This post is about a rare disease that is often missed by doctors called Addison’s disease. To join the awareness raising International Rare Disease Day (28 February) and as part of a new “Living With” series this blog will be looking at individual diseases. They will then be given a special in-depth review. Below is a new video we have created, using a recent Healthcheck Radio 4 interview. It features an interview and a new book by Carol McKay and useful information about Addison’s Disease.
There is a full transcript of the interview at the bottom of the page.
Addison’s Disease is a rare autoimmune condition that effects only 4 in every 10,000 people. There are currently around 8000 people in the UK who suffer from Addison’s Disease. Thanks to modern drugs, the condition is easier to deal with.
The main issue with Addison’s Disease is diagnosing it quickly. Unfortunately many people can go for years without a diagnosis. Symptoms often have to become very severe before it is identified by a Doctor.
Addison’s Disease Symptoms
Many people who are diagnosed with Addison’s Disease often complain of feeling unwell for many years before diagnosis.
Some of the signs of the disease can be like many ordinary problems of a busy modern life or much less dangerous illnesses. People find themselves being misdiagnosed.
At first a feeling of tiredness and weakness is the most obvious sign of the illness. With the hectic lifestyles people have nowadays it is easy to ignore these symptoms as just a part of everyday life.
However for some the tiredness can become overwhelming. So much so that it can negatively effect the way they lead their lives. This can impact upon their ability to go about everyday tasks.
Addison’s Disease can cause a “tanned” look to skin.
Another commonly misdiagnosed symptom on Addison’s Disease is a lack of appetite. With the hustle-bustle of modern living it is easy to skip lunch or not find the time to eat a meal in the evening. However with Addison’s Disease people suffer a distinct lack of appetite that can cause severe weight loss. They also find they crave salty snacks and foods and often add extra salt to dishes at meal times.
Addison’s Disease can also cause changes in the pigmentation of the skin. This is seen as darker patches of skin in various areas of the body.
Below is a list of the most common symptoms of Addison’s Disease:
Fatigue – feeling unmotivated and lacking energy
Lethargy – feeling sleepy and almost drowsy
Lack of appetite – leading to weight-loss
Low mood – feeling irritable and mildly depressed
Muscle weakness – lacking strength and energy
Changes in diet – craving salty foods and an increased thirst – leading to needing to urinate more often
Low blood sugar
Low blood pressure
More information about symptoms can be found on the NHS website.
Addison’s Disease Treatments
Keeping up-to-date with medication is vital for keeping the Addison’s Disease under control.
The rarity of this disease can make it difficult for doctors to diagnose Addison’s straight away. However once a diagnosis is in place treatment is relatively simple and straightforward.
The main treatment for Addison’s Disease is to replace lost hormones. This is usually given in the form of corticosteroid. This is a steroid therapy which will have to be continued for life. The steroid is usually taken twice a day in tablet form. Once the diagnosis and treatment is in place many find their symptoms disappear completely. This allows those with Addison’s Disease to carry on a healthy and normal life.
Medical bracelets are an everyday essential for piece of mind.
Even though the treatment of Addison’s Disease is simple, it is important that you continue to take your medication as directed. Finding yourself in a situation where you can not access your medication can be very serious. That is why it is important that you carry your medication with you everywhere. It is a good idea to pack extra tablets if you are going on holiday and to keep them safe in your hand luggage.
Some home remedies can provide comfort and relief to muscle pain caused by Addison’s. Keeping to a healthy diet is always recommended for good health, and even more so with Addison’s Disease. Ensuring you stick to your five a day can boost energy levels. Also drinking plenty of water can go some way to stop the feeling of tiredness and lethargy.
It has been noted that massage can help the muscular and joint pain cause by Addison’s Disease. It is best to avoid massages that are intense or involve stretching. However more gentle massage techniques can prove helpful. Taking the time to visit a specialist in massage for muscular conditions may not only help to relieve pain, but also help you to de-stress.
Licorice that contains licorice root has the ingredient glycyrrhizinic acid in it that may help in Addison’s disease because it can lower potassium, increase blood pressure, and boost mineral corticoid levels. Not all licorice-type sweets contain licorice root extract or glycyrrhizinic acid and so do not work in the same way. There are over-the-counter preparations of licorice root extract available in the form of lozenges or in tea.
