New Spoon for Hand Tremors

New Spoon for Hand Tremors Makes Mealtime Easier

 

 

 

 

Picking up a utensil to feed one’s self is a luxury that people take for granted. For others with neurological conditions causing tremors, this basic activity can be a source of frustration and embarrassment.

 

 

 

 

GYENNO’s ‘Smart Spoon’ tries to eliminate that problem. It’s a stabilization utensil gadget that offsets 85 percent of unwanted tremors for users affected by diseases like Parkinson’s.

The spoon has been in production for almost a year, and was revealed at the Consumer Electronics Showcase in Las Vegas in early January 2017.

 

 

 

 

While GYENNO’s product is still new to the North American consumer’s market, the technology has been employed in China for a while.

 

The utensil uses sophisticated stabilization control algorithms and motion learning technology to adjust to the user’s tremors, helping the person eat regularly.

 

This video is produced by the manufacturer, and demonstrates how the GYENNO Smart Spoon helps people with hand tremors eat independently:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Smart Spoon is similar to another stabilization utensil from Lift Labs called Liftware, a Google purchase back in 2014.

GYENNO holds a patent for their own spoon’s tech, which they’ve called the best on the market.

 

 

 

 

“The GYENNO uses special PID [proportional–integral–derivative controller] control technology and attitude stabilization technology to make a better performance, higher frequency response and more accurate position control,” said Dehuai Li, marketing officer at GYENNO, in an interview with Motherboard.

 

“That makes [the GYENNO Spoon] 85 percent tremor canceling while Liftware just 75 percent.”

 

 

 

The GYENNO Package Contains:

 

1 Spoon Head

1  Fork Head

1  Intelligent

Hand Shank

1 Power Cable (the fully-charged battery can run for 180 minutes).

 

 

 

The GYENNO Spoon already has hundreds of users who have raved about being able to feed themselves once again, Li said.

 

  • Read Amazon consumer reviews of the GYENNO Spoon.

 

“You want to feed yourself, you don’t want someone else to feed you,” he said. “It improves your confidence and dignity. Many of these diseases have no cure, so we want to improve the quality of life.”

 

Through its cloud-based data collection, GYENNO has created its Medical Chronic Disease Management program to provide physicians and scientists with valuable information and statistics on the progression of symptoms and the disease in general.

 

For example, GYENNO Medical synchs the real-time symptoms of hand movements recorded by the GYENNO Spoon to study how the hand movements and tremors are expressed (frequency and amplitude, speed, accelerated speed and rotation of hand tremor). GYENNO collects data from users to assist scientists and physicians with research on disease progression, utilizing data-mining technology to explore data characteristics to help with early Parkinson’s Disease screening.

 

 

This video discusses everything that comes in the GYENNO Smart Spoon box, and provides a brief review:

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Caregiving for Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease Myths

Parkinson’s Swallowing and Dental Problems

Parkinson’s Disease and Low Blood Pressure

Getting the Right Testing for Dementia

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

 

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Important Tips For Stroke Patient Caregivers

Important Tips For Stroke Patient Caregivers

 

 

 

 

Life for the Jack Meadows family changed forever in December 1989 when this husband and father suffered a stroke. The massive incident in his brain left him with no use of his right side.

 

Months of rehabilitation restored strength and balance but could not return him independence in daily routines of self-care. He has a strong left arm and weak left leg to provide limited mobility. In addition, frustrating his life even greater is the lack of communication. He definitely has cognitive processes as is evident when following conversations and watching television quiz shows. But, thoughts have difficulty connecting to words and words in the brain do not translate to speech. 

His family has chosen to assist him at home. While visiting nurses and aides have contributed valuable services over the years, the major day-to day attention to his needs has been and continues to be given by his wife. A son, daughter and a few good friends frequently assist.

We (his family) have learned tremendous lessons about the skills our stroke patient has retained or developed. We have also acquired extensive knowledge and mastered many competencies in our twenty-four hour a day, seven days a week responsibility.

Over the years Mr. Meadows has required services in several hospitals and many doctors’ offices. Our experience has been that doctors and nurses do not know readily how to meet his needs. We can only surmise that they learned about stroke patients and other handicapped individuals in their schooling and on-the-job training but have not had the amount of direct experience as when a family provides care at home.

Our intention is to share the wisdom we have attained and to contribute to the quality of care accorded to all persons with physical restrictions.

 

 

Communication With a Stroke Patient

 

 

First, be sure you have the full attention of your patient.

 

While eye contact is important the individual who has had a stroke may look you square in the eyes but not have focus on the conversation.

Position yourself in front of your patient and tune out all other sights and sounds in the room. Turn down the volume of the television, radio and block the talk of any other people in the area. Make contact by touching the hand, chin or cheek, an area not affected by the stroke. Sometimes our family member is helped by directing him to look at the speaker. Saying, “look at my face,” does not offend him and gains his concentration. Use a normal volume and speak clearly.

Express one idea at a time in simple terms and repeat if needed to assure yourself that the two of you understood each other. For example, “do you want coffee?” and then follow up with “coffee?” More complex thoughts can also be conveyed in this manner. Ask, “were you on Omaha Beach?”… “Omaha Beach?”… “you were there during World War II?”

