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What Asthma Means to You

Posted on: August 8th, 2013 by HammerMedBlogger

Asthma is a breathing disorder that causes your airways to the lungs to swell and tighten up.  When this happens, it may cause you to start wheezing, have a shortness of breath, chest tightness or coughing. From the CDC, in 2009, there were 479,300 asthma related hospitalizations and 1.9 million emergency room visits.  Today, Hammer Medical would like to explain what asthma means to you.

Asthma can range from being mild, moderate, serious or even life-threatening. Asthma is a disease that affects your lungs and is common with children.  Not to say adults cannot have asthma too.  In most cases, nobody knows what causes it and how to cure it.  Unfortunately, there is no cure for asthma, but it can be controlled and treated.  By following a treatment plan, anyone with asthma can live free of symptoms.

If you or someone you know has asthma, they have what are called asthma attacks.  During an attack, the sides of your airways swell and shrink; causing less air in and out of your lungs and making it uncomfortable for you to breathe.  Here are some early signs to tell when someone is having an asthma attack:

  • Coughing frequently, mainly at night
  • Shortness of breath
  • While exercising, feeling tired or weak
  • Common cold
  • Allergies
  • Difficulty sleeping

Asthma drugs are taken by mouth and breathing.  Many drugs are taken with a metered dose inhaler, which is a s

Only take your prescribed asthma prescription!

Only take your prescribed asthma prescription!

mall aerosol container in a plastic container that, when pushed down, releases medicine to help you breathe again.  Some asthma drugs can be taken as powders, vapors, pills, liquids and shots. Make sure to only take medicine prescribed by your doctor, because different people have different doses and it could make yours worse.

Hammer Medical wants you to be aware of what asthma is and to see the warning signs if you or someone you know has it.  Make sure to take a look at our line of oxygen concentrators to treat other respiratory complications today!

Iowa Asthma Triggers

Posted on: August 6th, 2013 by HammerMedBlogger

Asthma TriggersLiving in Iowa, many things can trigger allergies and asthma such as fresh cut grass, pollen or harvest season, which is right around the corner.  Our allergies cause watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose or all the above! But, what happens when someone you know starts having an asthma attack? What triggers their attack?  Hammer Medical will go over how asthma triggers causes an asthma attack.

Asthma triggers cause you to experience an asthma attack. Everybody who has asthma may be sensitive or react to things differently. Asthma triggers differ from person to person based on where you live and what you’re exposed to on a daily basis.  If you can control your asthma, the best thing to do is avoid triggers whenever possible.

Asthma attacks can be triggered by:

  • Tobacco Smoke – Secondhand smoke is created by a smoker then breathed in by you.  Try to avoid being around smokers and never smoke when you have asthma; not a good combination.
  • Dust
  • Air Pollution – car exhaust or factories that release fumes could cause an attack.  There are websites that monitor air quality and will tell you when levels will be low.
  • Cockroaches – Yes, we said it, cockroaches.  Cockroaches and their droppings cause attacks.  Cockroaches are found in your kitchen or where crumbs of food are.  Clean or pick up food so cockroaches don’t make your home, their home.
  • Mold – Mold can appear anywhere in your home or even with food.  Humidity causes mold to grow in your home. An air conditioner or dehumidifier can keep the humidity low.
  • Pets – Try to bathe your pets weekly and keep them outside as much as possible.  If attacks continue, consider getting a different pet.
  • Basic sicknesses – flu, colds, sinus infections
  • Exercise
  • Emotions – breathing heavy

Nobody can control when an asthma attack will happen.  Hopefully, you’ll take into consideration Hammer Medical’s tips on how to avoid asthma triggers and how to lessen your chances of an asthma attack.  Hammer Medical carries a full line of home medical equipment.  Take a look at our online catalog to see all of our products!

Protecting your Eyes

Posted on: July 25th, 2013 by HammerMedBlogger

Protecting your EyesHammer Medical wants to keep you and your eyes safe this summer, so we’re talking about photokeratitis or sunburn of the eyes. Last time we talked about how it happens and what it does to your eyes, this time our focus is prevention.