Licorice may help the steroid Cortisone to work
Anything that stops the body breaking down Cortisone, the main treatment for Addison’s disease can help. Glycyrrhizinic acid from licorice has been found by researchers to do this. It has long been a herbal remedy for the disease. Research has found it inhibits an enzyme responsible for inactivating cortisol in the kidney. Eating licorice makes the cortisol in the blood last for longer. A review in “Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology” describes a case study in which licorice had an “excellent” and prolonged effect in Addison’s disease and argued that licorice therapy should be used in the treatment of this disease. Researchers also found grapefruit can have a beneficial effect.
Living with Addison’s Disease before diagnosis can be life-threatening and life-changing. However once a diagnosis is in place many people feel they can finally continue on with their life as normal.
The most important aspect of managing Addison’s Disease is ensuring the correct medication is taken daily. Keeping on top of your condition and the dosage of medication is also very important. Although the initial dosage prescribed can solve most symptoms straight away, over time this may change.
That is why it is important that those with Addison’s Disease make regular visits to their GP for check-ups. As Addison’s is an auto-immune disease, it can lead to the development of related conditions such as hypothyroidism and diabetes.
More information on living with Addison’s Disease can be found here.
Carol McKay’s new e-book compiles stories of Addison’s Disease patients from around the world.
In Carol McKay’s new e-book entitled “Second Chances: True Stories of Living with Addison’s Disease“, she compiles the stories of Addison’s Disease sufferers from around the world.
Most notably is the account of Hilary Richardson – a Canadian-born Addison’s sufferer who was only 10 years old when she was diagnosed back in 1955.
At this time, it was almost impossible to obtain the necessary hormone replacement therapy in tablet form. Instead, her father would have to purchase powdered pigs’ glands for her to take to keep her condition stable.
Thankfully due to modern science, hormone replacement therapy is now cost effective and available in tablet form.
Addison’s Disease in Dogs
Lastly, Addison’s Disease can also effect dogs. The disease causes very similar symptoms as it does with humans. Weakness, vomiting and lack of appetite are usually the symptoms that dog owners notice first. However, it can be even harder to detect in canines than in humans. Addison’s in dogs can go undiagnosed for many years, only being discovered once the dog is in very poor health.
If the disease is discovered early enough, it can be treated with steroids however it is best for the dog to avoid stressful situations to stop further flare-ups.
Carol McKay True Stories of Living with Addison’s Disease.
As mentioned in the video, a new book has been compiled with many real life stories about people with the disease. It has been reviewed on Amazon:
Reviews of Carol McKay’s new e-book:
This book was recommended on the Addison self-help web site. The true stories of fellow sufferers is fascinating and eye opening in to the good and bad side of the medical profession and how we as sufferers of this disease cope day-to-day.
I read this whilst still in hospital coming to terms with my diagnosis. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough, well worth a read early on – MissLean
To find out more about Addison’s Disease and support groups we recommend visiting Carol McKay’s Facebook and Blog. If you can suggest other useful groups, blogs or resources lease leave a comment in the box below. If you lke to help us create another post about an illness that you would like to help raise awareness of, please get in touch.
Transcript of Radio 4 Interview
00:00 Claudia Hammond: Hello, I’m Claudia Hammond and this is Health Check from the BBC. On today’s program, a rare condition which often isn’t diagnosed until it’s an emergency.
00:09 Carol McKay: Because it’s quite a rare disease, doctors don’t have it at the forefront of their mind when they are checking you and they think you’re all right, and then suddenly, you have a catastrophic collapse, your blood pressure is low, blood sugar is low. And you become very, very seriously ill.
00:25 CH: We hear experiences of Addison’s disease from around the world. When you go to your family doctor to find out what’s wrong with you, they’ll listen to your symptoms, examine you and then order any test they might need. But some conditions, especially when they are rare, are harder to diagnose than others. And with Addison’s disease, which only affects four in every 10,000 people, many don’t discover they’ve got it until it’s an emergency. It’s an autoimmune disease that disrupts the production of hormones by the adrenal glands and although the condition is life long, it is treatable with steroids. When Carol McKay was faced with the condition, she used social networking to find out how other people managed. The result is a an ebook called “Second Chances”, where patients from Belgium to South Africa and Australia to Canada recount their stories of living with Addison’s disease. When I spoke to Carol, she told me how she eventually realized what was the matter with her.