 

 

Hand gestures can assist with clarification.

 

Both the care giver and the stroke patient can benefit. Ask your client to point to what he wants or needs. He will develop a repertoire of pointing for such daily items as the television remote, newspaper, eyeglasses, radio, drapes, an uncomfortable foot or arm or headache. When going through complicated maneuvers such as using the mechanical lift to get in and out of bed the patient can work in coordination with the attendant. Instruct him to place his hand on the release lever of the lift and push in. Point to the lever or guide his hand to the lever. Demonstrate a pushing motion at the same time as saying, “push.”

 

 

Recommended: Pictures and Words Communication Flip Chart

 

 

At times when communication is not working, give it a rest.

 

Take time out and try again later. Sometimes the family or friend has exhausted the twenty questions and both parties are becoming frustrated. Tell the patient, “we will think about it,” or “we can try again later.”

 

 

 

Daily Care and Activities for Stroke  Patients

 

Have the person who had a stroke do as much routine self care as possible.

 

This may seem very little with one good arm but we have discovered many surprising tasks that our husband and father can do well. Every task he found he could do for himself raised his pride and confidence.

 

 

He can operate a television remote, secure a towel around his neck before eating, use a spoon to eat most anything, pick up food morsels he has dropped, use a cordless razor to shave and put a cassette in a tape player.

 

His more complicated skills include leafing through a magazine or newspaper, folding towels from the laundry and using the overhead bar to slide himself up in bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vary the day but follow a routine.

 

This piece of advice may seem contradictory but really is no different for the person who lives with a stroke than the family around him. To make the most of the day a schedule provides security and comfort for both the stroke client and the caregiver.

For instance, a schedule of getting dressed in the morning, eating breakfast, moving into a comfortable chair and watching favorite television programs gives the patient peace of mind. He also can feel he has some control over his day as he watches the clock knowing certain activities will occur at specific times.

Additionally, within the day, activities could be varied so that the person who can not move himself does stay in one place, one position for such a length of time that the body and mind become numb. Thus, the assistant must move the client from the bed to the wheel chair to the easy chair and so forth several times in the course of the ordinary day. Staying in one place for hours at a time is neither comfortable physically or mentally.

 

 

The Routine

 

The routine for our stroke patient includes sitting in a recliner in the morning to watch television, moving to the wheel chair and into the kitchen for lunch, return to the bed after lunch for a nap or listening to music. In the afternoon he moves to the recliner again and enjoys watching children coming from school or birds dining at the feeder. Again he moves to the wheelchair and the kitchen for his supper. In the evening he may sit in the recliner again or sit in bed to watch television, read the newspaper or listen to the radio.

 

 

Recommended: Easy Comfort Lift Chair Recliner

 

 

 

 

 

A mechanical ‘lift’ (such as one manufactured by Hoyer) is a necessity. With practice it is easy to use and makes possible the mobility of a person weighing over two hundred pounds by the helper who is five feet tall.

 

A lift could be available in every wing of a nursing home, rehabilitation center, doctor’s office and hospital department. The lift seldom breaks down and takes wear and tear over the years.

 

Every care giver should learn to use this invaluable tool.

 

 

 

Use the stroke patient’s good side.

 

Place a tray or table where the mobile hand can easily reach. Items the patient wants at his access include tissues, cup, spoon, pills and cough drops. The television remote or the nurse call button must be on the side where the patient can handle them. 

 

 

Recommended: Carex Overbed Table

 

 

Carex Overbed Table

 

 

 

 

Be prepared for normal body functions at all times.

 

If the stroke patient uses a bedpan or underpads, a supply could be kept at the bedside. The patient can’t wait until a nurse or aide walks down the hall and back with the needed items. The same is true for saliva and nasal mucus. Tissues kept at the patient’s hand usually prevent a mess and embarrassment.

 

 

Stroke Patient Needs and Wants

 

 

Find those special traits that each person maintained in spite of the stroke or developed afterward.

For example, our patient can read a clock and point out directions when riding in the car. We also discovered that he can sing and his words are correct for the song and intelligible. At times he will try to sing a word that when spoken is not making sense to his listeners.

 

 

The member of the family who has had a stroke can be involved in everyday decisions.

This is accomplished by offering choices. The easy tasks such as what to have for dinner can be accommodated by asking, “what do you want, chicken or fish?” More difficult choices can also work in this manner. “What should we give our granddaughter for a wedding gift, money or a clock?”

 

 

Be patient and willing to try innovative approaches.

One great frustration is learning to eat with one hand, the opposite of the dominant hand. Our patient required many trials before being able to get more food in his mouth than on the tablecloth but eventually his persistence won.

 

 

In the process we found that a flat dinner plate did not work well. When a pie plate with sides was substituted he could scoop food into a spoon instead of pushing it over the edge.

He occasionally requires assistance with cutting food and picking up the last morsels. The person who sits to his right can assist by using his or her fork to push the food onto the spoon. This method allows him to master cleaning up well liked but difficult foods such as peas.

 

 

 

 

 

Special ‘treats’ rouse the spirits of everybody involved with the stroke patient.

