Promoting Lymphatic Research + Giveaway!

Lymphedema is a chronic lymphatic disease that affects 10 million Americans and hundreds of millions worldwide. Symptoms include swelling in one or more parts of the body. Although many people are affected by lymphedema, many patients go undiagnosed or untreated due to a lack of knowledge and resources. To change this, many organizations, companies, doctors and patients are coming together to promote awareness and find a cure for lymphedema.

LE&RN

The Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN) is a non-profit organization founded in 1998 to promote research in the fields of lymphatic diseases, lymphedema, and related disorders. Through their industry outreach program, LE&RN has established partnerships with the biotech and pharmaceutical industries working to find improved treatments and cures.

The Lymphatic Education & Research Network offers support and provides resources to lymphedema patients, including a tool to find a local lymphedema therapist. LE&RN has established a patient registry and tissue bank to serve as a repository of information for current and future researchers. Several fellowship grants are awarded each year to doctors, scientists, and organizations working in the field of lymphatic research. The immediate goal is to expand our understanding of the lymphatic system.

Actress Kathy Bates partnered up with the Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN) to build awareness about lymphedema. Some people are born with it, others, like Kathy Bates develop lymphedema after a mastectomy. Lymphedema is commonly caused after the lymph nodes are damaged or removed from breast cancer treatment, or it may develop after injury or surgery.

Medi For Help

Mediven, a compression hosiery company, is making a difference in Haiti. Medi For Help was founded in 2010 after an earthquake struck the country leaving more than 300,000 men, women and children injured. This relief project provides amputees with lower limb prostheses and offers orthopedic, wound care and lymphedema treatment. Medi For Help has provided treatment to 4,500 Haitians and counting. The project provides support once the patient starts walking again. Medi For Help also now treats patients with diabetes or those recovering from a car accident.

Compression Garments To Manage Lymphedema

Although there’s no cure for lymphedema (yet!) the condition can be managed with the help of a lymphedema therapist, compression garments, Manual Lymph Drainage, and other techniques. Many compression companies are paving the way in wound care and lymphedema treatment to provide innovative, comfortable and effective high compression garments.

Strong & Durable Wraps

Compression wraps are a great alternative to high compression garments and are much easier to put on. Many brands like CircAid, BiaCare and Solaris offer durable and effective options to manage lymphedema. Browse our Wrap Catalog for a variety of ankle, thigh high and full leg wraps.

Everyday Compression For Lymphedema

Many brands offer compression knee highs, thigh highs, pantyhose and armsleeves in high compression levels to manage lymphedema. Choose from a variety of sizes, styles, fabrics and compression levels to find the perfect fit for you. Each brand offers different sizing, so make sure to check the size charts for an accurate fit. Save yourself some work and use our Size Machine to automatically calculate your size in all the biggest brands!

Stylish and Supportive Options

Say goodbye to boring old beige armsleeves and stockings. Introducing LympheDivas fashionable compression armsleeves, gloves and gauntlets in a variety of sizes, lengths and compression levels for the perfect look and feel. Looking for more patterned armsleeves? Try the Juzo Signature sleeves, available in three compression levels. Add some style to any outfit in the Juzo Dream Collection, available in a variety of knee highs, thigh highs, leggings, pantyhose and armsleeves in solid and tie-dye seasonal colors.

Lymphedema Awareness Month Giveaway!

In honor of the second annual World Lymphedema Day on Monday, March 6, 2017, BrightLife will be offering a $100 gift card for lymphedema compression garments. Through the month of March, enter to win below!

To enter, log in with your email address or Facebook information below. Then, choose how you would like to enter: You can answer a question, leave a comment about the blog post, follow us on Twitter, or tweet a message. Click here for more help. Good luck!! The contest ends Friday, March 31st at midnight.

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Pete@BrightLife Direct

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month Giveaway!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Giveaway Contest

Here at BrightLife Direct, our customers are very important to us. Each day, we talk with people who have been diagnosed with lymphedema and hear not only their questions, but their struggles. Lymphedema is commonly overlooked by doctors and can go undiagnosed for a very long time. Many people battling breast cancer are unaware that lymphedema can be a side affect to treatment and are unprepared for managing this condition. It can also be hard to obtain the resources needed to manage lymphedema due to a lack of regional availability of therapists and the financial cost. Since there is no cure for lymphedema yet, patients must wear a compression armsleeve everyday which can be costly, especially depending on the severity of the swelling.

The BrightLife Direct Armsleeve Assistance Program

BrightLife Direct Komen Armsleeve Program for LymphedemaIn light of this, BrightLife has partnered with the Susan G. Komen Foundation to provide compression armsleeves to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it. We will be providing free compression sleeves to patients at six different Komen grantee organizations here in Washington, D.C. These awesome organizations will help the patient measure for the correct fit and find the best armsleeve to help manage their symptoms. They will then send this information to us, and we ship out the armsleeve free of charge the same day. Check out Francia, pictured on the left, happily showing off her new compression armsleeve!

