Invisible Illness Awareness Week 2015

Dysautonomia and POTS – Invisible Illness Awareness Week

bld-pots

Dysautonomia refers to a number of conditions that describe the breakdown or failure of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS regulates unconscious or involuntary body functions, including the cardiovascular system, metabolic system and more. To diagnose Dysautonomia, a tilt-table test is used to evaluate how the patient regulates blood pressure regarding stressful events.

Some of the most common Dysautonomia symptoms include blood pressure changes, fast heart rates, anxiety, dizziness, lightheadedness, stomach pain, mood swings, migraines and insomnia. For some people with Dysautonomia, getting out of bed can even be a struggle. For others, travel may be limited or nonexistent. These symptoms can be mild or severe and may even seem “invisible” to someone who doesn’t know what to look for. Patients with Dysautonomia may have symptoms that come and go, some caused or enhanced by stress.

Over a million Americans suffer from a primary autonomic system disorder. One of the most common conditions is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). Others include Neurocardiogenic Syncope (NCS), Orthostatic Intolerance (OI), Vasovagal Syncope, Neurally Mediated Hypotension (NMH), Multiple Systems Atrophy (MSA), Post-Viral Dysautonomia, Pure Autonomic Failure (PAF), Familial Dysautonomia (FD), Non-Familial Dysautonomia and Generalized Dysautonomia.

With so many people affected by this condition, you would think that there would be tons of information on it. However, there is not. After researching POTS and Dysautonomia resources, some of the most helpful information was found on personal blogs. The biggest thing to take away here is that your voice matters. With limited information and scientific research, personal experiences and advice are sometimes the best things to rely on. That is why Invisible Illness Awareness Week is so important. It builds and strengthens a community of people who are fighting to be heard.

As of now, there is no cure for Dysautonomia. To relieve symptoms, many patients turn to physical therapy, drinking lots of fluids, increasing sodium intake as well as limiting the amount of caffeine and sugary drinks that consumed. You can check with your doctor about getting medication to relieve more severe symptoms and determine what the best option would be for you. There is also a new treatment called TVAM, or Transvascular Autonomic Modulation, to improve the autonomic function in patients.

Wearing compression socks can also help alleviate symptoms to improve circulation in the body which helps to decrease lightheadedness, dizziness and normalize the heart rate and blood pressure. Compression socks also help to reduce the amount of pooling blood, swelling and fatigue and to prevent blood clots and varicose veins. Compression socks are also recommended for exercise and traveling, especially if you’re flying. If you have Dysautonomia and have a hard time traveling, wearing compression socks could be your secret weapon to getting back on the road or in the gym. Compression garments are available in knee high, thigh high and waist high options in a variety of compression levels, colors and sizes.

The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. There are tons of people who are suffering from an invisible illness too. With the help of bloggers, support groups and organizations, together we can bring awareness to these conditions. Share your story and join the #invisiblefight today.

Invisible Illness Awareness Week is extremely important to share the unheard voices of so many people who are suffering. Many people struggle with undiagnosed or rare conditions that many medical practitioners are unaware of. The good news is, you can help make a difference. Starting September 28 – October 4th, share your stories or those of loved ones to promote awareness about rare conditions. You can also spread the word by participating on social media by including #InvisibleIllness in your posts. What do you fight for?

Additional Resources:

Invisible Illness Awareness Week

October is Dysautonomia Awareness Month

Lauren Stiles – Dysautonomia 101

Best POTS and Dysautonomia Blogs

Compression Socks

Dysautonomia Symptoms

Lifestyle Adaptions for POTS

The Healing Power of Silver

Many of you already know Oslo the Schnauzer, our company Mascot and unofficial “Director of Security”.  I took Oslo to the dog park last Sunday.  Oslo was romping and rolling with her best girlfriends, Eloise and Ramona.  Their “play” is always friendly but they do sometimes get overly exuberant.  As the dogs were running circles around me I received an accidental but nasty scratch on my calf from one of their paws.

dogs-for-blogWhen I got home I cleaned and disinfected the scratch and didn’t really think about it again until Monday morning.  Both my socks and jeans rubbed on my calf, and although it wasn’t painful, it was very irritating.  Earlier that morning I had read an article in the Washington Post about how hospitals are starting to install copper handles, switches, and fixtures to fight the spread of viruses and bacteria.  Both copper and silver have been used for centuries to clean wounds and fight infections.  What luck that BrightLife sells a soft tubular bandage with X-Static silver threads.  We sell it to patients and medical facilities for use in the treatment of lymphedema, dermatological infections, and wounds.  Unlike other bandages, this slightly elastic tubular bandage slips on arms and legs without adhesive.  There is no screaming and crying like the kind that occurs when you yank an off adhesive bandage.  I cut a piece off a 3” roll, slipped it on my leg, and the irritation was gone instantly.

petes-leg-for-blogIt’s Tuesday morning and I’m still wearing the Silverseal X-Static Tubular Bandage on my leg.  There’s no pain or irritation, and the scratch is healing nicely.  Both my leg and I should be ready to take Oslo to the dog park this coming weekend.