We can’t take for granted the common events such as going for a ride in the car or giving a biscuit to the dog. The stroke patient who has difficulty getting around thrives on getting a change of scenery or visiting places he used to frequent. For our patient going past the plant where he worked for thirty-five years boosts his mood for days at a time. Other special treats include visits from friends and cards from school children. 

 

 

Include the stroke patient in as many events as possible.

Although he may not communicate easily, including him in conversations is good for his positive mental outlook. Moving him around is a difficult task for the family but one which must be undertaken to maintain his emotional well-being. For our patient the trip to his granddaughter’s wedding and reception was a huge undertaking but one worth the effort when the joy was shared by all. Other times to include him are more easily accomplished. For example, we arrange gifts for him to give at Christmas and birthdays. He participates in the selection and wrapping. 

Living with the stroke patient at home is not for every family. One member of the family needs to become the driving force behind the effort. In the Meadows family that person is the patient’s wife. Medications must be closely monitored. Services of doctors, nurses, aides and therapists must be scheduled. Doctors, hospital and pharmacy bills and Medicare and insurance payments are accurately watched and recorded. 

Overall, our family experience has been rewarding. The little triumphs from day to day far outweigh the effort and frustrations. Taking time, being composed and possessing boundless energy are necessary but not easy. Employing innovative thinking and maintaining focus on the solution to daily obstacles to the patient’s comfort and happiness is a challenge to family, friends and caregivers. 

 

Based on an article by Nancy Meadows

 

 

Recommended Reading:  Stronger After Stroke Your Roadmap to Recovery, Second Ed.

by Peter G. Levine

 

Stronger After Stroke puts the power of recovery in the reader’s hands by providing simple-to-follow instructions for reaching the highest possible level of recovery. Basic concepts covered include repetition of task-specific practice, proper scheduling of practice, setting goals and measuring recovery.

Sections new to the second edition cover the latest research from neuroscience, treatments for recovering sensation as well as recovery strategies for the young stroke survivor. Also included is a breakdown of the phases of recovery and how these phases can provide structure to efforts towards recovery.

 

 

 

Stronger After Stroke promotes:

  • Repetition of task-specific movements
  • Proper scheduling of practice
  • Challenges at each stage of recovery
  • Setting goals and recognizing when they have been achieved

The second edition is completely revised throughout incorporating feedback from readers and the latest research data. Peter has written a new chapter on “recovery core concepts” that defines the stages of recovery and explains how these stages can structure efforts toward recovery. There is also a new Question and Answer section culled from the talks Peter regularly gives on the subject.

Read reviews.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Find the Right Power Wheelchair

Choosing a Transport Chair

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

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Caregivers Can Help With Aphasia

Caregivers Can Help With Aphasia

 

 

 

Imagine…

 

  • You ask your spouse for a plate, and he hands you a cup.
  • Your spouse seems to get “stuck” on the same word or phrase.
  • Your spouse can say words, but her sentences don’t make sense.

 

That’s Aphasia: a language disorder that results from damage to parts of the brain. It can affect all modes of language including speaking, writing, gesturing, understanding what others say, understanding writing, and using numbers.

Aphasia often hides people’s thoughts, ideas, personality, intelligence and competence – they know what they want to say, but can’t always get the words out.

 

 

Causes

Stroke is the leading cause of aphasia; however, it also can result from brain tumors, head injuries, brain infections, and other conditions of the brain.

 

 

Symptoms

People who suffer from aphasia can have difficulty understanding others, particularly strangers. Or, they can follow the gist of a conversation, but lose track easily, or forget the beginning of a message before reaching the end of it.

They may be able to say individual words, or parts of words, but struggle to complete the entire word or sentence. Or, they may speak nonsense quickly. And background noise or lively conversation among a group of people can really exacerbate the difficulty they have understanding conversations.

“Many times, too, a person with aphasia is so focused on themselves, they are unable to see that their caregiver is overwhelmed. The person with aphasia can’t help it; they’ve lost a lot of control in their lives between the loss of communication and physical disabilities. They are just trying to survive,” says Mimi Block, M.S., CCC-SLP, clinical services manager, University of Michigan Aphasia Program.

“And even if they could recognize how much their caregiver is dealing with, they cannot express their gratitude or appreciation,” she added.

It can be an enormously frustrating condition, for both the individual and the caregiver.

 

The University of Michigan Aphasia Program (UMAP)

The University of Michigan Aphasia Program (UMAP) is the oldest and most effective program of its kind in North America for the treatment of aphasia. Established in 1947 to assist World War II veterans who sustained injuries in combat, UMAP has successfully treated thousands of individuals, offering as much speech-language therapy during a six-week session as a person would receive in one year of traditional therapy.

Caregiver education and support is a critical component of the UMAP.

This past summer, UMAP gave Robin Cox, wife of a (retired) National Guard Lieutenant Colonel with aphasia, the tools to help her husband with his therapy and the insight to help herself as his caregiver. Her husband Mark suffered a stroke in March 2009, just 30 days before he was due to be deployed to Afghanistan.

“I know it’s a cliché, but UMAP taught me this is not the end of the world, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and the little progress we make each day brings us that much closer to our goals,” Robin Cox said. “And those little improvements are exponentially more important for the caregiver,” she added. “They bring us ten times the joy.”

