammock 6 Sling was designed with additional straps to prevent falls of agitated or non-cooperative patients.



With four sling points and a padded head support, the Extra Large Patient Lift U-Sling with Head Support by Drive Medical is a valuable accessory to a floor lift.



The solid-design, polyester product does not require an optional chain or strap and can withstand a weight capacity of 600 pounds. The 58″L x 49″W sling includes 4 or 6 cradle points.

Renting Or Buying Patient Lifts and Slings

If you temporarily need patient lifts and slings you may prefer to go with patient lift rentals. Many patient lifts and slings are available to rent as well as purchase.

Also, it is always crucial to investigate the options and familiarize yourself with the safety features of your patient lifts and slings before purchase, and contact the supplier if you have any further questions.


Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.







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