01:21 CM: I knew I had been not well for about a year. I felt anaemic, I had no energy. I was carrying on with my life, but I just had no energy. I went to the doctor to get checked to see if I had anemia or something else, and they did a few blood test and didn’t pick anything up. They were looking for thyroid and other things like that, because if you have one autoimmune disease, you are more likely to have another one. And I have Celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disease. So, they were looking for things, but didn’t see them. And then, a few months later, I was checked for my blood pressure and it was surprisingly low, but not dangerously low at that stage. So, again it didn’t ring any bells with the doctor. And then one weekend, I got a tummy bug, and my body just couldn’t come back from that and I was losing feeling in my arms and legs and in my lower jaw. And I was taken to hospital and fortunately, the medical stuff there recognized it and I was treated very quickly. It’s a very simple disease to treat because it’s like thyroid, you need replacement hormones.
02:26 CH: And looking at some of the experiences that people recount in your book, they do seem to be often, almost quite close to death by the time they get to diagnosis or certainly very seriously ill and… I was struck by the story of Jasmine, who is from the UK, and she was diagnosed just 12 days after her second baby being born, which must have been an appalling situation.
02:48 CM: Yeah, she’s wonderful. And her story is scary, but it’s actually really uplifting because… Well, she had suffered terribly. It was her second pregnancy. She knew what to expect in her pregnancy. But this one was really bad, she just felt really awful. And then after the baby was born, she was still really, really exhausted, more tired than she thought she should have been. But what’s uplifting about Jasmine’s story is that her doctor thought about her after she had been to see her, and actually turned up at her door and said, “Look, we’re really concerned. I’ve looked at your blood results. Please go to the hospital tomorrow morning and get checked out.” And then an hour later, she actually phoned, the doctor was on her way home, and she had suddenly realized. The Addison’s light bulb came onto her head, and she thought, “Oh, that’s what it is.” And that’s what saved Jasmine’s life.
03:39 CH: So, she was lucky that she had such a good doctor…
03:40 CM: She was…
03:41 CH: She suddenly made that connection and guessed what it was.
03:43 CM: She was very lucky.
03:45 CH: What made you want to collect together all these stories and publish them as an ebook?
03:51 CM: Well, I was very shocked by having my own diagnosis, because it’s quite rare. I needed to hear how other people had coped with it. So, I joined the Addison’s Disease self-help group, which is a charity in the UK and I found a lot of support from them. I also found support from Facebook. I’m a writer and I teach creative writing, and therefore, I wanted the whole story. I liked to hear what led up to it, how had they coped with the diagnosis and how they had a normal life afterwards? So, I set about to compile, I got 16, including my own, 16 stories. And they came from the States, Canada, Belgium, the UK, South Africa, Australia, South Korea. And I was really, really pleased to hear all these different stories. Everybody’s different, but they all, as you said, most of them were very close to death. It helped me, reading them, and I hope it helps other Addison’s sufferers, but it also raises awareness, and that’s really important to me.
04:53 CH: One of the stories is from Hilary, and she lives in Canada and was diagnosed right back in 1955, and she was only 10 years old.
05:03 Speaker 3: For some time, I had been adding teaspoonfuls of salt to every meal. I also ate very meagrely. Not only was I scrawny, but winter or summer, my skin was a dark color which looked odd with my fair hair. “Your elbows and knees are still dirty, you haven’t scrubbed them well enough,” my mother would complain. Little did she realize that the dark skin, the craving for salt, and the reluctance to eat were all symptoms of Addison’s disease. I was often ill and had missed a lot of school. My doctor thought a routine tonsillectomy might help, but I didn’t come around from the anaesthetic. It was after dark on Tuesday evening, when an internal medicine specialist climbed the grey limestone steps of the hospital. I’d been in a coma for more than three days, and had not moved nor opened my eyes since my operation. The specialist hooked up an IV containing a different substance to see what would happen. This is how I obtained my diagnosis.
05:58 S3: In 1949, Cortisone in pill form was produced commercially. But in 1955, in our small town in Canada, we couldn’t get these tablets. Treatment for me was desiccated pig’s adrenals. Every week, my father and I would go to the home of a man who had obtained the adrenals from a slaughter house. We carried the precious brownish grey powder home. The quality of the material varied week to week. Sometimes it worked very well and sometimes hardly at all. Luckily, within a year, my father was able to obtain hydrocortisone pills on a trip to the US. And before long, pills became available in Canada as well and my treatment now seemed very easy.
06:37 CH: So, quite a dramatic start for Hilary there in finding out that she got the disease and what happened to her.