 

Celebrate Small Achievements

One morning, not too long ago, Mark found his glasses after looking for them for quite some time.

“He said, ‘I found them’ and I said, ‘Say that again!’ and he did! And then I made him say it again. It was one whole, complete sentence. It’s those little moments you must celebrate,” Cox said.

During the six-week session at UMAP, there are five caregiver meetings which focus on:

  • Acquiring a better understanding of aphasia, and the physical disabilities associated with a stroke (the most common cause of aphasia)
  • Facilitative conversation and other ways to communicate with people who have aphasia
  • Effective communication techniques and strategies
  • Practicing new communication skills using facilitative conversation
  • Options for the future

 

“Ongoing education is essential for the well-being of the loved one with aphasia and all the family members,” Block says. “The caregiver needs to connect with the speech-language pathologist who sees their loved one to learn about aphasia and specific techniques to communicate with him or her.”

 

Recommended:  Shadowbox Press Conversation Cards for Adults

To prompt conversation, Block encourages caregivers to use “topic cards,” which are lists of words or pictures—like family, sports, friends, birth dates, hobbies, maps, a calendar—as a starting point to determine what the person wants to talk about.

“There’s also the WH Chart—who, what, when, where and why, that can be used to get the person thinking in terms of sentence structure,” Block said. “The more information that’s available to them, the more successful they will be.”

One night when Mark Cox was trying to tell his wife Robin to change his schedule that week, she said they both “went round and round and round, and started to get flustered” until she resorted to using a calendar and writing down days of the week and appointments to clarify what her husband was trying to do.

“You have to keep digging to find the right way to get the point across,” Robin Cox says. “It’s more than just talking. You can use pictures, calendars or write words on paper. You’ve got to take a deep breath and be patient. Yelling isn’t going to do it. You have to try all of your options.”

 

Be an Advocate

UMAP also encourages caregivers to be advocates for their loved ones, providing them with the encouragement and motivation to continue on the road of recovery with realistic goals and expectations, and a better ability to communicate in their day-to-day living.
Lulu Smith, whose husband Louis suffered a stroke in 2005 and has aphasia, is in two therapy programs, including UMAP. She accompanies Louis to all of his therapy sessions, and either watches them or participates in them directly.

“I watch to see what the therapists are doing, and I insert their techniques into our daily routine at home,” she said.

 

 

Keep Life as Normal as Possible

Lulu Smith also tries to keep their lives as normal as possible. Louis is a legendary jazz trumpeter with an international reputation and many major recordings, and she regularly takes him to jazz festivals and clubs where he can interact with other musicians. They’ve always been great travelers, she said, and they go to Paris in October each year and to Mexico for two months in the winter.

“I never get someone to ‘sit’ with him. We’ve always done things together,” she said.

Robin Cox recently encouraged her husband to go with her to their 11-year-old son’s football game.

“He didn’t want to go at first. Since he had his stroke, he’s lost some endurance, too. But he ended up staying for the whole game. I think Mark realized he can socialize, and he can talk with others—not just his wife, his brothers, or people who are close to him. Physically, he was tired, but it was great for his spirit.

“He was put out of his comfort zone. I think that’s what a caregiver does. We try this, and if it doesn’t work, we’ll try something else,” Cox said.

 

Keep Trying

“It is so important to keep trying,” says Joyce Zeigler, whose husband Mack suffered a stroke in 2004 and who has participated in two UMAP sessions in 2006 and 2008.

“Mack continues to make progress. I encourage people with aphasia and their loved ones to be patient and have hope. Mack and I have faith that more progress is in his future. We take it a day at a time and look forward to each day.”

Lulu Smith adds, “You must understand it takes a long time to have success. You have to keep working and working, and never give up. You’ve got to stick with it.”

Adapted from an article by Joanne Marttila Pierson, associate director of the University of Michigan Aphasia Program

 

10 Dysphasia Communication Tips

 

Amanda Sheridan, clinical fellow at the Mary A. Rackham Institute’s University of Michigan Aphasia Program (UMAP), shared these suggestion for talking with someone who has aphasia. These suggestions were gathered directly from UMAP’s clients who have aphasia. They may be helpful for family members and caregivers.

 

  • Please take the time to sit down and talk with me.
  • Slow your rate of speech.  Say one thing at a time.  It may take me a little longer to understand what you are saying.
  • Give me plenty of time to talk.  It may take longer for me to find the word or words I want to say.
  • Be flexible.  I may have another way of expressing myself.  Perhaps I will write, use an assistive communication device (e.g., ipad, communication book), gesture, or draw. 
  • Be honest.  You may not understand me.  Let me know.  I will try again.
  • Please look at me as we talk.  So much can be shared through facial expression.  This can help me understand you, and you understand me. 
  • Ask me yes/no questions.  It may be easier for me to communicate by saying or gesturing “yes” or “no.”
  • Write down key words and numbers.  This may help me understand you.
  • Find a quiet place to talk.  Noisy, busy environments make conversation difficult. 
  • Keep your sense of humor.

