Should You Be Taking Probiotics?

Should You Be Taking Probiotics?

 

 

 

The more we learn about microbes, the more we find our health is tied to their well-being.

 

Each person carries more bacterial cells than human cells in their body, and the gut is especially rich in microscopic friends. While our understanding of just how these bacteria influence our health is still in early stages, it’s clear that the balance of communities in our system plays an important role.

A variety of fermented foods can help maintain that balance, but supplements are also a quick and easy way to get a decent dose of good bacteria. Follow this helpful guide to find out what you should be looking for in a supplement. And remember, always discuss with your doctor first before deciding to take a probiotic supplement.

 

Probiotics are the army of good bacteria keeping a balance with the natural occurring “bad” bacteria and yeast in our digestive system. If you’ve ever taken a biology or microbiology class, then you could guess how many different strains of bacteria there are in this word, let alone in your gut (it’s a lot by the way!).

Probiotics may be helpful for those suffering from allergies, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), cholesterol, blood pressure, lactose intolerance, chronic gut inflammation, bacterial overgrowths, h. pylori infections, diarrhea, constipation, eczema, and more.

 

Many things may affect gut function including diet, lifestyle, and stress. And if you’ve ever been on antibiotics for an extended period of time, your gut is most likely lacking the army of good bacteria. Antibiotics are anti-everything, including both the good and bad bacteria lining your gut.

 

 

 

 

Types of Probiotic Bacteria

 

 

Different bacterial strains have been studied in relation to helping ease or improve a certain disease/symptom, for example lactobacillus is one of the most well-known bacterias (which actually is just the genus, there are many varieties under this umbrella group, i.e. lactobacillus acidophilus). Other types of bacterias include saccharomyces boulardii, Enterococcus faecium, Streptococcus thermophilus, Leuconostoc, and Bifidobacteria. 

 

 

 

 

There are 500 to 1,000 different types of bacteria in your intestines amounting to trillions of microbes and all have their own role to play. Probiotic supplements contain a subset of bacteria believed to be helpful in nourishing key communities. Here are a few to look out for:

 

 

Lactobacillus:

This is a diverse family of bacteria, some of which are found in dairy products. Lactobacillus bulgaricus, acidophilus, gasseri, rhamnosus and casei are all species that have some research supporting their use.

 

Saccharomyces Boulardii:

This is a type of yeast that some research suggests may be helpful in some cases of diarrhea and other GI complaints.

 

Bacillus Coagulans:

Similarly to Lactobacillus, this is thought to be a member of naturally occurring good bacteria. More research needs to be done, but some studies indicate it may help with certain gastrointestinal illnesses and diseases.

 

Bifidobacteria:

Another intestine-dwelling bacteria that some studies are showing may be helpful for certain types of diarrhea and in conditions where the lining of the intestine and the bacterial communities that live there are damaged. The infantus kind is particularly helpful.

 

Streptococcus Thermophiles:

Unrelated to the Strep from “Strep throat,” this bacteria seems to work with Lactobacillus to produce helpful nutrients.

 

Probiotics in Food

 

Probiotics occur naturally in our digestive system already! They’re made from digesting the foods we eat. You can see how this can be an issue for those who don’t consume a diet high in whole foods and rely on the Standard American Diet for their nutrition.

Highly processed foods, ones that contain those antibiotics from meats and dairy (again I’m referring to those not produced on an actual farm with “farmer Joe” taking care of his animals), and foods lacking in fiber are just some ways our bodies aren’t primed for a healthy ecosystem.

 

 

Foods Rich in Probiotics

 

If you want to start consuming probiotic-rich foods, here is a list of the most beneficial probiotic foods:

 

1. Kefir

Similar to yogurt, this fermented dairy product is a unique combination of milk and fermented kefir grains. Kefir has been consumed for well over 3,000 years, and the term kefir was started in Russia and Turkey and means “feeling good.” 

Kefir is created by the fermentation of milk by the bacteria, and yeasts in kefir starter break down lactose in the milk. That’s why kefir is suitable for those who are otherwise lactose intolerant.

 It has a slightly acidic and tart flavor and contains anywhere from 10 to 34 strains of probiotics.  Kefir is similar to yogurt, but because it’s fermented with yeast and more bacteria, the final product is higher in probiotics.

 

 

 

 

2. Sauerkraut

 

 

 

Made from fermented cabbage and other vegetables, sauerkraut is not diverse in probiotics but is high in organic acids (what gives food its sour taste) that support the growth of good bacteria. Sauerkraut is extremely popular in Germany today.

Sauerkraut is high in vitamin C and digestive enzymes. It’s also a good source of natural lactic acid bacteria, such as lactobacillus.

Sauerkraut juice has been studied to benefit digestive issues like leaky gut, diarrhea and constipation, and is also effective at helping you kick a cold fast.

 

 

 

 

3. Kimchi

Kimchi is a cousin to sauerkraut and is the Korean take on cultured veggies. 