The simplest solution for protecting your eyes is sunglasses. But how do you find the right ones and what do you look for? Here are some tips:

  • It’s not about price. High priced designer sunglasses are not better than cheap ones.  They may actually be worse if all they have to offer is a name and not the right protection.
  • It’s not about how they look, style or color. Just because they may technically be sunglasses, they may be more about style than substance. See also point number one.
  • It’s really all about the UV protection. Look for 100% UV protection. They will be labeled, and if they are not, keep looking. You need to make sure they block both UV-A and UV-B rays.
  • Get them and wear them. Even the best glasses won’t do you any good left in the case. Wear them anytime you are outside or driving during the day.
  • Sunglasses are not just summer accessories. If you live in or visit a snowy climate, wear them. The reflective glare of the snow is very hard on your eyes too.
  • Speaking of reflective glare, remember that UV light reflected off sand, water or pavement can also damage the eye. Be extra careful when you’re at the beach or on or in the water.
  • Even if you wear contact lenses that have UV protection, don’t rely on them to be enough. Wear your sunglasses too.
  • Protect the sides of your eyes by choosing sunglasses that wrap all the way around to your temples.

Hammer Medical has items that can keep the rest of your body safe and healthy. See us for wheelchair and scooter lifts and ramps.

Eye Sunburn

Posted on: July 9th, 2013 by HammerMedBlogger

After a hard winter and a soggy Iowa spring, summer is here and spending some time in the sun is on everyone’s to-do list. We often hear about the dangers of the sun on our skin and skin cancer risks, but did you know that the sun can also be bad for your eyes?

The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are strongest in the summer and ophthalmologists (eye doctors) want everyone to be aware that overexposure to the sun’s rays can burn the eyes’ corneas and cause painful, temporary blindness.

The two easiest solutions are to stay inside all day or wear sunglasses. We recommend the sunglasses. Why is the sun so dangerous to our eyes? Scientific studies show that long term, unprotected exposure contributes to cataracts and macular degeneration.  More exposure has been found to lead to tumors. In severe cases, these tumors can lead to having the affected eye removed and partial blindness. People with macular degeneration may be more sensitive to ultraviolet radiation.

We have probably all been sunburnt at some time in our lives. Did you know that your eyes can get sunburnt too? The medical term is photokeratitis, but we commonly refer to it as sunburnt eyes, ultraviolet keratitis or snow blindness. The risk for eye sunburn is higher in people with lighter skin and lighter eyes (sorry blonde haired, blued people) because they have less pigmentation in multiple layers of the eye than those with darker eyes.

How do you know that you may have “photokeratitised” your eyes? A mild case can feel like you have grit or sand in your eyes. That sensation is caused by layers of the cornea peeling following the sunburn. In extreme cases, you will feel like your eyeballs are on fire! If that happens, you need to see an ophthalmologist right away.

Next time we will talk about preventing this kind of sunburn and how to keep your eyes safe. In the meantime, Hammer Medical has items that can keep the rest of your body safe and healthy. See us for scooters, lift chairs and stair lifts.

Tired of being tired? Sleep More with these Tips

Posted on: June 25th, 2013 by HammerMedBlogger

Wake up! It’s time to learn about getting better sleep.

Get more sleep

Tired of counting sheep? Making the right decisions during the day can mean more sleep at night!

We are talking about sleep this month and you can get more sleep and better sleep to live a better, happier and healthier life.

Why is it important? Sleep is the body’s way of recharging, rebalancing and recouping. It’s not just part of the body that sleeps; it’s the whole body. Every organ and every muscle needs rest, especially the brain.

Here are some of the benefits of getting good sleep:

  1. It can improve memory
  2. It can help you live longer
  3. It curbs inflammation
  4. It spurs creativity
  5. It helps athletic performance
  6. It can improve your school (and work) grades
  7. It sharpens your attention span
  8. It helps you maintain a healthy weight
  9. It lowers stress
  10. It can help you avoid accidents
  11. It reduces depression

Now that you know why sleep is important, how do you get it? Here are some tips:

  • Stay on a sleep schedule. Go to bed at (close to) the same time reach night and get up at the same time each morning. Yes, even on the weekends.
  • Relax before bed. Don’t try to go from a busy activity to sleep. Read, take a hot bath or shower, listen to calming music.
  • Don’t eat a big meal, drink coffee or smoke close to bedtime. Have a cut off time a few hours before bed. Even if you fall asleep, it may disrupt your sleep in the night.
  • Lights out! Create a dark, cool room for sleeping.
  • Unplug. No work materials, TV or laptops in the bedroom.
  • Exercise. We talked about it last blog, but we’ll say it again, get some level of physical activity during the day to get better sleep at night.
  • Dump the lump. If your mattress or pillows are old, bumpy, lumpy or uncomfortable, invest in new ones.