 

Recommended:

The Teaching of Talking – Learn to Do Expert Speech Therapy at Home

 

People with speaking difficulties are at the mercy of insurance companies who are determining how often and for how long speech therapy services should be delivered.

It is also a disturbing reality that the likelihood for therapy frequency and length of care is contingent upon either the level of competence or comfort level of the speech-language pathologist or the financial policies of each institution.

Often it has nothing to do with the severity or need for speech therapy. Our health care system is in no position to bankroll the long-term therapy that many people need who have moderate to profound speaking difficulties.

The goal of  The Teaching of Talking is to make sure that any loved one, caregiver or speech-language pathologist is thoroughly knowledgeable in methods to help people improve talking since it is never known when the plug will be pulled on speech and language therapy services.

Ittleman says: “I see hundreds of people with speech and language difficulties each year. By reading and applying The Teaching of Talking, you will have the confidence to help your client or loved one, no matter what the insurance company or institution does.

By learning to do what is in Teaching of Talking you will be more self-sufficient and will not have to rely on anyone to provide your loved one with expert speech therapy.

Mark IttlemanAuthor Mark A. Ittleman, M.S. has been referred to as the “Speech pathologist who can make a rock talk!” He received that name from colleagues who noticed that he could often help children or adults learn to speak, or speak again. Ittleman has the uncanny ability to find a way to help others speak, often after they were discharged from therapy and told they had “plateaued.”

 

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Help for Anxiety in the Elderly

Melatonin Helps With Sundowning and Other Sleep Disorders

Brain Tumor – What You Need to Know

Stroke – What You Need to Know

The Caregiver’s Guide to ALS

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

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Best Blood Pressure Monitors Under $50

 

 

Best Blood Pressure Monitors Under $50

 

 

 

 

As with any purchasing decision, it is critical to first decide on a budget for your investment.

In fact, there is simply no need to spend more than $50 on a high quality blood pressure monitor.

 

 

If you are looking for the most cost-effective device, I have 2 well-researched, under-$50 recommendations for you here.

 

In this article, I will be providing a full review on:

 

  • LifeSource Advanced One Step Auto Inflate Blood Pressure Monitor (models UA-767 and UA-767F – both upper arm)
LifeSource UA-767PV One Step Auto Inflate Blood Pressure Monitor with Medium Cuff
Omron 7 Series Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor (Model BP652) Clinically Proven Accurate with Heart Zone Guidance and Irregular Heartbeat Detector

 

LifeSource

 

The LifeSource UA-767, also known as the LifeSource Advanced One Step Auto Inflate Blood Pressure Monitor, is part of the line of personal blood pressure machines produced by A&D Medical, which also manufactures many medical products utilized by doctors in hospitals and ambulances.

 

 

This review will give you a detailed breakdown of the UA-767 so that you can decide if it is the right device for your health needs.

This monitor is perfect for users seeking an easy-to-use device that is also both accurate and affordable.

It even comes with a lifetime warranty, which is not common in today’s market.

The simplicity of this machine makes it a great option for first-time buyers.

 

Simple, One Button Operation

If you want to track your health on a daily basis without dealing with overly complicated or extraneous features, this monitor provides the bare essentials necessary to effectively manage hypertension.

There is no need to worry about pressing the wrong button because there is only one button to operate this monitor. Simply press the Start button to power on the monitor, properly apply the arm cuff, then press the Start button once more to take a measurement.

The process for taking a blood pressure reading couldn’t be any simpler than putting on the cuff and pressing one button!

 

Reliable Accuracy

The UA-767 has been clinically tested and validated for accuracy, enabling users to obtain professional quality results from home.

It has been approved by authoritative groups such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the European Society of Hypertension.

The auto-inflate cuff automatically inflates to the correct pressure for each measurement to deliver consistently accurate.

 

Determine Your Cuff Size

 

It is crucial to select the correct cuff size in order to obtain accurate readings.

Wearing too small of a cuff tends to yield a higher than expected reading whereas too large of a cuff results in a lower reading than expected.

The LifeSource UA-767 comes with cuffs targeted to fit small and medium arms. Choose from  2 different versions of the same monitor sold with cuffs targeted for small or medium as required.

You can purchase extra cuffs, including the large size separately.

 

 

Large Screen

The large LCD display and buttons on this monitor are easily legible for all ages. The screen is very easy to read and only shows you the 3 numbers that matter the most (systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and pulse rate) without unnecessary symbols cluttering the display.

The newer version of the UA-767, known as the UA-767F and shown below, also displays and records the date and time concurrently with the health measurements.

I am a big fan of the simple display and believe LifeSource does a great job only showing you what you need to know without providing extraneous information.

 

 

Note that the UA-767F includes a customizable AccuFit Plus Cuff, which fits sizes (8.6-16.5 inches). For other sizes, cuffs can be purchased separately.

 

Important Feature – Irregular Heartbeat Detector

The UA-767F comes standard with an Irregular Heartbeat Detector, which is an invaluable feature usually only available for more expensive monitors.

During each BP reading, the device checks for irregular heartbeats and clearly displays a symbol on the LCD screen if it detects an irregular heartbeat.

The meter also adjusts the measurements when irregular heartbeats are detected in order to provide accurate blood pressure and pulse rate readings.