It’s created by mixing a main ingredient, such as Chinese cabbage, with a number of other foods and spices, like red pepper flakes, radishes, carrots, garlic, ginger, onion, sea salt and fish sauce. The mixture is then left aside to ferment for three to 14 days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Coconut Kefir

Made by fermenting the juice of young coconuts with kefir grains, this dairy-free option for kefir has some of the same probiotics as traditional dairy kefir but is typically not as high in probiotics. Still, it has several strains that are great for your health.

 

Coconut kefir has a great flavor, and you can add a bit of stevia, water and lime juice to it to make a great-tasting drink.

 

 

 

 

5. Natto

A popular dish in Japan consisting of fermented soybeans, natto contains the extremely powerful probiotic bacillus subtilis, which has been proven to bolster your immune system, support cardiovascular health and enhance digestion of vitamin K2.

Natto can also contain vitamin B12, which is lacking in vegan diets and is one of the highest plant-based sources of protein at 17.7 grams per 100-gram serving size.

 

 

 

 

6. Yogurt

 

Possibly the most popular probiotic food is live cultured yogurt or greek yogurt made from the milk of cows, goats or sheep.

Yogurt in most cases can rank at the top of probiotic foods if it comes from raw, grass-fed animals. The problem is there is a large variation on the quality of yogurts on the market today.

 

 

It’s recommend when buying yogurt to look for three things: First, that it comes from goat’s, sheep milk or A2 cows milk; second, that it’s grass-fed; and third, that it’s organic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Kvass

Kvass is a common fermented beverage in Eastern Europe since ancient times. It was traditionally made by fermenting rye or barley, which gives it its mild flavor. In more recent years, it’s been created using beets, fruit, along with other root vegetables like carrots.

Kvass uses lactobacilli probiotics, which have blood- and liver-cleansing properties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Miso

Miso is one of the mainstays of traditional Japanese medicine and is commonly used in macrobiotic cooking as a digestive regulator. Miso has been a staple in Chinese and Japanese diets dating back approximately 2,500 years.

Today, most of the Japanese population begins the day with a warm bowl of miso soup believed to stimulate the digestive system and energize the body.

Made from fermented soybeans, rice or barley, adding a tablespoon of miso to some hot water makes an excellent, quick, probiotic-rich soup.

 

The fermentation process can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of years to complete, and the end result is a red, white or dark brown paste with a buttery texture.

Miso soup is famous throughout the world, and it’s very easy to prepare. Simply dissolve a tablespoonful of miso paste in a pot of water filled with seaweed and other ingredients of your choice.

 

 

 

9. Kombucha

Kombucha is an effervescent fermentation of black tea that’s started by using a SCOBY, also known as a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast.

Kombucha has been around for over 2,000 years and was thought to originate in 212 B.C. in the Far East. It later surfaced in Japan and then spread to Russia.

Many claims have been made about kombucha, but its primarily health benefits include digestive support, increased energy and liver detoxification.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Raw Cheese

Goat’s milk, sheep’s milk and A2 aged cheeses are particularly high in probiotics, including thermophillus, bifudus, bulgaricus and acidophilus. Always buy raw cheese and not pasteurized or you will not be getting any of the probiotics benefits.

 

Finding a Good Probiotic Supplement

 

It’s important to note that there are different types of strains of probiotics. The probiotics benefits experienced with one probiotic strain may be completely different from the health benefits seen from another probiotic.

Certain strains of probiotics support immunity, others digestion, and some even help burn fat and balance hormones.

If you want to use probiotics to help with a specific health concern, it’s vital to select the right probiotic for the right condition. Or you can consume a wide range of probiotics in your food to be covered.

You are what you digest, and there are no other compounds in the world that support digestion and the assimilation of nutrients better than living probiotics.

When reading a probiotic label, it should reveal the genus, species and strain of the probiotic. The product (usually in capsules) should also give you the colony forming units (CFUs) at the time of manufacturing.

Also, the majority of probiotics can die under heat so knowing the company had proper storing and cooling of the facility is also important.

 

 

There are five specific things you want to consider when buying a probiotic supplement:

 

Brand quality — Look for brands that are reputable

 

High CFU count  Purchase a probiotic brand that has a higher number of probiotics, from 15 billion to 100 billion.

 

Strain diversity — Search for a probiotic supplement that has 10–30 different strains.

 

Survivability — Look for strains like bacillus coagulans, saccharomyces boulardii, bacillus subtilis, lactobacillus rhamnosus, and other cultures or formulas that ensure probiotics make it to the gut and are able to colonize.

 

Research Do your homework and look for brands that have strains that support your specific needs.

 

 

Here are a few more things to look for in your probiotic capsules:

 

Stay away from general health claims and consider how much information is really on a label:

 

Date:

The fresher the better when you’re talking about living organisms.

 

Sugar:

Sugar is not a good food source for probiotics. Prebiotics are the food source meant to keep probiotics alive. A synbiotic is a supplement that contains both prebiotics and probiotics. The best synbiotics contain healthy plant starches and fiber.