Workout Essentials – TheraSport, Solidea and Dr. Comfort

As the weather starts to cool off, check out your ultimate workout guide to get you through the Fall without skipping workouts.

BLD Workout Essentials
Workout Essentials featuring:

First things first, make yourself a killer gym playlist filled with all of your favorite songs. Nothing gets you motivated like music! Get yourself a pair of comfortable headphones. The B&O Play headphones pictured feature a detachable cord, microphone and great sound quality. If you and your workout buddy both have these headphones, you can use the daisy chain functionality to link your headphones so you’re both listening to the same thing.

Another great piece of technology to help meet your fitness goals is the Everlast Sport Watch. This high-tech bracelet keeps track of calories burned, steps taken and how many miles you walk or run each day. The Everlast Sport Watch is a great way to see how much progress you have made. It even tells you the time so you can stay on track.

When you get to the gym, make sure to stretch. Using a foam roller is ideal to target specific muscles to work out kinks. It also works well for physical therapy, yoga balance and strength training. During your workout, it is extremely important to stay hydrated. The Camelbak water bottle featured in this guide has a loop to clip it to your bag or carry with your finger so you don’t misplace it at the gym. This durable bottle is spill-proof so you never have to worry about it leaking. The Camelbak water bottle is made BPA free and is available in a large variety of colors.

Now for the most important workout essentials: compression socks. The new TheraSport Athletic Performance Sock provides 20-30mmHg graduated compression to improve circulation to energize your legs. Once you put these on, you’ll finish your workout strong. These socks will have you feeling better than ever, even after pushing yourself through a grueling workout. Check out this TheraSport product review on the and see for yourself! These socks are made with tons of cushioning to support your feet and reduce impact. TheraSport socks are anti-microbial to prevent odor and are made with moisture-wicking fibers to keep your feet cool and dry. After your workout, slip on TheraSport Athletic Recovery Socks to reduce fatigue and heal faster than ever.

The only thing that’s worse than sore legs is sore feet. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes that don’t rub or irritate your feet. Nothing’s harder than trying to run with a blister! Our recommendation is the Dr. Comfort Women’s Athletic Refresh Shoe. These lightweight shoes are great for people with sensitive feet. These shoes support side-to-side movement unlike regular running shoes, making them ideal for kickboxing, Zumba, weight training and stretching. Choose from a variety of colors and two different lace options. They even come with a gel shoe insert for maximum comfort.

Say goodbye to cellulite! Last but not least, the Solidea Strong Advanced Micro Massage Compression Bike Short is made with a breathable fabric that reduces bacteria and odor to keep your skin clean, dry and healthy. This bike short smooths the silhouette helping to shape mid-thighs and to reduce scar formation, fibrosis and the ever so dreaded cellulite. It also helps to sooth symptoms of lymphedema, edema and swelling by using 3D wave knit fabric to stimulate the lymphatic system. As you move, the fabric expands and contracts creating a massage affect.

SHOP WORKOUT GEAR:

SHOP ALL ATHLETIC COMPRESSION SOCKS

Common Measuring Mistakes To Avoid

 

  1. Do not measure late in the day

Everyday our legs and feet swell. This is normal. For this reason, it is important to measure for compression stockings early in the morning to get the most accurate fit. If you measure later in the day or at night, you may purchase a size that is too big and will not get the maximum benefits of compression. The same applies for armsleeves as lymphedema swelling can increase during the day – measure in the morning!

  1. Do not estimate – be precise!

Compression socks and sleeves are not a one-size-fits-all product. In fact, a size medium in one brand could be a large in another. Sizes can even vary within brands as well. This is why it is important to check the measurements. You may think you need to “fit” into this sock, but in reality there’s another one that matches your measurements better. If you find yourself between sizes, try another brand or style. You can also try our Size Machine to determine the what size garment you need. If you have any questions about measuring or sizing, you can call our customer service team Monday through Friday from 9-6PM for help. Try to measure in centimeters as much as possible for more precise measurements. This may help you if you are struggling to see where your measurements fall on the size chart.

  1. Do not try to take your measurements yourself

Lets face it. We’ve all tried to carry in too many groceries at one time and ended up dropping everything. Sometimes, an extra set of hands makes all the difference. When measuring for compression socks or armsleeves, it’s important to have measurements that are as accurate as possible. This is extremely hard to do by yourself. Getting the placement right and bending at odd angles to try and measure your leg or arm doesn’t exactly scream “fun.” If you can, try and get someone to help take your measurements. That way you can be sure that you’re getting the right size without dealing with the hassle of returning socks that don’t fit. Our knowledgeable staff is available for fitting appointments if you would like help determining your size. All you have to do is ask!