 

Lifetime Warranty

Unlike many blood pressure meters that only come with a 1-year or 5-year warranty, this monitor and the accompanying cuff are fully-backed by a lifetime warranty.

The lifetime warranty is a great aspect of purchasing this machine and offers you as the buyer peace of mind knowing that if something breaks, no additional out-of-pocket expenses are incurred. Rather, just contact the customer support team and they will assist you in getting the product working again.

 

Multiple Power Sources

Batteries and AC Adapter – The UA-767F device can be powered using batteries or with an AC Power Adapter (sold separately). If you are wanting to travel with the monitor, then powering the machine with rechargeable batteries would be the more convenient option.

However, the one-time expense of purchasing the AC Adapter will save you from having to buy replacement batteries for the life of the monitor (it is backed by a lifetime warranty, after all). This AC Power Adapter even comes with a European outlet adapter, which will be useful when traveling internationally.

 

 

If you do choose to use batteries, current users of this machine report that the batteries will last for a long time even with using the monitor on a daily basis.

 

Shipping Details

4.3 x 2.5 x 5.6 inches with a shipping weight of 1.4 pounds

Included are the monitor, auto-inflate cuff, quick start card, warranty card, 4-week blood pressure logbook, and trilingual instruction manual

 

Pros

  • Simple One Button Operation
  • Clinically Tested and Validated Accuracy
  • Legible Display and Large Buttons
  • No Overcomplicated or Unnecessary Features
  • Lifetime Warranty

 

Cons

  • Need to be sure to purchase the correct cuff size
  • Only 90 Reading Memory Capacity
  • Batteries and AC Adapter Extra

 

Price

The UA-767 costs about $45, and the UA-767F costs about $40. Additional cuffs (for multiple sizes or users) cost about $19.

 

Summary

Both the LifeSource UA-767 and the LifeSource UA-767F blood pressure monitors provide a simplistic approach to taking care of your health.

These devices are very budget-friendly and also very accurate. They have a decent memory capacity for the cost, although I wish batteries or an AC adapter were included.

One of these monitors would certainly be a good choice for your very first home monitoring unit. Take your pick from the table above and get on your way to better health!

 

The Omron BP652 7 Series Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor

If you are in need of an affordable yet portable blood pressure monitor, then put the Omron BP652 7 Series Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor on your radar.

  • This automatic Omron wrist blood pressure monitor is highly rated on Amazon with over 8,700 reviews.
  • The Omron BP652 7 Series is a cost-effective option which combines the accuracy and advanced features usually only available in larger upper arm models for a reasonable price tag.
  • This wrist meter is easy to use and especially great for those that find upper arm monitors to be cumbersome or painful to use.

 

Heart Guide Technology

What sets the Omron BP652 7 Series Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor apart from the inaccurate wrist meters of the past is the use of Omron’s Heart Guide Technology.

Wrist blood pressure meters have had a bad reputation for poor accuracy, which is usually attributed to not using the monitor according to instructions from the user’s manual.

Of course, you would never know if you were in fact using the monitor correctly either. Well, that is no longer the case for the Omron 7 Series and the included Heart Guide Technology.

What the Heart Guide Technology does is clearly indicate to you, via the Heart Guide Indicator light at the top of the monitor and a useful buzzer, whether or not you are in the optimal position for taking a reading.

The optimal position for a wrist monitor involves holding your arm across your chest (Pledge of Allegiance style) at heart level while firmly holding your elbow steady with your free hand to avoid extraneous body movement.

The 3 possible settings you can use with Heart Guide Technology for the Omron BP652: ON1, ON2, and OFF, are explained below.

 

ON1 – Not Recommended – is the default setting, which is surprising because it does use the Heart Guide Technology feature, but not to its full capability. With ON1, the monitor automatically takes a reading after several seconds regardless of whether or not the monitor is correctly positioned.

The Heart Guide Indicator light will turn blue if you are in the right position or orange if you are not in the correct position.

With ON1, if the light is blue for more than 2 seconds (indicating you are in the optimal position), the cuff will automatically inflate and take a measurement. This portion of the ON1 feature makes sense.

However, if you are in an incorrect position for more than 5 seconds, as indicated by the orange light, the monitor will still take your reading. This part is what is confusing and counter-intuitive about the ON1 setting.

I don’t understand why the default ON1 will override the Heart Guide Technology and still take a reading if you are not in the correct position, which is why we recommend using the ON2 setting instead.

I am not sure why ON2 is not the default setting for this monitor.

When initially configuring your monitor, you will want to set it to “ON2” mode to take full advantage of the Heart Guide Technology.

With ON2, the monitor will beep twice if it detects that the monitor is too far away from the optimal position, and beep once signifying you are in the proper position and ready to take an accurate reading.

Additionally, the orange Heart Guide Indicator light at the top of the apparatus will turn blue once the Omron BP652 has detected you are in the optimal position. So if you keep seeing an orange light, simply reposition your wrist until the light turns blue.

After seeing a blue light for more than 2 seconds, the cuff automatically inflates and takes an accurate measurement since you are in the best position for obtaining a blood pressure reading.

