Once a year BrightLife Direct publishes our Buyer's Guide. The 2013 edition mailed the first week of January. More than a catalog, it's filled with information to help both long time wearers and first time buyers of compression hosiery find the products that will work best for them. There are detailed descriptions of each brand, and FAQ’s throughout that answer questions about Lymphedema treatment, Diabetes, and Compression Alternatives.
Our Buyer's Guide is used by hospitals and clinics all over the country to educate their patients about compression therapy, and make it easy for them to find the right garment.
This year we combined our Semi-Annual Allegro Buy-3-Get-1-Free Sale flyer with our Buyer's Guide. The Allegro sale is on right now, and ends Jan 27th. We've also added coupons inside the front cover, for brands like Jobst, Sigvaris, Therafirm, LympheDiva's and Curad. Valid at different times of the year, they can help you save hundreds on your compression therapy needs.
If you've never purchased from us and are not on our mailing list, you can request a Buyer's Guide here. If you would like to order bulk copies for a hospital or clinic, please email us at email@example.com. To view our Buyer's Guide online and save a little paper, click here.
In the world of lymphedema treatment, everyone knows JoVi Pak for their unique and high quality products. The company was started in 2000 by JoAnn Rovig. JoAnn is a breast cancer survivor and lymphedema patient, and was the first lymphedema therapist in the Pacific Northwest.
JoVi Pak (JVP) makes pads to fit any part of the body, filled with foam chips. When used under a compression garment or bandaging, the foam gently massages the tissue, moving lymph fluid and waste away from the affected area. JVP only uses foam made in the US that is free from toxic chemicals, which can be found in many other polyurethane foams. Outer fabrics are made by Polartec, so pads are extremely durable and can be machine washed and dried.
These same quality materials are used to make upper and lower extremity garments that can be worn at night, used as a bandage liner, or in combination with a JoVi Jacket that provides compression similar to short-stretch bandaging.
JVP also distributes the Bellisse Compressure Comfort Bra. This unique garment is used by mastectomy and lumpectomy patients to treat edema, lymphedema, and/or radiation fibrosis. It has built-in pockets designed to hold specialized pads that protect sensitive areas and gently break-up fibrotic tissue. Most of these pads can also be used in a sport or mastectomy bra.
Ribbed knee highs in 20-30mmHg are our biggest selling style of compression stockings. Today I'm comparing Juzo Basic Ribbed (size 2) with Mediven Patriot (size Medium). Both are from their respective manufacturer's economy line of stockings. Juzo Ribbed are $35.91 and Patriots are $43.18 per pair. Both can be machine washed and dried per the manufacturer.
The Juzo's are available in three colors, black, khaki, and white, and come in regular and short lengths. Medi Patriot comes in black and navy, regular length only.
Both socks feel the same out of the box, but the similarities end there. The foot on the Patriot fits perfectly. No annoying toe seam. There's a lot of extra room in the toe of the Juzo. I wear a 9.5 men's shoe, so someone with a larger foot would do better in the Juzo Basic. Around the heel area of the Patriot, a lot of skin shows through because the fabric is stretched. This is not the case with the Basic.
Pulling the stockings up, the Patriot has just enough length so the band is 2 finger widths below the crease of my knee, right where it should be. Like the foot, there's extra length in the Basic. After positioning the band, I need to smooth out some wrinkles with the palms of my hands.
Midday I need to pull the Medi up a little. They've slid down about an inch. The Juzos are just fine. That extra length in the leg kept them from getting tugged down.
It's the end of the day and I have a slight preference for the Patriot. The foot fit me better. Someone with a larger foot and/or longer leg would do better with the Juzo Basic. In taking them off, I notice that both have garment tags… a nice touch. The tag on the Juzo is traditional, and tacked to the inside of the sock. The tag on the Medi is embroidered into the top band. There's also a pink M embroidered on the foot. If you're like me, and have a pile of dark socks that all look the same on laundry day, any identifying mark is a very welcome sight.
The benefits of wearing compression stockings to minimize the risk of blood clots (deep vein thrombosis), on long-haul flights is well known. The advantages of Travel Socks doesn't stop there. I take my shoes off when I fly long distances. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to get your shoes back on before landing? That is a direct result of swelling in your feet and lower legs from just a few hours on a plane. Not a problem if you are wearing compression stockings. Travel Socks also alleviate some of the aches and strains that you may experience in your legs and thighs due to lack of movement.