06:44 CM: Yes. She was lucky. And if she’d been born 10 years earlier, she would probably have died. People still do die nowadays, even in the developed nations, they still die from it because it’s not picked up in time. And I’m sure there must be people all around the world who don’t have access to modern medicine easily who still suffer from it, but the pills themselves are fairly inexpensive.
07:07 CH: So, it’s more about the awareness of the disease than the pills themselves and access to those.
07:10 CM: Exactly. Yes.
07:11 CH: It’s that people have gotta get that diagnosis somehow.
07:14 S3: Yes.
07:15 CH: And what impact has it had on you life now that it is well controlled for you?
07:20 CM: It’s well controlled, but I still don’t have a lot of energy. For example, to come to this interview today, I had to take an increased dose of my medicine to cope with the stress.
07:30 CH: Really? That’s quite interesting.
07:32 CM: Yeah.
07:32 CH: So, you’ve got to plan in advance when you think you’re gonna be stressed, which…
07:35 CM: Yes.
07:35 CH: You can do if it’s an interview ’cause that’s arranged in advance. But everyday life’s not quite like that, is it?
07:40 CM: No. Because even a simple bump in a car, not even a serious bump, but something like that can cause the body to go into shock.
07:49 CH: And then what would happen to you? So if you hadn’t touched your dose today and were then feeling anxious, what would happen?
07:54 CM: It would affect my blood pressure and my blood sugar and I would start to get weak and collapse. In a more serious case, if I fell and broke my ankle, for example…
08:03 CH: Yeah.
08:04 CM: Then, I carry an emergency injection kit, so I have to give myself an intramuscular injection, to give myself a large dose, so that I don’t just fade away and die, really.
08:15 CH: Carol McKay and the latest version of her ebook of stories, “Second Chances”, is out this week. Next week I’ll be in Norway for the BBC and so Dr. Kevin Fong will be here…
Having to bend to tie shoe laces can cause pain and difficulty
Tying shoelaces can be a daily struggle for many people. Having to bend and stretch can be uncomfortable and cause pain, whilst also taking an inconvenient amount of time to do so. However, there are gadgets and types of shoe laces to help you avoid this. Elasticated and stretchy laces are the best known solutions, they help you transform your everyday lace-up shoes into slip-ons, to provide comfort and ease of use. How do they work and what are the alternatives?
How Do Elastic Laces for Shoes Work?
The stretch lace fabric of these shoe laces are threaded and tied in exactly the same way as ordinary laces. However, the elasticated fabric provides tension once tied, and it it this that makes sure your shoes remain tight and secure whilst wearing them.
When using elastic shoelaces, you only ever have to tie your shoelaces once the first time you apply them. After this your lace-ups work as slip-ons, permanently removing the need for you to bend and stretch. Eventually they may still come undone though.
Greeper Shoe Laces for Disability
Average elasticated shoe laces can easily break
There are many simplified versions of the elastic shoe lace on the market, most of which offer a temporary solution to the problem.
Cheaper elastic laces can lose their stretch over a short amount of time. Most importantly elastic laces often come undone whilst you’re wearing your shoes. This can make shoes uncomfortable and give you a less secure feeling whilst being worn as well as being a trip hazard!
This is why Greeper have designed an innovative and inclusive alternative to elastic shoe laces. Greepers are designed using high quality traditional polyester laces but have a simple fitting system that provides toggle that prevent the laces ever coming undone “Once applied, always tied”.
Greeper laces are ultimately more durable and comfortable than elastic shoe laces, they give better support as they use traditional laces that do not stretch.
After the initial application, Greeper shoelaces are forever tied. Unlike elasticated laces Greeper shoe laces do not rely on the tension of elastic to keep the shoes fastened. Instead an ingenious toggle system allows you to tighten or loosen the laces quickly and easily, whilst giving you piece of mind that they will always stay fastened.
Greeper Easy Fasten Shoelaces Vs Elasticated Shoe Laces
Reviewers the world over have made comparisons between elasticated laces and the innovative design of the Greeper shoelace. “220 Triathlon” magazine recently voted the Greeper Lace as “editors choice” and many world-renowned athletes champion the Greeper lace over other elasticated brands. It’s fair to say that when elasticated laces are pitted-against Greeper Laces, Greeper “out-run” the competition every time!
The benefits of Greeper laces vs elasticated shoe laces:
Greeper Laces never come undone – ensuring complete shoe support and comfort, reducing the risk of injury, increasing performance.
Quick and easy to fasten – Simple toggle system allows you to loosen and tighten your shoes in seconds, without ever untying your laces.