Enter Our Breast Cancer Awareness Giveaway!

You can win! In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, BrightLife Direct wants to give back to the lymphedema community. To help others with the financial burden of lymphedema, we are offering a $100 gift card for one lucky winner to choose any armsleeve or compression stockings of their choice! See below for entry and details.

lymphedema fashion compression armsleeves and compression socks

Lymphedema Style Guide

BrightLife Direct offers tons of compression armsleeves in a variety of sizes, colors, patterns and fabrics so you can find the perfect sleeve for you. If beige isn’t your style, we have lots of fun patterned armsleeves like LympheDivas and the new Juzo Signature Prints. The Juzo Dream Collection offers armsleeves and lower extremity compression garments in fun seasonal colors and tie-dye patterns. If you’re looking for eye-catching patterned leggings, try the new Juzo Soft Print Leggings, available in a large variety of patterns. Check out our style guide below for our customer’s favorite lymphedema options:


Lymphedema Compression Garments for Fashionistas

Mild to Moderate Lymphedema Garments

Moderate to Severe Lymphedema Garments

Lymphedema Compression Wraps

Juzo Soft Fashion Compression Socks and Lymphedema Armsleeves

Sizing Help

If you’re shopping on your own and don’t know your size, check out our Size Machine! Just enter your measurements and we’ll tell you what fits you best in all of the major brands. If you still have questions or would like some help deciding, please contact our customer service team.

You Can Win!

The rules are simple – the more you share, the more likely you’ll win! You can comment on this blog post to share your experience with Breast Cancer or Lymphedema, or share this post on social media. For details, see the Rafflecopter Contest Box below. Good luck!

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Beat the Heat with these Summer Health Tips

 

It is important to take care of your body, especially in the warmer months. Whether you’re heading to the pool, going camping or getting some exercise outside, we have tons of tips to keep you healthy and comfortable all summer long. Plus, check out some of the best skin care products and how to stay cool in the hottest weather.

The Basics

  1. Hydrate! The more water you drink, the easier it is for your body to regulate its temperature.
  2. Wear loose clothing to avoid overheating and to make you more comfortable.
  3. Avoid salty foods to prevent dehydration and swelling.
  4. Skin care is important! Make sure to moisturize your skin multiple times a day.
  5. Wear compression stockings while traveling and take frequent breaks on long trips to walk around.
  6. Stay in the shade as much as possible and don’t forget your sunscreen!

Skin Care

During the summer months, it’s important to protect your skin from the sun and moisturize frequently. If you have lymphedema, getting sunburn can damage your lymphatic system, resulting in overly sensitive skin. Make sure to apply sunscreen before heading out, but try to avoid applying it to areas covered by your compression garment. Suntan lotion can cause the material to deteriorate faster and can irritate the skin underneath the garment. You should also put on bug spray to avoid infections, cuts and discomfort. Try to use natural bug spray to eliminate unwanted chemicals such as DEET on your skin. If you do get bit, make sure to carefully wash and dry the area and apply a hydrocortisone cream.

“If you are going camping or hiking, be sure to take along a specialized first aid kit. The kit should include alcohol wipes to clean off any skin break, antibiotic cream for application on the skin, and bandages to protect the area.” – National Lymphatic Network

If you have dry or cracked skin, try using Remedy Skin Repair Cream. It is non-allergenic and great for those with diabetes or sensitive skin. If you are looking for a cream that won’t clog your pores, isn’t greasy and can be used with compression garments, try the Cutimed ACUTE Cream Mouse to moisturize your skin. It is perfect for people with diabetes, lymphedema or those with damaged skin. It is available in three different strengths, depending on what you need. For an everyday lotion that is also safe for compression garments, apply Medi Day Gel. This fast absorbing gel makes it easier to get your compression stockings on without the greasy residue.

Comfort is Key

During the summer, make sure to wear loose clothing to stay cool and to avoid restricting the flow of your lymphatic system. One of the most important things when you’re out in the sun is to wear comfortable shoes. Check out the new Dr. Comfort summer shoes for men and women. They are great for those with diabetes, plantar fasciitis or sensitive feet. They provide additional cushioning and shock absorption to keep you comfortably on your feet all day long. Nothing’s worse than tired feet halfway through the day!

Summer is one the best times for traveling, but it can also be the most uncomfortable. Whether you are flying, driving or traveling by train, make sure to wear your compression stockings! Sitting for long periods of time is bad for circulation and can lead to fatigue, swelling and more serious complications. If you are driving, make sure to use the air conditioning and stop as much as possible to get out and stretch. If you have lymphedema, try to keep your affected limb as elevated as possible. If you take a plane, the lower air pressure can aggravate lymphedema. If you have lower extremity lymphedema, try to get an aisle seat so you have more leg room and can get up to walk around more frequently without the difficulty. If you have lymphedema in your arms, make sure to carry a light carry-on or get a rolling suitcase to avoid heavy lifting. Again, make sure to stay hydrated while traveling!