 

Living vs. Dead:

“Live and active cultures” is a better bet than “made with active cultures.” After fermentation, the product may be heat-treated, which kills off both good and bad bacteria (extending shelf life).

 

Bacteria Type:

“Live and active cultures” does not necessarily mean that the kinds of bacteria the product holds have been proven as beneficial. The bacteria strain should consist of two names and two letters: the genus, species and strain. If the label lists two names, it could be any one of hundreds of bacteria without research or proven health benefits behind it.

 

Potency:

This is where it gets tricky. Some probiotic supplements don’t list the amount of bacteria their products contain, and the amount that’s effective depends upon many qualifiers. Health benefits can occur with 50 million CFUs for certain conditions and may take as many as 1 trillion CFU for others. The higher the number the better. The Food Standards Code claims that at least one million live bacteria per gram are necessary in yogurt and other fermented drinks to provide the 10 billion CFU needed for health effect.

 

Which Strains of Probiotic Bacteria Should You Be Looking For?

 

  • Bifidobacterium bifidum — the most dominant bifidobacteria probiotic in infants and in the large intestine, supports production of vitamins in gut, inhibits harmful bacteria, supports immune system response and prevents diarrhea. (6)

 

  • Bifidobacterium longum — supports liver function, reduces inflammation, removes lead and heavy metals. (7)

 

  • Bifidobacterium breve — another bifidobacteria probiotic that helps colonize healthy gut community and crowd out bad bacteria. (8) 

 

  • Bifidobacterium infantis — alleviates IBS symptoms, diarrhea and constipation. (9)

 

  • Lactobacillus casei — supports immunity, inhibits h. pylori and helps fight infections. (10)

 

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus — relieves gas, bloating, improves lactose intolerance. Shown to help with a 61 percent reduction in E. coli, lower cholesterol levels and creation of vitamin K. (11) Also, important in GALT immune strength.

 

  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus — a powerful probiotic strain that has been shown to fight harmful bacteria that invades your digestive system and is stable enough to withstand the acidic digestive juices of the stomach. It also neutralizes toxins and naturally produces its own antibiotics.

 

  • Lactobacillus brevis — shown to survive the GI tract, boost cellular immunity, enhanced natural T-killer cells and kill h. pylori bacteria. (12)

 

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus — supports bacterial balance and supports healthy skin, helps fight urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, and reduce anxiety by reducing stress hormones and GABA neurotransmitter receptors. (13) Also, survives GI tract.

 

  • Bacillus subtilis — an endospore probiotic that’s heat-resistant. Elicits a potent immune response and supports GALT. (14, 15) Suppresses growth of bad bacteria like salmonella and other pathogens.

 

  • Bacillus coagulans — an endospore probiotic that’s heat-resistant and improves nutrient absorption. Also has been shown to reduce inflammation and symptoms of arthritis. (16)

 

  • Saccharomyces boulardii — a yeast probiotic strain that restores natural flora in the large and small intestine and improves intestinal cell growth. It’s proved effective in treating inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease. (17) It’s been shown to have anti-toxin effects, be antimicrobial and reduce inflammation. (18, 19)

 

Example:  BIO Schwartz Advanced Strength Probiotic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Probiotics and Immunity – The Science

 

Probiotics play a role in defining and maintaining the delicate balance between necessary and excessive defense mechanisms. The immune response is initiated when the body is exposed to foreign substances or a tissue injury. The immune system exerts a protective role as it tries to maintain homeostasis, and when the body senses a threat, it triggers adaptive immune responses that cause inflammation. It’s when there’s an unbalanced immune response that severe inflammation, uncontrolled tissue damage and disease develop.

According to research published in Immunobiology: The Immune System in Health and Disease, the immune system can be viewed as an organ that’s distributed throughout the body to defend us against pathogens, wherever they may enter or spread. Within the immune system, a series of distinct compartments can be distinguished, and each has the ability to generate a response to pathogens present in that particular set of body tissues.

The mucosal immune system includes the permeable surfaces of the body — the eyes, nose, mouth, throat, lungs, uterus, vagina and, the most important area for the discussion of probiotics, the gut. The gut acts as a portal of entry to a vast array of foreign antigens in the form of food, and the gut is heavily colonized by beneficial microorganisms that protect us against pathogenic bacteria by occupying the ecological niches for bacteria in the gut. (20)

Our mucosal immune system plays a significant role in maintaining intestinal homeostasis and causing systematic protective responses. Large amounts of antigens pass through the gut daily, and 100 trillion bacteria are associated with the gastrointestinal tract. This rich gut microbial community is referred to as the microbiome, which plays a vital role in the immune system. Current research indicates that microbial imbalance is associated with broad diseases that are not restricted to the gastrointestinal tract. Researchers have proved that probiotics are a powerful therapeutic strategy for manipulating our microbial composition and immune responses. Certain species of bacteria can have large effects on the gut immune system, and the balance of good and bad bacteria is necessary for the maintenance of homeostasis. (21)

This is why manipulating the microbiome is an alternative approach for maintaining health and preventing or treating diseases.