Fully adjustable – Eliminates overly-long lace loops, provides the ultimate fit and promotes foot health, especially for sports.
Polyester laces – Elastic shoe laces can become weak and break whilst running – the use of traditional-style polyester laces removes the fear of laces ever breaking or loosing tension.
Much better support to the foot. The laces themselves do not stretch, therefore the shoe supports the foot much better than laces where the laces are stretching during movement.
Time-saving Sports Laces
Caroline Steffan – ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championship title-holder, wearing Greeper Laces.
One of the other pros of Greeper Laces is the time-saving aspect. Greeper Laces benefit from allowing you to quick-tighten your laces. If you are the sporting type, enjoying competitive sport – Greeper Laces can knock much needed seconds off you run-time.
The lace lock system allows super-swift lace tightening and the secure fitting provides security throughout your run.
This eliminates the need to stop-start to fix loose laces, and stops extra foot movement that often happens using elastic laces.
Once you have set up your Greeper Laces properly, they will help to shave those precious pit-stop seconds off your run time.
We’ve found a review on amazon by a customer who purchased Greeper Laces for her sports-loving husband:
Bought these for my hubby as he is a keen triathlon competitor. Just what he required to save himself a few valuable seconds… Thank you.
Greeper Always Tied Shoelaces Used by Everyone
Although championed by professional athletes and amateur sports fans alike, Greeper laces are an affordable inclusive design that can be used by anyone.
The bright colours and design of the Flats range of Greeper Laces are ideal for children’s shoes
Greeper laces come in a number of different styles and colours. The “Sports” design being perfect for all types of athletic sport-shoe and the “Hikers” design ideal for more outdoor-style footwear and activities.
The designers at Greeper understand the need for an everyday, easy to apply lace for everyone, including people with impairments or disability. That is why they have produced a number of non-sport styles to assist those who simply need a lace solution for work or school.
The “Execs” and “Flats” ranges are the ultimate in inclusive design. These can be worn with smart dress-shoes, school shoes or trainers, yet still providing the same comfort and security of the more athletic designs.
Stay Tied Laces For Children
Many parents find the white and black sports or exec laces ideal for children at school. It removes the need for children to retie their laces or the danger of the shoes coming off or even being taken off (!) by children with disabilities or behavioural problems. Like this recent feedback from Amazon: “bought these for my son who has autism and struggles to tie laces and they are perfect as he can do them on his own making him as independant as possible.”
Trendy Mobility Aids: Sticks, Canes And Crutches For The Discerning Disabled
It can be really hard to find stylish mobility aids. It’s a real shame that so little attention is paid to making crutches and walking sticks that are a little bit more trendy. After all, these are pieces of equipment that people have to use all the time. They shouldn’t be stuck with something dull, clunky, noisy and grey.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some of the more trendy mobility aids that we have found:
These canes look really cool! They’re beautifully designed and look really vibrant and stylish. They come in a variety of colours and are apparently built to last a lifetime. They weigh 14 ounces and can support up to 300 pounds.
They’re made from a high-strength bicycle-grade aluminum shaft with a hooked birch wood handle. The handle widens in the right places and has a build in rubber strip to make it more comfortable and practical to hold. The shape of the handle also means that the user holds it directly above the tip which means they have increased stability.
The standard Omhu Cane costs £79 plus shipping costs. They come in three sizes depending on the height of the user.
Cool Coloured Canes
As well as their standard cane, Omhu have created the Tuxedo – an all black version of their walking cane due to popular demand for a more formal mobility aid. It comes in luxury packaging and the birch handle is stained to make it darker and richer. According to their website: “It is the criminally gorgeous and brooding hero. It is the reflection of a love affair.” This might be a slight overstatement but, whether you agree with that or not, you have to agree it does look very good.
The final form of Omhu cane is their sports cane which is ostensibly for taking out on hikes and walks. The design is largely the same but with a matte finish rather than the brighter effect of the standard model.
It’s a fair bit lighter, weighing 9.5 oz. and has a reflective logo, for walking at night. The handle is foam rather than birch wood which makes it more suitable for providing a secure hold on long walks but also makes it a little cheaper (£39.99 plus shipping). It’s not quite as stylish as the standard cane but it is perhaps a little more practical for some people.
All the Omhu canes look fantastic!
Omhu Sport Cane – £39.99
All the Omhu canes look fantastic and are really creatively designed. It shows that you can do interesting things when designing walking sticks!
