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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pete@BrightLife Direct

Google+

Sigvaris to acquire Biacare

Last month, Sigvaris announced that they have signed a purchase agreement with Biacare, a small manufacturer of lymphedema, wound care and bandaging products.  Sigvaris is one of the largest compression stocking manufacturers in the world.  Still a family owned and managed company, Sigvaris corporate headquarters are in Switzerland, but they have manufacturing facilities around the world.  Their US mill in Peachtree City, GA is in the midst of a major expansion project that will double the size of the facility.

sigvaris-biacare-blogBiacare, also a family owned company, specializes in short stretch velcro wraps, bandaging, and specialty compression garments that are mainly used to treat lymphedema, lymphoedema and serious venous diseases.  Biacare’s CompreFit and CompreFlex lines of compression wraps have excellent customer reviews, and their bandaging is very competitively priced.

The merger of Sigvaris and Biacare completes the consolidation of the small family run businesses that specialize in the manufacture of specialty lymphedema garments in the US.  Mediven purchased Circaid in 2014.  Lohmann & Rauscher purchased Solaris in 2015, and BSN-Jobst purchased Farrow Medical and JoviPak in the past year.

BrightLife Direct has sold products from all of these small specialty manufacturers for many years.  As a whole, we see the mergers between these large stocking mills and small specialty businesses as being a positive one for our customers.  Before the corporate acquisitions, products made by Circaid, Farrow, JoviPak and Solaris could not be returned once they were opened.  Corporate backing has changed this.  Like we do on compression stockings, BrightLife Direct can now offer our 30-day guarantee on ready-to-wear wraps that can often cost hundreds of dollars for just one limb.

reduction-kit-for-blogThese mergers have also fostered some great innovation.  Medi and Circaid have led the way with the development of Reduction Kits used during the initial decongestive phase of lymphedema treatment.  In the decongestive phase, the affected limb is wrapped every day with multiple layers of bandaging, padding, and gauze.  This treatment can go on for months, and the whole wrapping and unwrapping process can take hours each day.  Reduction Kits are customizable short stretch velcro wraps that eliminate all the wrapping.  These garments can change the life of someone dealing severe lymphedema.

Alternatives to Wearing Compression Stockings

Juzo Calf WrapCustomers often tell us, “I’ve tried everything, but I can’t get my compression socks on. What else can I try?”

If you have sensitive skin, weak hands, or severe swelling, getting compression socks on and comfortably in place can be a struggle. Luckily, more and more companies are offering alternatives to traditional compression socks – compression wraps. These products wrap easily around the leg and attach with velcro straps.

CircAid, Farrow Medical, Solaris, BiaCare and Juzo all make ready-to-wear wraps that can be easily donned by most anyone.

Circaid Juxta Lite provides dynamic compression, is inelastic, and can be worn day and night.  Compression increases when you are active and decreases when you’re at rest.  A Built-In Pressure System (BPS) can be adjusted to provide 20-30, 30-40, or 40-50mmHg. CircAid JuxtaFit Essentials and Premium are are more durable and long-lasting option. Made with a thicker fabric, these wraps are easy to maintain and adjust. All of the CircAid products fit a calf up to 25″.

“I bought this because my 93 yr old mother had started having leg edema 6 months ago and could not tolerate putting on or leaving on regular compression stockings (even the lightest compression). These have been easy to put on her and so comfortable that she is willing to wear them even when asleep. Love that the compression is adjustable with the little card.” – Vancouver, WA

FarrowWrap for the calf and foot, is made out of strips of short-stretch fabric, with velcro closures.  A liner stocking is typically donned first, then the strips are folded over in sequence starting at the ankle.  A  wrap for the foot, and hybrid liner with compression in the foot only are also available.  FarrowWrap is available in two compression levels, Lite (20-30mmHg) and Classic (30-40mmHg). Fits up to 67cm calf (~26.3″).