 

OFF Setting – only for advanced users. This setting turns off the Heart Guide Indicator completely and will allow you to take a reading even if you are not correctly positioned.

Since the Heart Guide Technology is a driving factor for purchasing this monitor over other models, I recommend using the ON2 setting as described above to take full advantage of this nifty feature.

However, the OFF setting could be useful once you become a pro at using your Omron BP652 7 Series Wrist Monitor and can place your body in the correct position via muscle memory and no longer have a need for any additional indicators to tell you if you are in the optimal position.

 

Additional Health and Accuracy Indicators

In addition to the handy Heart Guide Technology, there are a few other features this monitor provides that you should know about.

 

Irregular Heartbeat Symbol

The first is the Irregular Heartbeat Symbol, which is displayed on the right side of the screen near the top, and is shown when there are multiple instances of irregular heartbeats detected by the monitor during measurement.

Irregular heartbeats are not to be taken lightly, and you should contact your doctor if you continuously see this icon.

 

Movement Error Symbol

The Movement Error Symbol is displayed when excessive body movements are detected during a reading, letting you know that you should remove the cuff and take another reading after waiting a few minutes.

 

BP Indicator Bar

On the left side of the display, the vertical BP Level Indicator bar gives you a quick visual of how your BP level corresponds to the international guidelines for the upper limit of normal blood pressure of 135/85.

 

Advanced Averaging and Memory Features

It is important to track your blood pressure over time and to not rely on a single reading. These two concepts work seamlessly with the Omron 7 Series Wrist Monitor.

You can take your blood pressure up to 3 times in any 10 minute period, and the average of the 3 readings is stored on the machine. No need to bust out your calculator, just take 3 readings and the monitor will do the calculations for you!

The monitor stores the most recent 100 measurement values (blood pressure & pulse rate) for 2 separate users. This means that if you and your partner each take one reading in the morning and one in the evening, as recommended, you will each have almost 2 months worth of morning and evening readings to share with your doctor.

 

Invaluable Data for You and Your Doctor

This type of extensive data can be invaluable and provide your physician with helpful insight to best address your current health needs.

For example, what if you just started taking a new medication one month ago and you have started to feel a little different than usual?

Well, you will have 100 recent readings to tell you whether or not the new medication is affecting your blood pressure and/or pulse and can alert your doctor to see what adjustments need to be made to your dosage to best protect and improve your health.

 

Guest Mode for Additional Users

In addition to providing a large memory capacity for 2 users simultaneously, there is also a Guest Mode which takes a single reading and does not store the results. This can be useful if you have a friend looking for a blood pressure monitor and you want to let them try yours out without them affecting your averages!

 

Storage Case Included for Portability

This monitor is the ultimate blood pressure monitor for travelers and anyone else who finds themselves away from home on a regular basis.

Portability is a key aspect of selecting a wrist monitor over (or in addition to) a conventional upper arm blood pressure meter.

In case you don’t believe that transportability is a quintessential feature of this wrist monitor, Omron even includes a storage case with the monitor.

 

 
Comfortable Cuff

The wrist cuff is the standard size of 5.25 – 8.5 inches in circumference, which fits the majority of the population. Be sure to measure your wrist to make sure the monitor will fit you as well.

Users find this cuff much more comfortable and much less painful than the cuffs of upper arm monitors which tend to squeeze your upper arm in a less than desirable manner.

 

Simple, Informative Display

The Omron BP652’s LCD digital display, which is unfortunately not backlit, contains large numbers to clearly indicate your systolic and diastolic blood pressure and pulse rate.

Also, there is adequate space for the many indicator icons previously mentioned to fit on the screen.

 

Noise Level

The noise level of this wrist monitor is much less than a conventional upper arm monitor due to its smaller size.

This makes the Omron 7 Series a great choice for those seeking to take measurements discreetly, whether in public or even at the workplace.

 

Warranty

The monitor itself (excluding cuff and batteries) has a warranty of 5 years to allow you plenty of worry-free travel time with your monitor without thinking about needing a replacement. I’m not sure why Omron decided to exclude the wrist cuff from the 5 year warranty though.

 

Shipping Details

  • 4 x 4.5 x 7.8 inches with a shipping weight of 12 ounces
  • Comes with the monitor, storage case, instruction manual, quick start guide, and two AAA batteries

 

Pros

  • Heart Guide Technology & other advanced features
  • Travel friendly
  • Easy-to-read display
  • Low noise level
  • Batteries included (it’s the little things that count!)

 

Cons

  • Display is not backlit
  • Warranty does not cover wrist cuff

 

 

Consumer Ratings

The Omron BP652 scores a 4.3/5 with over 8,700 customer reviews. This excellent rating can be contributed to the wonderful value and the helpful, advanced features this monitor provides.

Some users claim this model is inaccurate, but many more believe the readings are in line with the measurements taken by their doctor. The most common source of inaccuracies is not using this monitor as directed and can be overcome by utilizing the helpful Heart Guide Technology with the recommended ON2 setting as stated above.

 

Price

Omron.com lists the MSRP of this model at $79.99 and is currently selling the Omron BP652 for $69.99, but as of this post publication date, Amazon currently has this unit on sale for $46.90.