Arbin Crutches are great because they are so compact. They’re retractable, so when you are using them they can put aside taking up very little space. It removes the usual problem of your crutches getting in the way and making a unattractive mess, when they aren’t being used. These crutch’s handles slide down from the cuff and up the bottom slides up from the foot of the crutch to the small size of only 67 centimetres. Once folded in it can also be stood up on the handle making it easier to reach as well as being less noticeable. It’s really practical and stylish too!
Arbin crutches also look good when they are at their full height. They’re sleek and cool and they come in bronze or grey. They’re available in the UK at Chic Aid Crutches costing £184 including postage, packaging and VAT.
These mobility aids have been described as “the Ferrari of crutches”. Ossenberg’s ‘stealth crutches’ are German designed, so you expect efficiency and they don’t let you down. The arm cuff is one of the most comfortable and well designed on the market. These mobility aids are ultralight, slim and comfortable helping to make their users feel less conscious their disability. They’re really sleek and stylish.
Ossenberg crutches are sold in the UK through The German Crutch Company. They have a variety of different designs with open and closed cuffs, different grips and a selection of different colours. The German Crutch Company has a range of closed cuff colours that are exclusively sold in the UK. This model costs £49.95 for a pair or £25 each (plus postage). Apparently the most popular colour is the blackberry one below.
Pink and Purple Ossenberg Crutches are available
Closed Cuff Colours Exclusive To The UK – £25
Closed Cuff Crutch
On top of these great crutches, Arbin have also designed a carbon fibre folding crutch. This looks really cool and can become small and portable. It hasn’t yet been released in the UK but we are led to believe it should become available reasonably soon.
Lightweight and folding the Ossenberg Carbon Fibre Crutch
Folding Carbon Fibre Crutch – Very Stylish, Easy To Store
If you like bling and want to make a bit of a statement with your mobility aids then Glam Sticks is the place to go. In 2011 they were named Mobility Product of the Year. They take no prisoners with their designs – covering the sticks in diamante and sparkles – making everything extravagant and shiny. Glam Sticks look to provide glitz and glamour to go along with your style. They’re particularly good fun for evenings out, providing a bit of glamour to go along with your outfit.
Glam Sticks Kaleidoscope Crutch
Kaleidescope Crutch – £57.99
Glam Sticks come in a variety of models and designs with varying prices. The amount you pay is essentially based on how ostentatious you want your stick to be or how much bling you want on your crutches. A fairly basic, but stylish, crutch costs just over £3o. At the top end you can get a Swarovski encrusted walking cane – the ultimate decadent walking stick – for £224.99.
Swarovski Walking Stick – £224.99
Glam Sticks have picked up something of a following amongst injured celebrities, adding to their reputation for providing glitz and glamour. For instance, when Jessie J broke her leg last year, she wore a pair of Glam Sticks to the MTV Awards, giving her the required bling to accompany her style. These aids are great for providing a bit of luxury and sparkle, especially for a night out.
Cool Crutches offer people a range of crutches with fun, patterned designs. They also have a washable, removable neoprene squidgy grip which moulds to left and right hands and makes walking a lot more comfortable. They are possibly not quite as light and sleek as some of the other crutches we’ve featured but they are fun, colourful and, well, cool!
@trabasackI have black Cool Crutches.. whoever engineered thosewas afreakin genius!
This range offers a good range of block colours which liven up the crutches without becoming too garish. This might be preferable to people who don’t want to make quite as much of a statement, with their crutches, as someone who’d go for a Glam Stick, for instance, but who want to add a splash of colour to them.
You can chose from a variety of main and secondary colours to accompany the black handle. This is good because it means you can design your own crutches to be as bright as you want.
They’re available at Chic Crutches and cost £34.99 (plus VAT and shipping)
Mobilegs have created an interesting new design of crutch, using a ‘saddle’ instead of a the normal cuff at the crutch’s top. This is supposed to improve mobility, flexibility and comfort for users. They say that since it is so radically different, from traditional crutches, it can’t even be called a crutch but has been named a ‘mobi’.
Mobilegs are intelligently designed to help the user and really are quite different. They look a lot better than many traditional crutches too – certainly a lot sleeker, slimmer and less drab than NHS crutches. It’s also possible to get a ‘mobiskin’ to cover the shaft with a more distinct design.