 

 

According to research published in Current Opinion in Gastroenterology, several beneficial effects of probiotics on our intestinal mucosal defense system have been identified:

 

 

Probiotics act as a barrier, lining the intestinal tract. They block bacterial effects by producing substances that kill bacteria and compete with pathogens and toxins to support the intestinal epithelium (the thin tissue forming the outer layer of the intestines).

 

Probiotics enhance mucus production so we have a thicker mucus layer, which protects us against invasive bacteria.

 

Probiotics promote the survival of intestinal epithelial cells that help remove foreign substances.

 

Probiotics enhance barrier function and stimulate protective responses from intestinal epithelial cells.

 

Probiotics enhance innate immunity and control pathogen-induced inflammation by secreting protective immunoglobulins and stimulating dendritic cells to make them slightly less responsive and less reactive to bacteria. (22)

 

Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that many probiotic effects are mediated through immune regulation, particularly through balance control of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines, or substances that are secreted by cells of the immune system and have an effect on their cells. This is how probiotics alleviate intestinal inflammation, normalize gut dysfunction and down-regulate hypersensitivity reactions. (23)

 

 

Final Thoughts

Scientists are learning more each day about the role of microbes in keeping people healthy and the multitude of health benefits associated with consuming the right type and levels of probiotic microbes.

Research to date suggests that probiotic bacteria can improve digestive function and enhance the immune system.  For those reasons alone, it’s important to start increasing our daily consumption of probiotics.

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some practical information.

I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

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Do You Need a Shower Wheelchair?

Do You Need a Shower Wheelchair?

 

 

 

A shower wheelchair is designed for elderly who use a wheelchair as their primary means of moving around and have an accessible shower.

Maybe your aging parent or elderly loved one is using a wheelchair and is having difficulty transferring onto a shower bench or seat in the shower.

Maybe there isn’t enough room to safely complete the transfer – whether they can’t get their wheelchair at the right angle or there isn’t anything to grab on to.

This type of wheelchair can be a great solution as it is easier to use than a shower bench or seat in the shower.

Elderly can undress in the bedroom, transfer into the shower wheelchair, cover themselves with a towel and roll into the bathroom to shower.

 

Overview of Shower Wheelchairs

 

A shower wheelchair is basically a waterproof wheelchair designed to get wet.

Instead of having to transfer onto a shower chair or bench in the bathroom, the elderly can transfer into the shower wheelchair in another room and roll to the bathroom.

This opens up the option of using a transfer pole or lift to transfer into the shower chair in another room, which makes it safer and easier than trying to transfer onto a chair/bench in the bathroom.

 

Who Should Use a Shower Wheelchair?

 

Elderly that will benefit from using one will already use a wheelchair as their primary method of mobility and have an accessible shower.

Many models can also be used as a rolling commode so the elderly can also use it to roll over a toilet to go to the bathroom.

 

Do You Need a Commode Opening?

A commode opening is a cut out space in the seat that can be used to relieve yourself or wash your entire body while showering. Shower chairs are sold with solid seats or with the commode opening. Some even have seat plugs available so you can switch back and forth as needed.

 

Pros:

  • The seat cut out makes it easier to wash personal areas without having to stand
  • Incontinence poses less of an issue
  • The chair can double as a commode and is easily rolled over the toilet or the integrated pan can be used.

 

Cons:

  • Requires good sitting posture to avoid falling into opening
  • Can make some people self-conscience
  • Less comfortable than a full seat

 

 

Example:  This Enshey Shower Commode Mobile Chair  is a multi-use 3-in-1 commode/shower chair.  It can be used anywhere as a standalone commode thanks to the included pail. It can also be used directly over a toilet for safer toileting or as a safe and comfortable shower chair. It weighs only 22 pounds and supports up to 330 pounds.

 

 

 

 

 

Recommended Features of a Shower Wheelchair

 

A good shower wheelchair will be:

 

Waterproof to ensure durability and that it dries quickly

 

Rust proof,  ensuring long term durability

 

Lightweight, portable and easy to use

 

Compactespecially important for small showers

 

 

Other Good Features: 

 

A commode option (see above)

This makes it possible to use the shower wheelchair as a portable rolling commode

 

Flip up or removable foot rests 

These allow for safer transfers

 

If your elderly parent has poor upper body and trunk strength (difficulty maintaining an upright position in sitting), they will also likely need the tilt option.

 

Shower Wheelchair Accessories

 

There are a few accessories available:

 

A padded waterproof cushion for comfort and to protect skin

 

A commode design to allow for personal care

 

A head rest (used primarily for models with tilt/recline)

 

Tilt Example:  EZee Life Tilt Shower Commode Wheelchair with Headrest

 

 

Waterproof calf support for elderly that need additional lower leg support

 

Finding the Right Fit for Your Shower Wheelchair

 

Fit is not as important as a light weight wheelchair as the senior will not be in it for as long. However, you want to get the best possible fit so that it’s comfortable and easy to use.