 

Summary

With a price tag under $50, the technologically advanced Omron BP652 7 Series Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor offers you great features and accuracy without busting your budget.

This model is a perfect fit for travelers and for those looking for an accurate blood pressure meter that is less bulky than an upper arm monitor.

 

Related:

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Parkinson’s Disease and Low Blood Pressure

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Stroke – What You Need to Know

 

Stroke – What You Need to Know

 

 

 

When the blood supply to the brain is interrupted or blocked for any reason, the consequences are usually dramatic. Control over movement, perception, speech, or other mental or bodily functions is impaired, and consciousness itself may be lost. Disruptions of blood circulation to the brain may result in a stroke — a disorder that occurs in two basic forms, both potentially life-threatening.

 

Ischemic strokes – About three-quarters of all strokes are due to blockage of the oxygen-rich blood flowing to the brain. Called ischemic strokes, they are triggered by either a thrombus (a stationary clot that forms in a blood vessel) or an embolus (a clot that travels through the bloodstream and becomes lodged in a vessel).

 

This type of stroke may be preceded by a brief transient ischemic attack, or TIA — an episodes of inadequate blood flow that may produce these symptoms:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body
  • An inability to talk
  • Double or blurred vision in one eye
  • Sudden dizziness or falling

A TIA usually lasts 15 minutes or less. Because these may be signs of an impending stroke, take them seriously and see your doctor immediately.

With a TIA, circulation and the vital oxygen supply are quickly restored and lasting brain damage is usually avoided. With any stroke, however, if the interruption of blood flow lasts long enough to kill brain cells, it can produce irreversible damage.

The second basic type of stroke is a cerebral hemorrhage, or bleeding in the brain. It occurs when a brain aneurysm ruptures or when a weakened or inflamed blood vessel in the brain starts to leak. An aneurysm is a pouch that balloons out from a weakened spot on the wall of an artery. As blood flows into the brain, the buildup of pressure may either kill the tissue directly or destroy cells by impeding normal circulation to the affected region. This typically produces an excruciating headache, sometimes followed by loss of consciousness.

 

In contrast to ischemic strokes, which are generally survived, massive bleeding strokes are fatal about 40% of the time within the first month.

Because of improved treatment and greater public awareness of the dangers of high blood pressure, the overall death rate from stroke is declining. Nonetheless, stroke remains the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S., behind heart disease, cancer, and lung disease. It is also the leading cause of disability and second only to Alzheimer’s disease as a cause of dementia.

Recovery from stroke depends on the extent and location of brain damage. Although about 25% of patients die within the first year of having their first stroke, some stroke victims recover fully. But in the vast majority of cases, there is lasting physical or mental disability. Weakened stroke victims are also more vulnerable to infectious diseases such as pneumonia. In addition, depression often follows a stroke; unless treated, it can significantly hinder recovery.

What Causes a Stroke?

 

An ischemic (or clot) stroke occurs when a blood clot obstructs blood flow to a portion of the brain. The blocked vessel is already narrowed by years’ worth of plaque buildup due to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). The clot that serves as the final plug may be either a stationary blood clot created on the spot (thrombus), or an embolus composed of blood, plaque, or some other substance that formed elsewhere and traveled to the site.

Embolic blood clots. Emboli are blood clots that start in one location and travel to the brain to do their damage. Stroke-triggering blood clots may be produced when blood flow is sluggish. After a heart attack, for example, clots may form on the damaged heart wall because of slower blood flow there before traveling to the brain.

A common cause of blood clots is an irregular heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation. In atrial fibrillation, the upper chambers of the heart beat rapidly and irregularly. This increases the risk of a blood clot forming in the upper chambers of the heart (atria), which could break off and block an artery of the brain.

Bleeding. Bleeding (or hemorrhagic) strokes may be caused by aneurysms in the brain that rupture or arteries that become weak under the strain of long-term high blood pressure. Bleeding strokes can also result from a leaking arteriovenous malformation, a tangle of overgrown blood vessels in the brain that some people are born with.

The vast majority of strokes afflict people over the age of 60. Men are more often affected than women, and African Americans — possibly because of a greater incidence of high blood pressure — more often than whites. A more recent trend also shows that Hispanics are also more likely than whites to suffer strokes. A younger person is more apt to have a bleeding stroke, while older people usually suffer clot strokes.

The main controllable risk factors for stroke are:

  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol levels (specifically, high LDL or “bad” cholesterol)
  • Obesity
  • Abuse of stimulant drugs such as amphetamines and cocaine
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol use

 

 

 

F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke. When you can spot the signs, you’ll know that you need to call 9-1-1 for help right away. F.A.S.T. is:

F Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
A Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
T Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.

 


Beyond F.A.S.T. – Other Symptoms You Should Know

  • Sudden NUMBNESS or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden CONFUSION, trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden TROUBLE SEEING in one or both eyes
  • Sudden TROUBLE WALKING, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden SEVERE HEADACHE with no known cause

If someone shows any of these symptoms, immediately call 9-1-1 or emergency medical services.

 

Recommended:

Blood Pressure Down – The 10-Step Plan to Lower Your Blood Pressure in 4 Weeks Without Prescription Drugs

 

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