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Archive for July, 2012

Maintaining a Healthy Life with Low Mobility

Posted on: July 31st, 2012 by LAMedicalBlogger

We are currently in a fitness trendy country following the national attention the obesity epidemic in this country was given. However, all the fitness trends and infomercials you see on television are all geared toward those with full mobility. Disabled persons who depend on wheelchairs or other mobility devices are even more likely to become obese than those who don’t, and they are just as likely to develop medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease and blood clots.

That’s why developing a fitness routine if you are a wheelchair user can help you stave off medical conditions, obesity and decreased mobility. The key here is to not jump in too fast and bust out the heavy weights. That’s an easy way to injure yourself and prevent you from working out for even longer. The following is a basic approach to starting an exercise program.

Start with a transitional phase; your body needs time to adjust to doing work again. Use only your bodyweight in doing simple, repetitive tasks, such as lifting your arms from the side of your wheelchair so they form a “T” with your torso. Be sure to put an emphasis on using the correct form as this helps build muscle strength and endurance correctly.

After you become used to bodyweight exercises you can begin using lighter free weights or a resistance band to begin to build and tone muscle. Resistance bands and lower weight free weights are relatively inexpensive, and medicine balls can be used for a variety of workouts. Be sure to leave a day of rest between your workouts and never work the same muscles two workouts in a row.

For more information and specific workouts, go to www.disabled-world.com. You should be able to see the benefit of these workouts when getting into and out of your wheelchair because they should help build functional strength and lead to a healthier you.

Prevent the Ache

Posted on: July 26th, 2012 by LAMedicalBlogger

As anyone who has had a back injury can attest to this – they can be very painful and severely limiting. Most of us don’t think about the health of our spine and back muscles from day to day, but it is activities we do during most of these days that can lead to severe back injuries.

Perhaps the most important thing in preventing back stiffness and pain is having a bed that supports your back. If you’re sleeping on a surface for eight hours a night, seven days a week that doesn’t support your back, it’s no wonder you’re in pain from the moment you get up.

From there, the bathroom can present its own hazards when it comes to your back. Most toilets are built too close to the ground, so that sitting and standing puts a lot of pressure on your lower back. If this movement is causing you trouble, you may be an excellent candidate for a raised toilet seat or grab bar to help you up. Sinks are also built too low most times, so make sure to stand up straight when brushing your teeth instead of leaning over the sink.

How many times have you heard someone to tell you to quit slouching? Turns out their advice can help keep pressure off of your back. Follow this practice, whether you’re standing at home, driving your car or at your workplace. Speaking of work, having an ergonomically designed chair can help prevent back pain as well by keeping your spine supported. While many ergonomically designed chairs are more expensive, they won’t be as expensive as having to visit the chiropractor because of a bad back.

There are many other ways to help prevent back pain. Try out these tips to try and decrease your back pain and live a better, pain free life!

The Pain Behind the Sprain

Posted on: July 24th, 2012 by LAMedicalBlogger

It has happened to you, probably multiple times throughout your life, most likely. Sometimes it hurts more than others, that feeling you get in your ankle when it rolls over your foot or you land in a position that just doesn’t feel right. I’m talking about a sprained ankle, one of the most common orthopedic injuries.

Every day in the United States about 25,000 people sprain an ankle either through playing a sport or simply by a misstep. As one of the most common injuries among all age groups and different sports, ankle sprains are one of the most universal injuries. Sprains occur when the ligaments in the ankle, which are supposed to be slightly elastic, are stretched further than they are supposed to, resulting in pain. In severe strains, the ligaments are partially or completely torn, causing excruciating pain.

Recovering from an ankle sprain depends on the severity of the injury, but any ankle sprain treatment should include an ankle brace when weight is put back on the ankle. Ankle braces, like the ones carried by LA Medical, work by limiting the movement of the four major ligaments that support the stability of the ankle. However, for those that want to return to the playing field after a sprained ankle, you should first do the proper rehab to return the flexibility and strength in your ankle to where it originally was before slipping on an ankle brace and playing again.

While an ankle brace does help protect the ligaments of the ankle, wearing one continuously before rehab is not recommended as that will only prevent the ankle from healing properly. As with all injuries, you should follow the advice of your doctor or team physician before getting back onto the course, court or field to enjoy the sport you love.

Accessing Entertainment in Los Angeles

Posted on: July 20th, 2012 by LAMedicalBlogger

There are so many things to do in the greater Los Angeles area, and most, if not all, are accessible for those with physical handicaps. Title 24 of the California Building Standards Code states that public accommodation businesses need to comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and state statutes which are said to cover most areas of accessibility.