 

There are three basic measurements used in fitting:

  • Hip width – This is used to determine the width of the seat
  • Thigh length – This is used to determine the depth of the seat
  • Knee to ground height – This is used to determine the seat height and leg rest length
  • Back height – To determine back rest height

 

How to measure:

  1. Have the senior sit in a kitchen chair
  2. Measure hip width at widest part
  3. Measure from back of knee to lower back/bottom (keep measuring tape parallel to floor)
  4. Measure from back of knee to floor (have them wear their regular shoes)
  5. Measure from lower back/bottom to base of neck

 

Also, be sure to check the weight limit of the chair.  Larger seniors will require a bariatric shower chair.

 

Example:  This EZee Life Bariatric Shower Commode Wheelchair has a 22″ wide seat, large 5″ castor wheels, and can accommodate up to 425 lbs.

 

 

Using Your Shower Wheelchair

 

They are similar to using a regular light weight wheelchair.

Remember to put the brakes on when transferring in/out of the chair and when showering.

 

Example:  This aluminum shower chair from Healthline Products has a padded seat, locking wheels, a commode pail and cover and a weight capacity of 300 lbs.

 

 

 

 

 

Example:  This NOVA Medical Products shower commode has a comfortable padded seat and a weight capacity of 250 lbs.  There are some terrific reviews of this chair on Amazon.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Bathroom wheelchairs (also known as shower wheelchairs) are designed to make hygiene maintenance easier for those who find it difficult or impossible to make it to the lavatory. These chairs typically feature an opening in the seat — to allow users to toilet themselves. 

Because the bathroom is one of the most dangerous rooms in the house, especially for those with limited mobility, its certainly worth thinking about purchasing a  shower commode chair for anyone with mobility issues.

 

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided some helpful information. 

I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

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About Me

Choosing the Right Medical Alert System

Choosing the Right Medical Alert System

 

 

 

Caregivers’ worries never end, especially when their loved ones are living alone in their own homes. Falls, stroke, heart attack and other medical emergencies are the biggest concerns for seniors’ safety. According to the National Council on Aging, one in four Americans age 65 and over fall each year. Research from the National Institute on Aging shows that 60 percent of these falls occur in their homes, where most seniors wish to remain as they age.

 

Seniors want to maintain their independence, but family members often worry since they cannot be present around the clock to ensure their loved ones’ safety. This dilemma prompted the creation of medical alert systems that are capable of instantly summoning help in the event of an emergency.
 
 

 

There are many types of these devices on the market, and they go by a few different names, such as personal emergency response systems, medical alert devices or medical emergency response systems. They all typically work in a similar way, and all function to help ensure a senior’s safety and provide peace of mind for their family members.

 

How Medical Alert Systems Work

 

Most systems have three basic components: a small radio transmitter (a help button carried or worn by the user); a console or base station connected to the user’s telephone line; and an emergency response center that monitors calls.

 

 

When the help button is pressed, the console automatically dials the central monitoring center and connects the user with an operator. Most consoles feature a two-way speaker, so the operator and the senior can hear one another.

Some systems can dial out even if the phone is in use or off the hook. This is called “seizing the line.” In addition to dialing the monitoring center, once notified, the operator may also contact family, friends or neighbors that the senior has listed as emergency contacts.

“A medical alert system provides peace of mind for both the caregiver and the senior,” says Ken Gross, President of Medical Alert, by Connect America, a leader in the medical alarm industry since 1977. “The senior simply presses a button and help is on the way.”

These systems can vary widely, though, so it is important to carefully compare different companies, products and service packages.

 

 

 

 

Important Considerations of an Emergency Response System

 

To help you shop for an emergency response system, Gross suggests considering the following factors:

 

 

Pricing and Contract Terms

Medical alert companies assess fees differently. Some offer monthly, semiannual or annual payment plans for monitoring services, and some also charge for necessary equipment like the base unit and the wearable transmitters.

Ask about minimum obligations for the service. Some require a 30-day, 90-day or even 36-month minimum contract in order to provide services. In the same vein, inquire about activation fees, cancellation fees if you need to end the contract early, and whether monitoring costs are locked in or will increase. Keep an eye out for additional fees, and be sure to obtain an itemized written quote when inquiring about prices.

 

 

Features

Along with pricing, it is crucial to ensure that an emergency alert system is a good fit for a senior’s unique medical conditions. What is the main objective for the system? For example, if a loved one has Alzheimer’s disease, they may wander and get lost. A system that provides GPS monitoring services would be especially beneficial in case they go missing. For a senior who is prone to falls, a system that offers automatic fall detection technology in its wearable transmitters would be ideal. These special call buttons have motion-sensing capabilities to determine if the wearer has fallen and contact help automatically even if the wearer cannot.

A number of additional features have been added to these systems over the years, including fitness trackers, medication reminders, daily check-in calls, home security features and more.

Remember, additional “bells and whistles” typically mean higher costs, so steering clear of unnecessary features is equally as important as ensuring you get the ones you want.