The problem (and it’s quite a big one) is that Mobilegs are currently not available in the UK. When we got in touch with them they told us that they are still a relatively small start up company so they can only cater to the US market. However, since there might be ways around this, especially if you buy them online, we thought they were worth including. They cost $129 plus the (possibly substantial) cost of postage and shipping. We will keep you up to date should there be any change regarding UK distribution. Hopefully there will be soon!
The Mobilegs Crutch looks unique!
So that’s the end of our list of trendy mobility aids. We’ve had a variety of styles, designs and prices in there. From Omhu to Glam Sticks – hopefully there should be something for everyone in there!
If you know of any other trendy mobility aids on the market please get in touch with BlueBadgeStyle or leave a comment below
There are many reasons you could need a toilet aid. Urinary incontinence is a problem which effects 200 million people worldwide and a large number of these are women. UI can have serious social, sexual and professional consequences which make it a particularly embarrassing problem which many people find hard to deal with. There are a range of female toilet aids on the market designed to help with the problem. This video shows one woman dealing with her problem publicly on the Embarassing Bodies television programme. It also has some interesting facts and figures about the problem.
There are a range of female toilet aids designed to make it easier to handle with an incontinence problem.
Different Types of Urinary Incontinence
There are two main types of urinary incontinence: stress incontinence and urge incontinence. The NHS describes them thus:
stress incontinence – when the pelvic floor muscles are too weak to prevent urination, causing urine to leak when your bladder is under pressure, for example when you cough or laugh
urge incontinence – when urine leaks as you feel an intense urge to pass urine, or soon afterwards
There are many causes of this problem and in woman it can often be due to pregnancy and vaginal birth as well as ageing. Other causes include overweightness and obesity as well as a family history of the problem. It can be an extremely embarrassing thing to live with but there are methods and products designed to make the condition less debilitating and embarrassing.
According to the National Association for Continence one third of men ages 30-70 have experienced loss of bladder control at least once and the symptoms can be long lasting. What’s more many men and women wake in the night with the urge to urinate and a percentage admits to losing urine on the way to the bathroom. A toilet aid can be a sensible way of handling this embarrassing issue.
Female Toilet Aids for Everyone
You could have many reasons for needing a female toilet aid and it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re living with incontinence. Post-pregnancy and often after bariatric operations there’s a need to use a catheter and once it is removed there can often be a short-term problem getting used to passing urine again. Female toilet aids provide a solution to this short-term problem.
Illnesses that cause Urinary Incontinence
There are many different conditions which can lead to long-term incontinence; in fact it isn’t considered a disease in its own right as it’s usually a symptom of something else.
The NHS provide a list of the main causes of stress incontinence:
nerve damage during childbirth
increased pressure on your tummy, for example because you are pregnant or very overweight
a lack of the hormone oestrogen in women (less oestrogen is produced after the menopause)
They do the same for the causes of urge incontinence:
neurological conditions, which affect the brain and spinal cord, such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis
conditions affecting the lower urinary tract (urethra and bladder), such as urinary tract infections (UTIs) or tumours in the bladder
drinking too much alcohol or caffeine
Living with any of these conditions could explain the development of your urinary incontinence but there are ways of managing the problem.
Women’s Toilet Aids for Travel
Toilet Aids can be used by campers
The toilet aids on the market are also a great idea if you travel. Anybody camping could really benefit from using one of the toilet aids on the market. These small portable facilities are a much more sensible alternative to some of the large bulky toilet-style products out there. The same could be said for festival-goers as using the on-site facilities isn’t always the wisest decision – if you’ve got any sense that is!
Women’s Outdoor Toilet
Personal or portable toilet aids exist to give people the option of passing urine when it may otherwise be impossible to do so discreetly and without feeling under pressure or embarrassed. The two leading devices are the Uriwell Personal Toilet and the Me Too – Outdoor Toilet Aid for Women. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of each device as a women’s toilet aid.
Uriwell Toilet Aid
A Uriwell Female Personal Toilet
The Uriwell is an affordable and portable personal toilet. It’s concertina design makes it easy to carry and keep stored discreetly but it can also hold a large volume. It’s made of hygienic plastic so can be easily cleaned and kept sterile. It’s ideal for times where there’s no chance to get to the bathroom such as in the car or in the bedroom when you’re caught unfortunately short. It can be kept discreetly in a drawer at home or in a handbag whilst you’re out and about. This video shows the Uriwell personal toilet being demonstrated:
Me Too – Finally Standing Up
Me Too – Outdoor Toilet Aid for Women
Me Too is a short term alternative to the Uriwell toilet aid. It’s disposable and gives women the freedom to urinate standing up, which can be essential when there’s the desperate urge to go and no opportunity to get somewhere appropriate. It’s designed with female anatomy in mind and is both hygienic and practical for use when out and about. The funnel and spout fit design can be separated to make carrying more simple and this device is considered great even for those who aren’t suffering with any form of incontinence and may just be attending an outdoor event. They’re great value and come in packs of five. They are designed to be thrown away after use making them completely hygienic.