“The leg wraps are easy to apply, comfortable to wear, very effective, and are easily removed.” – Mount Vernon, OH

ReadyWrap Quick-Fit by Solaris mimics traditional bandaging and is made using non-elastic Velcro straps.  ReadyWrap is available for the foot, calf, knee and thigh.  Pieces can be worn individually or together to provide compression from the toes to the groin. Fits a calf up to 68 cm (~26.7″). Extender tabs can add another 10 cm (4″) to the wrap, allowing it to fit up to 78 cm (30.7″)

“These ReadyWrap Calf Units are awesome. no more pulling up and at the same time pulling your muscles. As long as they are on correctly, they hold your leg together. A big plus in my world.” – Plymouth Meeting, PA

BiaCare has CompreFit and CompreFlex options which are incredibly easy to don. Just slip the wrap over your foot and adjust the velcro straps. CompreFlex Lite contains just the calf wrap, while the CompreFit and CompreFlex wraps include a foot/ankle wrap. These wraps can be purchased with extender straps to fit a calf up to 74 cm (30″). Upper leg wraps are also available in this line.

“I really am loving my new “stocking”. When my leg was being wrapped by the “OT” staff the wrapping lasted 1 day and then was too loose. This can be adjusted as needed…A super invention!” – Port Orchard, WA

Juzo has just launched their own wrap and it’s already getting rave reviews. While this wrap functions similarly to the options above, it is unique because it offers customers two color options in one wrap – it’s fully reversible. Currently the Juzo Compression Wraps are only available for the foot and calf, but the upper leg wraps will be added soon. Fits a calf up to 23.5″.

Want to see all the pieces laid out together and easy to browse? Check our page that features full-leg compression wraps.

If one of these ready-to-wear options won’t work for you, custom wraps are available for every part of the body.  Give us a call at 1-877-545-8585.

Pete@BrightLife Direct
Google+

New Products to Treat Lymphedema

Solaris Medical and CircAid have both introduced new products for use in treating lymphedema.

For the early decongestive phase of treatment, CircAid has developed revolutionary new Reduction Kits that replace bandages and wrapping.  Made from a soft neoprene like material, Reduction Kits have straps with Velcro closures.   You can easily take the garment off to bathe and put it back on correctly so you don’t loose any of the reduction you’ve gained.

Reduction Kits must be sized and customized by your clinic or therapist.  As your limb reduces, you can make small adjustments to the garments size.  After significant reductions, the Kit can be adjusted or further customized by your therapist.

Available for both upper and lower extremities, CircAid Reduction Kits allow you to lead a normal life, without constant visits to a clinic or therapist for wrapping.

reduction-blogOnce you’ve completed the decongestive phase of treatment, you’ll need garments to maintain the gains you’ve made.  Solaris Medical has just launched a new line of compression garments designed for lymphedema treatment called Exo.

ExoSoft is made from a circular knit fabric (no seams) and is available in knee highs, thigh highs, an arm sleeve, gauntlet and three gloves with varying finger lengths.  All are a 20-30mmHg compression.  ExoSoft offers a moderate level of containment.

ExoStrong is made from the same flat knit fabric used to make custom stockings.  Also available in knee highs, thigh highs, arm sleeve, gauntlet and three glove styles.  ExoStrong provides a compression of 20-30mmHg too, but with a very high level of containment.   Both of the Exo lines are available in beige and black.

solaris-blog

What fabrics provide the best containment?

In a recent post, we explained the difference between compression and containment, and the importance of containment when treating edema. In this blog, we’ll discuss some different  options (both custom and ready-to-wear) that provide excellent containment.

Mediven Mondi Esprit Armsleeve 30-40mmHg

Flat knit fabrics provide the highest containment. Flat knit is just as it sounds – a flat piece of fabric that is sewn together with a seam, unlike the circular knit compression garments seen in most stores, which have no seam.  This is the fabric that custom compression stockings and armsleeves are made from.  Custom flat knit stockings are typically prescribed for individuals with large or unusual limb shapes that can’t fit into the ready-to-wear sizes available online or in stores. Custom compression garments are also prescribed for those who have acute or chronic edema or lymphedema.  For upper extremity lymphedema, we do offer one non-custom option in this flat knit fabric – the Medi Mondi Esprit armsleeve. This armsleeve provides the best arm containment and is available in 5 sizes and two lengths.

ReadyWrap Solaris

Another option for high containment, is alternative compression wraps.  These are strips of non-elastic fabric that wrap around your leg, held in place by velcro.  On some brands, like the Juxta line from CircAid, the compression level can be adjusted.  Compression wraps provide dynamic compression, which means they are only working when your muscles are pushing back against the fabric.  This allows them to be worn round-the-clock if necessary.  Other examples of compression wraps are ReadyWrap by Solaris, FarrowWrap, and CompreFit by Biacare.