 

 

Experience and Reputation

How long has the company been in business? Do they have a good reputation? Search online for customer reviews of systems you are considering, and try to find feedback from real users with similar medical conditions and concerns. If consumers report the same complaint again and again, it is likely an issue that should factor into your decision.

 

 

Range and Portability

 

What is the range of the system? Does the senior need more than one base unit for adequate coverage of their home, and will that increase the cost? Can the system be used when the elder is working in their yard or away from home? These are important considerations for seniors who lead active lifestyles and those who live in more than one place during the year.

Some companies offer plans with nationwide cellular coverage or base units that can be moved from home to home. “These setups allow seniors to take the system with them when they travel, and it will work in all 50 states. It’s great for snowbirds,” Gross says. Just remember to update your current home location with the response center, otherwise they may send help to the wrong home address.

 

 

Ease of Use

 

Be sure to research the actual equipment included in the system. Look at the dimensions of the base unit and wearable transmitters and the different buttons on each. Is the emergency button large and easy for the senior to see and press? Are there any complicated instructions, buttons on the console or other features that might be troublesome for the elder to operate? Are the wearable devices comfortable? Do they need to be charged?

Ask if the company you are considering offers a trial period for their system so that you can ensure it is the right fit. You want a product that the senior is willing to wear every day and able to use with ease.

This is especially important for users who have poor eyesight, limited dexterity or other impairments that may complicate using these devices properly. A system that is uncomfortable or difficult to use is not going to be effective.

 

Waterproofing

 

“Most accidents happen in the bathroom,” Gross points out. A waterproof wearable button can be worn in the bath or shower. This will ensure that a senior can summon help if they slip and fall while bathing.

 

 

Trained Operators

Determining the quality of the monitoring service is also very important. Ask about the training that monitoring center staff members receive and look for a company that has its own in-house center located in the United States to handle incoming calls. When that button is pressed, every second counts. You want a qualified response team to assist the user and contact the proper emergency personnel.

 

 

Hours of Operation

Make sure the monitoring center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for both emergency monitoring and customer service. What happens if there are problems using the system or questions arise about the service?

 

 

Contact Options

Some systems have options for connecting users with various contacts depending on the nature of their call. In emergencies, of course the operator will summon the proper authorities, but some systems allow users to program family members and friends as contacts for non-urgent situations. This keeps seniors connected with a comprehensive support system, regardless of what kind of help they may need.

 

 

Testing

The company you choose should test the system on a regular basis to ensure it is functioning properly. Ask what procedures the center uses and how frequently these tests are conducted. “Medical Alert systems receive a silent signal from the home on a weekly basis to ensure that the customer’s system is connected and functioning,” Gross explains. Make sure the system includes repair and replacement services as well.

 

 

Suggested: 

I like the medical response system from Life Link Response;  its a simple system which offers good value.  It has all of the important features without the monthly expense of a contract – which costs hundreds of dollars annually! For someone who only needs monitoring in and around the home, this system will provide security without any extra or ongoing charges.

 

 

You can set this Life Link System up easily yourself in about 3 minutes:  you just plug in the AC power plug, plug in the telephone plug and program the system with your help message and 3 phone numbers of family or friends to call (or program 9-1-1 as one of the numbers). 

 

How it Works

1.   Anytime you need help, press the wireless help button or the help button on the main unit

2.   The Life Link System will dial the 1st programmed phone number

3.   When you receive the call and hear the message, press 5 to accept the call or 9 to reject the call

4.   If you reject the call, the system will hang up and call the next programmed phone number, if no answer it will continue to call the next number and cycle until someone answers.

5.   If you press 5 to accept the call, the system will open up the 2-way voice. You will be able to talk through your phone direct the person needing help and they will talk and listen through the main system base.

6.   If they are unable to get to or speak to you at the system base, you can send the paramedics if needed or attend to help them if its not urgent.

 

 

The tips above will help you compare providers and products before making a purchase. Obtaining the right medical alert system is crucial for your loved one’s security and knowing that help is only a push of a button away can give the entire family invaluable peace of mind.

 

 

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

-Laurie

 

 

 

 

 

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Foot Circulation Booster Machine Guide

Foot Circulation Booster Machine Guide

 

 

Bad circulation in feet can lead to a lot of different health problems. It can also be an indicator of existing health problems, such as diabetes.

When you increase foot circulation, you can help to alleviate some of those conditions, so let’s examine foot circulation booster machines.

 

A foot circulation booster machine is designed to help increase blood flow in your feet. If you regularly experience foot pain or discomfort, a circulation stimulator is worthy of your consideration. But, why do you have poor circulation in the first place?

Perhaps you live a sedentary lifestyle. If you sit at a desk all day, gravity starts to work against you. Walking allows blood to pump and circulate through the body. When you sit or lay for too long, it becomes harder for that blood to flow freely to the feet. That can create pooling of the blood around your ankles, which may cause discomfort.

Of course, there are other culprits related to poor circulation. A circulation booster machine will not only help to get your blood moving again but can assist with any underlying health conditions, such as recovery from toenail fungus.