How to Keep Your Cool in the Summer

If you have lymphedema, you know the importance of staying cool. When you start to feel overheated, try taking a cool shower and elevate the affected limb in an air conditioned place. You can also wrap the limb in a cold, wet towel and elevate it as well. To avoid getting your compression garment wet, the National Lymphatic Network suggests putting a plastic bag between the garment and the wet towel. This avoids skin irritation and damage to the garment. If you have upper extremity lymphedema, check out Lymphedivas. These fashionable compression armsleeves are made with moisture wicking fabric to keep your arm cool and dry. They are lightweight and are infused with aloe vera to soften and moisturize your skin. They are latex and silicone free, and made in America. To stay cool with compression socks, thigh highs or pantyhose, try an open toe stocking. This style is great to wear with sandals or other summer shoes.

It is also important to wash your compression garments daily, especially in the summer. Frequent washing is better for compression stockings because it helps to maintain its effectiveness and prolongs the garments lifespan. Regularly washing compression garments also helps to get rid of dirt and oils that can reduce the effectiveness of the garment and avoids bacteria that can cause skin irritation or other complications. Plus, lotions that aren’t safe for compression can cause the fabric to deteriorate faster.

Diet

Eating healthy is important for more reasons than getting the perfect “beach body.” During the summer, it is vital to avoid salty foods because they can lead to swelling, water retention and bloating. Instead of grabbing a soda and chips, snack on fruits, vegetables and nuts. Make sure to get lots of protein and to eat a big, balanced breakfast to keep your energy up all day long. Avoid foods with lots of carbohydrates and sugar to keep you from craving sweets and junk food. Eat 3-5 small meals throughout the day and make sure you’re not hungry. When you don’t eat enough, your body doesn’t get the nutrients it needs and can lead to fainting, dizziness, exhaustion and fatigue. Most importantly, drink lots of water to give your body the oxygen it needs. Dehydration can cause you to feel overheated, so stay cool with a nice, refreshing glass of water.

Exercise

The summertime is great for exercising and playing sports, but it is important to take it easy. Physical activities you do in the winter won’t affect you as much as they do in the summer because of the heat. Even though you typically run 5 miles in the winter, you may not be able to run as far in the summer. The heat can cause your lymphatic system to “overload”, which is why many people with lymphedema dread the summer months. However, the heat doesn’t have to prevent you from going outside and enjoying yourself, you just have to be more careful. Make sure to exercise for a shorter amount of time and to take a lot of breaks. If your arm or leg starts to ache, hurt or feel irritated in any way, go inside to cool down and elevate the affected limb. This is a sign that your lymphatic system is overloaded.

Swimming is recommended for those with lymphedema. Make sure to moisturize after swimming in the pool to avoid dry skin. Once you are out of the water, remember to put your compression garment or bandages back on as soon as possible. You can use an old garment if you want to swim with one on. Remember to rinse off after swimming and dry completely to avoid infection and skin irritation. If you have lower extremity lymphedema, make sure to wear shoes at the pool whenever you’re not in the water to avoid bacteria or getting cuts or scratches that could get infected. If you have a cut or open wound, it is best to avoid swimming until after it has healed.

Resources

Cool Tips For A Hot Summer – NLN

How to Wear Compression in the Summer – RejuvaHealth

4 Tips To Get Your Legs Ready For Summer

Protect Your Skin From the Sun – American Cancer Society

Diabetes and Summer Safety Tips

Sigvaris Hypoallergenic Skin & Foot Cream

7 Critical Precautions for Summer if You Have Diabetes

How to Prevent Skin Cancer – American Cancer Society

Fitting Lotion – The Best Donning Aid?

There are many devices to help you put on compression garments.  Most of our manufacturers offer their own version of stocking donners, which look like metal cages about 1 ½ feet high.  You fit a stocking over a round metal shape in the center and then step into it, allowing your downward leg motion to do most of the work.  Stocking donners require patience and practice, and are most useful for individuals who can’t bend at the waist.

Easy-Slide, arm slippies, Slippie Gator, rubber donning gloves are other devises which seem to be more useful.  However, one of the least known and most effective donning aids is a bottle of fitting lotion.  The main ingredient in fitting lotions is silicone.  Applied to an arm or leg, it makes the limb very slippery for just enough time to slide on and adjust the garment.  For individuals who have difficulty pulling their stockings up the leg, or pulling an armsleeve up the arm, fitting lotion can be a life saver.

Alps fitting lotion is available in a 4oz squeeze bottle and priced at $19.95.  Compression Assist is $14.95 for a convenient 2oz spray bottle.

Fitting lotions are hypo-allergenic, odorless, and safe for all types of fabrics.  As an added bonus, they protect sensitive skin and make dry chapped skin feel silky smooth.

Pete@BrightLife Direct
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