Just by wearing socks with a moderate 15-20mmHg graduated compression, you are assisting your circulatory system in a significant way. I emphasize "graduated", meaning the sock is specifically woven with more compression at the ankle and gradually less pressure as it goes up the leg. Otherwise, you're just being squeezed, which is uncomfortable and probably does more harm than good.
There are a lot of "cheap" travel socks on the market, but BrightLife Direct only sells travel socks from manufacturers producing medically-correct garments. I'll suggest two styles that are both highly rated by fellow travelers. The “Jig” is woven with 82% cotton to ensure softness and good temperature control. The “Jazz” appears a bit more dressy because it is composed of 85% moisture-wicking microfiber on the exterior for a handsome ribbed look but the interior is lined with cotton for a fresh and soft feel.
If you prefer a fabric other than cotton, we have many other styles to choose from. Just remember, on long haul flights or whenever sitting for more than 3-4 hours at a time, wear your travel socks.
Some people just can NOT wear compression hosiery. Whether it is due to difficulty putting them on because of limited hand strength, difficulty bending, a limb that fluctuates in size, an open ulcer, fragile skin or the need for 24 hour compression. All of these conditions can make it impossible to wear a conventional compression stocking. With CircAid Juxta-Fit or Juxta-Lite alternative compression garments, almost anyone can don and wear a garment with up to 40-50mmHg. The Juxta system eliminates all of those problems.
It comes with 3 parts.
- There's a soft terry liner. This doesn't have to be worn, but it really is comfortable, and it protects the Breath-O-Prene wrap from dirt and oils on your skin.
- The wrap itself, which has instantly adjustable Velcro straps. Each strap has a marking so you'll know exactly how tight or loose to make the garment. Using these markings and the included Pressure System guide card you can easily set the compression from less than 20mmHg to 50mmHg.
- Compression anklets. These provide compression across the top of the foot, so the swelling isn't pushed into the foot.
That's all there is to it. Because Juxta garments use dynamic compression, that is, they only provide resistance when your muscles push against them, they can be worn 24 hours a day if necessary. For lymphedema patients in the decongestive phase of their therapy, Juxta can provide a huge cost savings because it may not be necessary to buy a nighttime garment. The same Juxta wrap can be used on a the same limb even when if it increases in size by 5% or decreases by 20%. With traditional compression stockings, you would need to purchase several different sizes.
Juxta is available in 3 levels, Lite, Essentials, and Premium. All three work the same way, but the more expensive have a longer lifespan and warranty.
Juxta wraps can be machine washed, and dried if necessary. Air drying is preferred and will give your garment a longer life.
If you or someone you care about has been told they need to wear compression, but can’t tolerate traditional compression stockings, consider Juxta-Fit.
The International Diabetes Federation updated their global diabetes statistics yesterday, and estimates there are now 371 million people worldwide with diabetes. That number is expected to grow to 552 million by 2030.
Diabetes is caused by high glucose levels in our blood. Glucose is a sugar that our body makes from the food we eat, and it's used by the cells in our body for energy. To control glucose levels, the pancreas makes a hormone called insulin. When our body doesn't make enough insulin or use it properly, we develop diabetes.
There are different types of diabetes, with Type 2 being the most common, accounting for 90-95% of diagnosed cases. Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include age, obesity, family history of the disease, physical inactivity, race and ethnicity.
In the US, complications from diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic limb amputations, and new cases of blindness. We treat many patients with foot and leg problems resulting from diabetes. Damage to the vascular system is a common side effect of diabetes, resulting in poor blood circulation which in turn can create a host of new problems such as severe swelling, neuropathy (painful tingling and numbness in the extremities) and ulcers that just won't heal. As mentioned above, lower limb amputation is not uncommon for people with advanced stages of the disease. If treated early enough many of these problems can be avoided. Talk to you doctor about ways to keep your legs and feet healthy. This may include the preventive benefits of diabetic socks which are often seamless to avoid irritation, made with extra padding in the foot, and in some cases may include mild levels of compression.
Learn how to reduce your risk for developing Type 2 diabetes with help from the CDC.
BrightLife often features medical compression products that trend toward the new and colorful. Today we are going back to basics. The Plus line from mediven. (mediven corporate policy requires that the "m" should be lower case.) Crazy, huh? We just want you to know that our proofreader isn’t asleep. medi Plus is anything but new or colorful. In fact, it is only available in beige. This stocking has been the benchmark product from medi for many years. The fabric, which never changes, is woven from 69% Polymid and a very high 31% of Elasthan. We would normally call these fibers Nylon and Spandex, however, since they are superior and more expensive versions, we'll use the fancy names. The high percentage of Elasthan (spandex) makes putting on these garments much easier than those with a lower spandex percentage. mediven Plus is opaque, you can't see through it. On a thickness scale of 1 to 5, we rate it at 3.5, which means it's not too thick, not too thin, and can be worn by both men and women. What you get with Plus is an incredibly durable stocking, that is comfortable, and works.