A lack of substantial blood flow can be dangerous if ignored for too long. You won’t only feel discomfort, but those health conditions may become more serious.

 

Do You Need a Foot Circulation Booster Machine?

 

If you’re not sure if you have poor circulation, there are several symptoms to be aware of. Some of the most common symptoms include:

 

  • Any type of pain in the feet or legs after activity. If you feel as though the muscles in your feet and legs cramp easily, especially after using them, it could be a sign they aren’t getting enough blood flow.

 

  • Numbness in the feet or legs.

 

  • Feet are constantly cold.

 

  • Changes in skin color, or a shiny appearance to the legs or feet.

 

  • Slow hair growth and toenail growth on the legs or feet.

 

  • A weakened pulse rate in the legs.

 

Your doctor will be able to make a diagnosis, so you can begin treating your feet for poor circulation. Sometimes, symptoms will be obvious enough where your doctor can make a decision based on what they see. On other occasions, they may use a stethoscope to check the pulse in your legs.

 

How Do Foot Circulation Booster Machines Work?

 

Foot vibration machines work by allowing electrical impulses to stimulate the nerve endings of your feet. Some also use infrared technology. This helps to add soothing heat to the treatment, as well.

Not only does it stimulate blood flow in your feet, but affects all the muscles in your legs. It allows your leg muscles to contract and relax, again and again, stimulating activity, and increasing blood flow. That kind of circulation can work all the way up your legs, for relief.

In most cases, all you have to do is sit somewhere comfortable and set your feet on top of the machine to increase foot circulation. Putting your bare feet on the designated area, turning it on, and increasing intensity levels can help you to achieve the stimulation your feet need.

Each machine is different, but most suggest using them between 20-30 minutes each day safely. Consider them to be therapy sessions. You only have to sit and relax. During that time you can watch television, read a book, etc.

It provides the medical benefits of physiotherapy into the comfort of your home. With regular use, the idea is to eliminate the negative symptoms of bad circulation in feet and get rid of the pain.

 

Benefits of Foot Circulation Booster Machines

 

Some of the benefits of using a circulation booster include:

 

  • Reducing aches and pains with increased blood flow.

 

  • Minimize numbness and tingling in the legs and feet.

 

  • Reducing the frequency of onset symptoms.

 

These units are designed to combat against the negative symptoms that can come up when you have poor circulation. Whatever discomfort or tiredness your feet may be feeling because of improper blood flow, a circulation booster will attempt to counteract.

 

Comparing Foot Circulation Booster Machines

 

Revitive Circulation Booster

 

 

The Revitive Circulation Booster is one of the company’s most advanced products. Revitive is a trusted brand name in circulation-boosting products. So, their advancements can help to improve problems you may experience with a lack of blood flow.

 

Features:

  • 99 different intensity levels
  • 15 stimulation waveforms
  • Isorocker system for ankle joint movement

 

Pros:

  • Remote control
  • Widepulse waveforms
  • Easy to use
  • Includes tens pads and replacements
  • Powerful

 

Cons:

  • Tens pads wear out quickly and need replacing
  • Relatively Expensive

 

 

Important Details:

 

Wide Pulse Technology – The Wide Pulse Technology is a patent-pending feature specifically made for Revitive. It helps to increase circulation throughout the legs by up to 53%. Not only can that help your legs to feel more energized, but it can alleviate aches and pains.

 

Choice of 15 WaveformsThere are 15 additional waveforms to choose from. This helps your muscles from getting used to the same repetitive motion. If you only use one consistent motion in waves, the muscles in your legs will eventually become just as complacent.

Think of it in the same way you would if you exercised, in the same way, every day. Eventually, your body hits a plateau. When different patterns are brought into play, the muscles are contracted more effectively. This helps to ensure maximum circulation is achieved during each use.

 

Isorocker System – The powerful Isorocker system works double duty for your feet and ankles. The electrical pulses in the machine itself cause the calf muscles to slightly tense up. Then, they relax again. This allows for gentle rocking back and forth on the device. It can help to strengthen your ankles and provide an additional boost in blood flow. So, not only is it circulating the blood in your feet, it’s working other areas of the legs, too.

By providing the latest technology in foot circulation care, this unit offers an unprecedented amount of intensity levels. That means that anyone can use this machine. No matter the intensity level you need, you’ll find comfort. It can sometimes be difficult to find a unit with this much power.

 

 

So, if you struggle with deep aches and pains, or have an underlying medical condition that really bothers your feet, you can finally find an intensity level that works for you. If you find you need less power, you can use the machine as a relaxing massager.

With so many options, you’re bound to find a level that works for you. This is true thanks to the powerful waveforms that work through the unit. Plus, it’s easy to use – just set your feet on the tens pads, and use the remote control to set it to your standards.

Revitive is one of the top names in circulation boosters for a reason. This latest unit from the brand doesn’t disappoint.