To those with disabilities, Title 24 has opened up a seemingly endless supply of things to do in Los Angeles. Here are just a few of the places that provide both excellent accessibility and high quality entertainment.

Aquariums- the Aquarium of the Pacific has walkways that are wide enough for those with mobility devices, and those with mobility devices can maneuver right up next to the glass tanks. Wheelchairs are also available at the Information Desk. The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium also offers easy access for those in wheelchairs as it is all on one level. The aquarium also rents out sand wheelchairs with extra large wheels to explore the nearby Cabrillo Beach.

Theme Parks- both Universal Studios Hollywood and Six Flags Magic Mountain cater to disabled visitors. Many of the rides and attractions at Universal Studios are handicap accessible, they have an online brochure for visitors to look over before they come and they feature a Guest Relations desk at the front of the park. Magic Mountain has a disabilities guidebook so visitors will know how to approach the park’s many features.

Sights- the attractive sights and endless number of street entertainers on the Venice Boardwalk can be easily seen as it is almost completely flat, and the Los Angeles Zoo provides a Safari Shuttle to shuttle people around the park who need it. They also provide electric and manual wheelchairs for rental.

There are many more places to see in Los Angeles that are accessible to those with disabilities. Check discoverlosangeles.com and latourist.com for more ideas, and have a wonderful time in the City of Angels!

Beat the Heat: Summer Tips for Caregivers

Posted on: July 19th, 2012 by LAMedicalBlogger

Everyone knows the risks of being out in the sun and heat during the often brutal summer months, though not many professions have to deal with the heat. As a caregiver, you have to assist your patients in perhaps both indoor and outdoor settings, or you are exposed to the heat when traveling from one patient to another or going home at the end of the day. You are also in a physically demanding job on top of that, so heat exhaustion and a lack of energy can be real issues you have to deal with. Here are some tips to keep you healthy and ready to care for your patients to the best of your ability.

Stay hydrated. Yes, this may seem basic or redundant at this point, but it must be said. With hotter temperatures and higher humidity levels on top of being in a physically demanding job, you can lose fluid very quickly. Try carrying around your own reusable water bottle and take a few gulps from it after every activity to replenish your fluids. No matter how tired you are, stay away from coffee and energy drinks as these act like diuretics and dehydrate you more.

Rest in a cool place. When you do get a chance to sit down and rest for a short period of time, make sure it’s near a vent or window air conditioning unit. If it’s in your car, allow your air to get cold before you start driving. Keeping your body temperature down is the easiest way to prevent heat illness.

Think about how you dress.  Go for looser clothing made of lighter fabrics that are lighter in color. Tight clothing traps your body’s heat, and darker colors absorb more of the sun’s heat in the fabric.

Hopefully these tips will help keep you from feeling the effects of heat illness and will keep you on your feet and caring for your patients.

Summer Health Tips for Seniors

Posted on: July 12th, 2012 by LAMedicalBlogger

The heat wave of summer is here and temperatures are soaring. According to the National Weather Service, there were 99 record highs recorded around the United States in the month of June, which is more than there were all last summer. We all know that serious heat can bring serious consequences in the form of heat stroke and severe dehydration, but that danger looms larger for those ages 65 and older. Studies have shown that the older we get, the less our body senses the signs of being overheated. With that in mind, here are a few tips for seniors to stay cool this summer while still being active.

Save any outdoor activities for the mornings or late evenings. If you like to go for a walk or be out in your garden, try to get out early or later to avoid the mid-day heat. Keep your morning activities between 6:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., and your evening activities after 7:00 p.m.

Stay hydrated. This should go without saying, however many seniors do like to enjoy coffee with their breakfast or an alcoholic beverage during the day. While these are fine in moderation, seniors also need 4-8 glasses of water per day to stay hydrated, even if they don’t feel thirsty. One way to stay on top of hydration is to drink two glasses per meal.

Be aware of your medications. Some medications naturally dehydrate the body. Make sure you know if your medication has a dehydrating effect on your body.

Pass on dark cotton clothes. Seniors should avoid wearing dark colors, and instead should wear something lighter and made of breathable fabric. The lighter color and fabric will help cool off the body instead of absorbing and trapping heat.

Embrace ice cream. Though not traditionally part of a healthy diet, ice cream, or any other cool treat for that matter, will help regulate the body’s internal temperature.

While summer is a great time to travel and be outside a lot with family and friends, those who are older need to be aware of the risks involved with the summer heat. Knowing the risks and preparing for them can help ensure that you’re able to enjoy every minute of your time with the ones you care about.