In Plus, medi has found the perfect balance between elasticity for comfort and easy donning, and stiffness for containment. This is a stocking that's designed for people who should wear stockings daily because of more serious venous issues. For example, individuals who have had a venous stasis ulcer, or a DVT and have been told to wear compression to prevent recurrence. Also for people with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), or lymphedema.
Another reason for the great success of Plus is the sizing system. Every stocking is available in 14 sizes. And there are many other options available, many that are usually available in only custom stockings. Wide-calf sizes for thick legs. Beaded silicone bands on knee highs for people with cone shaped legs. Leotards for men with a built-in fly, chap style thigh highs, and of course open or closed toes. The open toe models have more options available than those with a closed toe.
We've heard rumors for several years that medi is planning to update the Plus line. The packaging could definitely use a facelift, and would it be that difficult to add a color or two? If medi does change the stockings… the bar has been set very high. Plus stockings average a 98% positive approval rating on our website, and that's with 10-30 reviews per style. No other high compression line of stockings is so universally praised.
To our customers who are in tip-top physical shape and get plenty of exercise, this blog is NOT for you.
For everyone else, I have some good news. Lower your ambitions! If you tell yourself you should be going to the gym, swimming, or jumping on a treadmill, but just can’t seem to make that happen, stop fretting. Feeling self-defeated or stuck in a rut may be precisely what’s holding you back. Go outside and take a walk! Walking around the neighborhood, or anywhere, for thirty minutes a day can provide almost all of the same health benefits as a rigorous workout. Walking relieves stress, improves blood pressure, strengthens bones and lowers your risk of heart disease. If you are suffering from just about any form of venous insufficiency, walking is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Here are a few tricks that may help you get started.
Get a pedometer. Just wear the pedometer around the house or at work on a normal day to get a sense of how much ground you are already covering. Then add a refreshing outdoor walk as a booster. Maybe just 15 minutes around the block to start. The Annals of Family Medicine reports that adults who wore step-counting devices increased their step count just because they were paying attention. In this study, people with pedometers on average add 50 minutes of walking per week as compared to a control group that was given the same “walking” prescription, but not a pedometer. They averaged only 28 extra minutes per week. Competing with yourself on something as simple as a walk may be all that you need to get going.
At BrightLife Direct we have begun to take some of our management meetings to the pavement. Walking seems to stimulate the brain enough that when two or three of us “go out” for a meeting, creative ideas and out-of-the-box thinking come a little more easily, plus it’s a lot more fun. Give it a try!
Compression stockings are available in a wide variety of fabrics. Nylon sheers, cotton blends, opaques, surgical weight and ribbed to name a few. And each fabric type is available in a range of compressions. Does a 20-30mmHg stocking in a sheer fabric provide the same compression as an equally rated stocking in a heavier, thicker fabric? The answer is yes and no.
Consider the difference of wearing a pair of tights, and a pair of tight or "skinny" blue jeans. The tights conform to your shape. Bumps and bulges don't change much. Now put on the jeans. Those same bumps and bulges are smoothed out because the fabric doesn't give. It provides more resistance than the soft elastic tights.
The same general principle works with compression hosiery. Both stockings may be rated as providing 20-30mmHg of compression, but the heavier thicker fabrics will offer more resistance for your muscles to work against, and that resistance is what makes compression stockings work.
Does this mean everyone should wear thick, heavy compression stockings? Absolutely not. If your doctor or therapist prescribes a compression level for you, any fabric type with that compression rating should be just fine. However, for many people with edema, whether venous or lymphatic, the disease is often progressive and gets worse as we age. For these individuals who find that the sheer 20-30mmHg stockings that have been working for years aren't giving quite enough support, consider trying a heavier fabric at the same compression level, rather than going up a level in compression.
Juzo Fall 2012 Dream Colors have been released. This seasons colors are bright and bold. Juzo has kept two Summer colors, Pink and Violet. To these they have added Pistachio, Magenta, Indigo, Graphite and Gold.
Dream colors are available in the entire line of Juzo Soft compression stockings, leggings, armsleeves and gauntlets. All of these garments are also available as real Tie-Dye, not printed, using the dream colors with either a white accent or black background.