 

However, for most people, a ready-to-wear circular knit compression stocking (the type you would buy from us) will provide all the compression and containment necessary to treat your condition.   In the circular knits, there are options that provide a high level of containment.  They are Juzo Dynamic, Sigvaris 500 Rubber Series, and Mediven Forte. Talk to your doctor to see if one of these options are right for you.

Can you wear compression stockings at night?

The short answer is no, at least for high compression garments over 30mmHg, unless you have been instructed to do so by your doctor. Lighter compression garments like anti-embolism stockings can be worn at night, as well as mild compression of 8-15mmHg.  If you need compression round the clock, your doctor or therapist will probably recommend a different type of compression garment when you sleep, like bandaging or a nightwear garment.

Short stretch bandaging or wrapping is often worn at night by individuals who have lymphedema or chronic edema.  This type of compression is very mild when resting.  The bandage only provides resistance and significant compression when the underlying muscles are active and pushing against the bandage.

Tribute by Solaris Medical is specifically designed for nighttime wear.  Tribute garments can be worn on any part of the body and each garment is custom made.  The outer layer is made of a stretchy fabric that provides compression.  The interior is filled with foam chips that gently massage the tissues while you sleep, which helps release interstitial fluids and reduce swelling.  Tribute garments are very comfortable so they won’t interfere with your sleep, and the fabric is specially treated to remove moisture and help keep you cool.

BiaCare makes a similar line of nighttime garments.  Their foam and chip sleeves can be worn at night.  Both are available in ready-to-wear sizes and custom.  In combination with  an oversleeve, the foam sleeve provides 10-15mmHg and the chip 15-20mmHg.

Biacare’s CompreFit system for legs, can also be worn at night.  CompreFit mimics the compression of short stretch bandaging, but is much easier to put on and take off.  The calf unit, which includes a boot for the foot, provides compression up to the knee.  A thigh unit can be added to provide compression from foot to groin.

Similarly, Circaid JuxtaFit and JuxtaLite products can be worn round the clock.

Before beginning any nighttime compression regimen, be sure to consult with your doctor or therapist.

Pete@BrightLife Direct

Compression Shopping Guide

At BrightLife Direct we give you many different ways to find the compression garment that’s right for you.  You can shop by brandstyle or length, men or womenlow price, and perhaps most importantly… compression level.

Before you begin shopping, you need to know what compression level is appropriate for your condition.  If you already wear stockings, hopefully you know your compression.  If this is is your first time, your doctor or therapist should have told you what compression level you need.  If they have not, our compression guide can help, but this is not a substitution for medical advice.  We highly recommend that you talk to your doctor or health care provider before beginning compression therapy above 20mmHg.

Once you’ve determined the proper compression, you need to decide on the style or length of the garment, that is, a knee high, thigh high or waist high (pantyhose).  Remember the stocking has to cover the area of your body where the problem exists.  If you have an aching varicose vein in your thigh, a knee high isn’t going to help.  If you’re traveling and don’t have any existing venous problems, a knee high should do the job.

Now that you know the compression and style, the rest is easy.  Picking the weave or fabric you prefer and deciding if you want an open or closed toe.

The three main fabric choices are sheer, opaque and ribbed.  Sheers look great, but are just a bit more delicate than other fabrics.  Opaques offer the widest range of prices and sizing options.  Ribbed are very durable.  All three fabrics are usually woven from nylon and spandex.  Opaque and ribbed fabrics are available in cotton, wool, and silver blends.

The toe style does not affect the therapeutic benefit of a compression stocking, and is usually a personal preference. Open toes are great in warm weather, with sandals or flip-flops and if you have problems like corns or hammer toes.

Now it’s time to shop.  Let’s say you need a 20-30mmHg compression thigh high, and want a sheer fabric with a closed toe.  Mouse over Compression Level in the left navigation bar.  Move your cursor to 20-30mmHg, then Thigh Highs, then Sheer.  You’ll see a note at the top of the page that closed toe is standard.

Now let’s look for a 15-20mmHg compression knee high in cotton with an open toe.  Mouse over Compression Level, move your cursor to 15-20mmHg, then Knee High, and then Cotton/Wool.  See the note at the top of the page that cotton blends are closed toe only.

As mentioned in the first paragraph, there are many different ways to search our website for the compression garment you need.  If you have a question or need assistance finding what you want, our trained certified fitters are happy to help at 1-877-545-8585.

Pete@BrightLife Direct
Google+