Keeping the Standard Walker Alive

Posted on: July 10th, 2012 by LAMedicalBlogger

Standard Wheelchairs. Power Chairs. Mobility Scooters. Rollators. All of these mobility devices have been created or are constantly updated with the newest technology for better comfort, more functionality or more efficient use. However, not everyone who needs help with their mobility needs one of these devices, but instead can have their needs met by an ordinary walker. Walkers have remained relatively unchanged since they first became a common piece of medical equipment. The material they are made out of has become stronger, and they have had accessories designed to fit them, but they’re overall shape and functionality has not changed. So, why are they still recognized as modern medical equipment?

First and foremost, thousands of people still use them. As stated previously, not everyone with limited mobility is a good fit for a power chair, manual wheelchair, scooter or rollator. Those using a standard walker need more help with stability while walking, while those needing, say, a power chair are focused solely on getting around. Since the purpose of the walker is to provide weight-bearing assistance while the user walks, it would not make sense for someone for whom a walker is appropriate to use a wheelchair or mobility scooter.

Some may point to how the walker is used and say that a rollator, which has four wheels, would be a better option. However, rollators are designed for those that do not need as much help with stability. The wheels of the rollator make it less stable and more liable to roll backwards or forwards when more weight is applied. Also, a rollator user must be able to apply good enough grip pressure to squeeze the handbrakes if needed, while a walker does not have this issue.

Because of these reasons, there are thousands of people in the United States alone for whom a walker is a more appropriate choice. LA Medical carries a number of walkers, as well as other mobility devices, for the various ranges of mobility of our customers. Check out our online catalog to get assistance with your mobility today!

Accident-Proof Your Bathroom

Posted on: July 7th, 2012 by LAMedicalBlogger

In an earlier post, we discussed how the bathroomis one of the most dangerous places for people 65 and older. The report by the Center for Disease Control cited in that post warned that as age increased, so did the risk for accidents in the bathroom that could result in bruises, sprains and broken bones. While getting in and out of a slick shower or bath tub may be the obvious thought when it comes to danger in the bathroom, there is a need for caution when getting on or off your toilet as well.

As the body ages, our ability to sit and stand easily becomes compromised and these actions become significantly harder to do. For those of us that have lost our flexibility a raised toilet seat can dramatically reduce the risk for accidents when getting on or off the toilet. Most raised toilet seats are three to six inches in height allowing for an easier transition on or off of the toilet. They can also be removed so that you can easily clean the molded plastic surfaces of the toilet seat or the toilet itself. Some raised toilet seats are also contoured to fit a wide variety of body types.

Not only be we lose flexibility as we grow older, but out balance also becomes impaired. This can also be a side effect of any medications we take for various medical conditions. To help combat this, some raised toilet seats also come with padded handles on either side of the toilet to help with sitting and standing. There are also safety rails that are sold separately from toilet seats that help to avoid slips and falls in the bathroom.

One of the main draws of all of these products besides that they keep you safe is that they can be installed without the use of tools. They set up easily, with most of the toilet seats locking on to the toilet without needing the original toilet seat to be removed.

As we grow older, being safe and secure in our own homes becomes more and more important. While the bathroom does present its own challenges, having a raised toilet seat or safety bars can go a long way in making your bathroom a safer place.

Absorb this Information

Posted on: July 6th, 2012 by LAMedicalBlogger

The main goal of incontinence underwearis to prevent leaks and absorbing moisture, but how exactly do they work? If you’ve ever been in the market for buying incontinence underwear of any kind you’ve no doubt seen the words “absorbent polymer” on the package or in the product descriptions.

Most commonly the polymer found in both baby diapers and incontinence underwear of any kind is sodium polyacrylate. Put into the incontinence product as crystals in a layer of paper fluff, this polymer is super absorbent, being able to absorb and keep 200 to 300 times its weight in regular tap water. When moisture reaches the crystals they soak it up and hold it by turning into a gel-type substance that locks away the moisture and is odorless.

This type of moisture control technology was first developed by NASA for their astronauts for various parts of their missions. The astronauts have to endure hours of being seated during takeoff with their legs above their head, an optimal position for the body to produce urine. They also need moisture control for their space walks that can take anywhere from five to eight hours.

Both baby diaper and adult incontinence product manufacturers discovered NASA’s use of super absorbent polymers for their astronaut’s underwear and decided to put the same kind of technology to work for them in their products. Ultimately this has led to a decrease in the size of incontinence products, allowing for a more discreet fit while still providing users with the utmost in moisture control. Absorbent polymers are now used in a majority of the incontinence products sold today, including those offered by LA Medical Retail.

Classic incontinence underwear, briefs and even underpads have all been introduced to polymer technology, and the immediate future for incontinence products revolves around these water-holding crystals. If you need incontinence underwear or an absorbent underpad and want to experience the performance of polymer, browse through our incontinence products to see how we can help you manage your incontinence.