 

 

 

Sunpentown Infrared Blood Circulation Massager

 

The  Supentown Advanced Foot Energizer is wonderful for customizing your circulation needs. Because it can be used on different parts of the body, it’ll work to strengthen your immune system, and even boost your metabolism. When used on the feet, it focuses on designated pressure points. By increasing blood flow against those pressure points, you’ll notice a difference throughout your legs.

 

Some reviews suggest this product alone helped them sleep, after just one use. If you struggle with something like restless leg syndrome, this machine can accelerate circulation and help to open up blood vessels.

It’s not often that you find a vibrating massager that is so versatile. With this circulation booster, not only can you help your feet, but other health conditions as well.

 

Features:

 

  • 12 vibrating intensities
  • 8 infrared treatments

 

Pros:

 

  • A timer up to 15 minutes
  • Separate heat and vibration functions
  • Ability to use elsewhere on the body
  • Remote control

 

Cons:

 

  • Plastic – may not be super durable
  • Noisy

 

 

 

 

 

Advanced Foot Energizer Electrical Foot Stimulator

 

For intense pain or health conditions that really affect circulation, the power of this electrical foot stimulator can be a huge help. The Advanced Foot Energizer is an FDA-approved medical device.

 

 

Not only can it stimulate circulation throughout your legs, but it can help to alleviate pain and aching. It works by simulating natural muscle performance – contracting and releasing. This allows blood to flow freely through your muscles. It can also help to energize your feet and legs.

 

Features:

 

  • 25 programmed massage modes
  • Up to 99 intensity levels

 

Pros:

 

  • Additional TENS pads for use elsewhere on the body
  • Easy to read LED screen
  • Remote control and console control
  • Uses electrical stimulation, so it produces no sound
  • Easy to use

 

Cons:

 

  • Timer automatically shuts off after 25 minutes

 

 

The Advanced Foot Energizer contains extra TENS pads, and enough cables to reach almost anywhere on the body. It also includes a small tube of Spectra gel. The gel helps for a more comfortable connection for the EMS and TENS pads.

You can either be in total control of your program or use a pre-programmed session. With 99 different intensity levels, even the deepest aches and pains are relieved. Plus, the system has 25 different program modes, designed to help boost circulation and get rid of the pain in your feet and legs.

 

 

 

Tips For Choosing a Foot Circulation Boosting Machine

 

When looking for the best machine for proper foot circulation, there are certain criteria to keep in mind. The rating system used here will focus on five criteria. The more you know about each machine as they fall under these categories, the easier it will be to make an informed decision.

 

Ease of Use – When looking for the best machine for proper foot circulation, there are certain criteria to keep in mind. The rating system used here will focus on five criteria. The more you know about each machine as they fall under these categories, the easier it will be to make an informed decision

 

Accessories – Accessories can be anything extra that might be included with the unit, or whatever is included when you first open the box. While some extra accessories are nice, they aren’t always necessary.

The most valuable accessories may be things like extra TENS pads. These are the pads that will go onto the machine itself. After several uses, they’ll likely need to be replaced. If a machine comes with several extra pads on hand, that can save you from having to re-order right away.

Other extra accessories aren’t always necessary. Keep in mind that these units are designed to be circulators for the feet, not necessarily foot massagers for relaxation. Don’t be fooled by the price that goes up just because of a few accessories that may not benefit you.

 

Value – Some people purchase an inexpensive machine as a starter unit. If they work well, you might  subsequently invest in a more expensive machine. Remember that value is based on what’s included in the product for the price. This includes things like the amount of power, extra features, design, and durability, etc.

If you’ve never used a foot circulation machine before, it’s up to you how much you’d like to invest. More expensive doesn’t always mean better. However, the circulation machine is typically used to replace things like physiotherapy. So, even the most expensive units are a solid investment, when you could be paying thousands of dollars for the doctor. Take into account the amount of power each unit will give you, and how customizable each can be.

 

Power – When you’re working with a foot vibration machine, power is key. Some people require quite a bit of power for the electrical impulses to have any effect. If the machine doesn’t have a sufficient amount of power, it may not provide the kind of results necessary to get rid of negative symptoms of poor circulation.

Additionally, you should be able to adjust the power according to your needs. Machines that have a wider range of intensity levels are typically better. They put you in control of how much power is needed for each session.

 

Design – When you’re working with a foot vibration machine, power is key. Some people require quite a bit of power for the electrical impulses to have any effect. If the machine doesn’t have a sufficient amount of power, it may not provide the kind of results necessary to get rid of negative symptoms of poor circulation.

Additionally, you should be able to adjust the power according to your needs. Machines that have a wider range of intensity levels are typically better. They put you in control of how much power is needed for each session.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

If you have a medical issue that is causing poor circulation, or vice-versa, any one of these machines can help. What’s most important is that you choose a unit that suits your own needs. If you don’t have serious circulation problems, a less expensive model should do the trick.

However, if you’re trying to avoid endless hours of physiotherapy, and want to experience it in the comfort of your own home, an advanced unit can really add to your quality of life. The best foot circulation booster machines offer power and customization.

Look for settings you can control easily, and enough power to give you the boost of blood flow your body needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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