Hammer Medical want you to be as healthy as possible. We carry a wide variety of home medical equipment to make your life as healthy and comfortable as possible. We invite you to look through our online catalog or visit the Hammer Medical Supply location in your area today.

Get Some Exercise, Get Some Sleep

Posted on: June 13th, 2013 by HammerMedBlogger

If you want a better night’s sleep, get some exercise during the day.

exercise and sleep

Regular exercise means better sleep, resulting a more refreshed and healthier you!

A National Sleep Foundation study has shown that getting exercise/physical activity during the day will help you sleep better at night. This physical activity means 10 minutes per day, and the activity was put into 4 categories:

  • Vigorous activity: running, swimming, cycling, etc.
  • Moderate activity: yoga, weightlifting, tai chi
  • Light activity: walking
  • No activity: did not exercise

The study showed that based on the same amount of hours of sleep, those who exercised got better sleep and awakened more rested than those that did not exercise. The study also showed that the non-exercisers were more tired during the day. And we all know, you are less likely to exercise when you are tired, which may result in less quality sleep which…you get the idea.

The major conclusion of the story: exercise helps a person get better sleep.

How much physical activity do you get?  Which category do you fit into? How is your sleep? It’s very possible that you’ve had bad sleep for so long that you don’t even know that it is bad and you consider it your normal. Have you tried raising your activity level? Is it time to add more to what you already do?

Consult with your physician before you start any exercise program. Ask them what and how much you can safely do and then start there. Don’t try to do too much too fast or you may not even be able to get out of bed in the morning! Start slowly. Take a short walk twice a day. Gradually increase and add diversity to the workout.

Hammer Medical want you to be as healthy as possible. We carry a wide variety of home medical equipment to make your life as healthy and comfortable as possible. We invite you to look through our online catalog or visit the Hammer Medical Supply location in your area today.

Stroke Awareness Month- Are You at Risk?

Posted on: May 23rd, 2013 by HammerMedBlogger

In sticking with our theme of promoting stroke awareness this month, we want you to be aware of the damage strokes do to the individual, the stroke risks hammer medical iowafamily and our society. What do you know about stroke? Are you or a loved one at risk? Here are some alarming statistics on stroke in the United States:

  • On average, one American dies from stroke every 4 minutes.
  • Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke. About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes. One in four are recurrent strokes.
  • Ischemic strokes happen when blood clots block the blood vessels to the brain. About 87 percent of all strokes are ischemic.
  • Strokes cost the United States an estimated $38.6 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and missed days of work.
  • Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability
  • Stroke is a leading cause of death in the United States, killing nearly 130,000 Americans each year—that’s 1 of every 19 deaths.

Despite the medicines available, the “American lifestyle” plays a large part in the stroke numbers. High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for stroke. About half of Americans (49 percent) have at least one of these three risk factors. Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for stroke, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight and obese
  • Poor diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol use

What can Hammer Medical do to help you reduce your stroke risk? We have equipment to help you keep tabs on your weight, blood pressure and diabetes. We also carry a full line of products to assist those that have had strokes and are recovering. See us today to learn how we can help you and your loved ones lower your risk for strokes and live overall healthier lives!

Sources: Stroke.org and the CDC


Think F-A-S-T When Looking for Stroke Signs

Posted on: May 9th, 2013 by HammerMedBlogger

May is Stroke Awareness Month. Stroke is a leading cause of death in the United States, killing nearly 130,000 Americans each year—that’s 1 of stroke signs hammer medical iowaevery 19 deaths. As part of creating awareness this month, Hammer Medical wants you to be aware of stroke signs and know what to do if you think someone is having a stroke.

If you think someone around you may be having a stroke, you need to act. Even if you don’t know the person, many of these steps will not be so obvious as to draw unwanted attention to the person. Remember that some illness or injuries like a previous stroke or brain injury can look like a stroke.

What should you do? Remember the acronym FAST!

F-A-S-T =

Face- Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

Arms- Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downwards?