Advantages of Female Toilet Aids
Using a female toilet aid can save time; dignity and help users feel like they’re able to get on with their lives normally. You can avoid the stress of always needing to know where the nearest toilet is, as long as you have access to somewhere discreet such as your car.
There is no need to be ashamed or embarrassed as many people live with the problem and there are products on the market designed to make it less of a problem. No one needs to live with this problem ashamedly and can make actions towards living a full life despite having to manage the condition.
We are pleased to announce the launch of Equ4L.com – Equipped 4 Life. Equ4L.com is a fresh and new online boutique-style store stocking the most innovative and inclusive gadgets and products on the market.
I bought the Go Girl in preparation for my first summer festival in July and a walking holiday in August. This is after many years of ‘near misses’ because of lack of toilet facilities and a reluctance to expose myself on woodland or mountain walks. Even with someone acting as ‘lookout’it can be embarrassing to have your bottom on display! My Go Girl arrived within a few days of ordering it. I couldn’t believe how small the tube is and therefore discreet to carry around. I tried it out in the shower first…..all went well, so then risked the toilet…….all went well again. My only criticism is the need to still pull down trousers/jeans for fear of ending up wet. Although, leaning forward with one hand on the wall helped to direct the flow away from the body. Maybe an extension tube could be sold? I have thought of wearing skirts for walking to make the process easier. Skirts and walking boots? Hmmmn. Not sure!
UnPluGZ are plug pullers which make removing electrical plugs much easier. They are a cost effective and affordable way of ensuring plugs are easy to remove. They are an easy plug pull aid option and are a great alternative to plastic plug handles.
They’re made of tough plastic which is long-lasting and they are a cost-effective and practical alternative to plastic plug tugs or handles. Once the UnPluGz pulling aid has been placed in position it can remain in place securely for the life time of the plug. However, if you do need to move it to another electrical plug you can do so with ease. These plug pullers can be added to any 13a plug in your home.
UK Plug Handles
Each pack of UnPluGZ contains 9 easy pull plug pulling aids. They are designed to be tough but flexible and durable, and are manufactured and designed in the UK.
UnPluGZ are a perfect solution for disabled people living with poor grip or ‘fine motor skill’ problems as they provide an end to tugging and struggling at plug sockets. They provide improved safety as appliances can be unplugged easily by older people, disabled people or anybody who has weakened grip, arthritis or poor hand function.
These UnPluGZ are for UK plugs only but they have do a version for European plugs in their range. This is great for travelers or anybody living in Europe who wants to use a plug removal aid.
High Quality Plug handles that loop over European Plugs.
The European UnPluGZ also require no specialist fitting or tools. Simply fit over the prongs of the plug leaving a strong loop to put your fingers through. They’re great for for European Citizens or UK ex-pats living in Spain or other parts of Europe who struggle with plug removal. The design is unobtrusive and smart without looking clinical. You can leave them on the plug when not it use. They are perfect for use as a plug tugging aid and can also be labelled so that the right European plug is removed.
This design will not fit UK 13A Plugs, as this model is for European Plugs only. They’re great value as you receive 6 per pack. They’re also light weight and easy to carry. They’re a much more convenient option than plastic plug handles that have to be fitted with screwdrivers and are not suitable for travel.
Also known as a:
Plug Handgrepen in Europe.
Amazon Review for a Plug Pulling Aid
This is one of those really simple ideas that make such a huge difference. I had previously struggled to remove certain plugs from sockets – some have hardly anything to grip – but slip one of these tugs over the plug and it pulls straight out of the socket with no ‘wiggle-waggling’ at all – brilliant!!
We like to find new gadgets or uses of existing products that help people with disabilities. We don't like clinical or stigmatising looking ugly products that make your home look like a hospital ward!
Please leave a comment if you would like to submit a review or suggest a product. You can always talk to us on twitter @lwdisability or facebook. We love to be offered guest posts and happily include your bio with blog link or for a chosen cause or charity.