  1. Do not guess where the measurements should be taken

Medical compression sock sizing is based on the leg circumference. Knee high socks require ankle and calf measurements. Always measure the smallest part of your ankle. You do not want to measure over your anklebone. You do want to measure around the largest part of your calf. It is also important to measure from the floor to the bend behind your knee. For thigh highs and pantyhose (waist high), you will also need to measure around your upper thigh, about 3” below the crease of the buttocks. Some pantyhose may also require the length, your height and weight, or hip measurements. If you are measuring for an armsleeve, you need to get three measurements: around your wrist, right below your elbow and around your upper arm (just below your arm pit). Some brands like Mediven or Juzo will have you measure the length of your arm as well. When you are measuring, make sure that your arm is bent slightly. You will want to measure the outside length from your wrist to the upper arm measurement. For gloves and gauntlets, simply measure around your wrist, avoiding the wrist bone, and the palm of your hand above your thumb.

  1. Do Not Choose To Wear The Wrong Size

Wearing the wrong size can result in more compression being applied than is desired. You shouldn’t wear something that you need to fold down at the top to fit your leg, or something that feels like it’s cutting off your circulation. This can be harmful and complicate existing conditions. Check for special sizing if you have a hard time finding something that’s comfortable. There are petite sizes, plus sizes, socks for wide calves and stockings made for longer legs. There are even compression stockings to wear during pregnancy, socks for diabetes and garments designed for men and women with sensitive skin. If you are really struggling to find a comfortable compression garment, don’t forget that customs are an option! Remember, sizing between brands is not universal. If you find that your measurements aren’t matching any of the size charts, try a different brand. Some collections run longer, some run shorter and others are smaller or larger. You can always give us a call at 877-545-8585 if you can’t find what you’re looking for or have sizing questions.

New TheraSport Athletic Socks – Review

Just so everyone is clear – I am a very reluctant runner and probably not a very good one, but I want to be better! I really like the idea of running. No special equipment needed, no extra travel time to the gym or studio, and no set schedule – you can go whenever you’re free and go for as long as you want. In reality, though, it’s a real mental struggle for me to force myself into my sneakers and out the door!

Last night was a perfect example of my typical running struggle. I was exhausted from a long week and hadn’t had a chance to get to the gym – so I knew I should go for a run. I also had a new pair of TheraSport socks I needed to test out and it was beautiful, sunny and relatively cool outside. After stalling for a while on the phone with my sister, I eventually got my gear on.These socks have a lot of stretch to them, so they’re easy to get on. Absolutely dreading the actual running part of running, I did a photo shoot first. They’re great looking socks!

TheraSport Run Sock TheraSport Running Sock

Than I told myself, if I just got to the National Cathedral – my favorite running destination – I’d let myself walk the rest of the way home (internal bargaining with myself is very effective). Off I went – and surprisingly, after about half a mile, I felt really great! Here’s why:

  1. I have a really high arch and often my feet start hurting during my runs because I don’t have enough support to this part of my foot. This sock has compression across the foot to provide support to the arch – I could feel it as soon as I put the sock on and my feet were comfortable the entire run.
  2. I wore the 20-30 mmHg compression socks which are designed for performance. My legs felt fresh and energized during the entire run with this compression level.
  3. The socks have ventilated areas to keep my legs cool, so I didn’t immediately overheat in the 80 degree DC weather. A lot of people struggle to wear knee high socks when they run in the summer – you won’t feel the heat in these.

I got to the National Cathedral and took the break that I promised myself and pictures to prove that I made it there.

TheraSport and National Cathedral

After resting for about 10 minutes, I still felt great, so I ran all the way home too. All in all, I did a total of 3.4 miles, which is pretty impressive for me (having let about 2 weeks go by since my last run). I was expecting to be sore this morning from overdoing it a bit, but I feel completely rested. I did keep the socks on for about an hour after my run to get the maximum recovery benefits. If you can resist the urge to jump in the shower right after you run – I definitely recommend it. Otherwise, shower and put a new pair of compression socks on so you can help your legs recover.

Check them out on our site – they’re available in 15-20 mmHg and 20-30 mmHg. They’re 10% off until Monday night with coupon code SPORT10.

Preview the Juzo Dream Colors for Fall/Winter 2015

Preview The New Juzo Dream Colors for Fall/Winter 2015!!

It’s that time again! With Fall right around the corner, we are welcoming warm socks, jeans and comfy jackets back into our wardrobes. Every six months, Juzo introduces a new set of Dream Colors available in their Juzo Soft and Naturally Sheer collections. As always, we have a sneak peek of the colors for this Fall and Winter!

juzo-dream-fall-winter-2015

Juzo Dream colors are available in solid colors, tie-dye, black tie-dye and sheer styles in knee highs, thigh highs, leggings, pantyhose, armsleeves and gauntlets in a variety of options to find the perfect garment for you. The Juzo Dream Collection is available in 15-20mmHg, 20-30mmHg and 30-40mmHg compression levels. All tie-dye garments are made to order, so no garment is alike.

A few of the popular Dream Colors from the Spring/Summer collection – Boho Berry, Mystic Waters and Pink – are featured again for this Fall and Winter. These colors are available in a large variety of styles and sizes. You can check them out below. If you want to order any of the 2015 Spring/Summer Dream Colors, make sure to do it before they sell out for good!

Juzo Dream Boho Berry, Pink and Mystic Waters

Check back soon for the revealing of the Fall/Winter 2015 Juzo Dream Collection!

SHOP THE JUZO DREAM COLLECTION

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