Speech- Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred?

Time- If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately!

Stay with the person or have someone else stay with them if possible. Have the person sit, lie down or stay seated to avoid falling.

Note the time of the symptoms first appeared or that you noticed them. If given within three hours of the first symptom, there is an FDA-approved clot-buster medication that may reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke. There are also two other types of stroke treatment available that might help reduce the effects of stroke.

Remember, it’s better to call in a false alarm than to let a stroke go untreated and risk further damage or death.

Hammer Medical sees people recovering from strokes every day. We understand the equipment that can assist the person as they recover and learn new ways of living after the stroke. See us for walkers, canes, wheelchairs, bathroom safety equipment and many other products that can make recovery from a stroke better.

Stay tuned to our blog as we’ll be going over more stroke-related information soon as part of Stroke Awareness Month.


Sources: Stroke.org and the CDC

Preventing Injuries Should Be On Your List This Spring

Posted on: April 18th, 2013 by HammerMedBlogger

It looks like spring has finally arrived in Iowa and it’s time to tackle those spring projects we’ve planned for.  But before you jump into these big projects, Hammer Medical wants you to think ahead and use a little bit of prevention to stay safe and healthy.

If you have been sitting most of the winter, your body probably isn’t ready to tackle the big projects.  There are several simple ways to prevent injuries.

If you’re working outside, be sure to wear a hat that protects you from the sun and the proper gloves and attire like this man.

Warm up stretches are a simple and essential step to a busy day.  Stretching is not just for runners, it’s a way to prepare the body to use the muscle groups that may be a bit underused. Take a look at these stretching techniques from Function Fitness Facts. Do as much as you can carefully.

Take a walk. Walking is a great way to wake your body up, warm up and loosen up before your tasks. Don’t overdo it; you may want to walk after your chores too as a cool down.

Schedule a short day. One or two hours may be plenty to start with. If you can do half of a day comfortably that’s great; don’t push it.

Take breaks. A few short breaks will let your body keep up with can-do spirit.

Eat a light meal before you start your projects. No big meals that may weigh you down, just enough to give your body fuel. Save the big meal or restaurant as a reward for a job well-done.

Stay hydrated. Keep water with you or close by as you work. Dry muscles are sore muscles, and that goes for your brain too.

Is it time to “spring clean” your home medical equipment? If you’ve been waiting for a time to replace worn out equipment or supplies, or to have your wheelchair inspected, spring is a great time! Hammer Medical has an online catalog full of new equipment and we can help you with any questions or concerns.

Remember that a little prevention goes a long way. Happy Spring, Iowa!

Public Health Week and Prevention the Whole Year

Posted on: April 2nd, 2013 by HammerMedBlogger

April 1-7 2013 is National Public Health Week, but Hammer Medicalis putting a focus on preventative care for Iowans all month long.

Regular visits to the doctor and taking advantage of free screenings are easy ways to keep your health in good shape all year round.

The theme for the 2013 observance is “ROI: Save Lives, Save Money.” The theme highlights prevention of many kinds of illnesses and health conditions through preventative screenings, eating healthier and getting regular exercise, and recognizes the contributions of public health.

Hammer Medical wants you and your families to be as healthy as possible, no matter your age or medical conditions. Here a few simple preventative tips:

  • The right products like a properly fitted wheelchair, seat cushions and the specialty mattresses can help prevent pressure sores.
  • Keeping tabs on your hypertension with a blood pressure monitor or oximeter can prevent a host of related health problems.

What equipment would help you have the best health possible? Visit any of the Hammer Medical locations and let our medical equipment experts help you find the right products.

Click on the links below for more information on the events that will be the focus of this year’s National Public Health Week. There are events for all ages. You may be retired or may not have kids in school, but please read these tips that may help other generations of your family and friends. We are all part of this bigger health community and we all need to work together. Click on the days below to learn more.

Monday, April 1: Ensuring a Safe, Healthy Home for Your Family

Tuesday, April 2: Providing a Safe Environment for Children at School

Wednesday, April 3: Creating a Healthy Workplace

Thursday, April 4: Protecting You While You’re on the Move:

Friday, April 5: Empowering a Healthy Community:

Learn more about public health and getting involved in your community at www.nphw.org.

  • Source National Public Health Week and the American Public Health Association