Thursday, August 29, 2013

What is the Difference Between Ready-Wear and Custom Compression Garments?

After a lymphedema diagnosis, it is imperative that you get measured by a certified compression garment fitter. Although there are compression garment shops who claim that they can fit you for a garment, be sure that the fitter has the specialized training necessary to fit you properly in the appropriate garment. Ill fitting garments can cause major setbacks in your progress towards maintaining the condition.

One major difference between ready-wear and custom compression garments is that ready-wear, or off the shelf garments, are made of lesser quality materials which include lycra or rubber. Custom compression garments use silicone and silk offering more comfort while wearing the garments.

Since ready-wear garments are available over the counter, they are tend to be less expensive, easier to replace and quicker to purchase. They are seamless and are available in a variety of lengths, compression classes and sizes, however, they may not provide enough support for your affected limbs and are not as precise in fit as a custom made garment. They also have a tendency to roll at the top of the garment.

With custom made compression garments, precise measurements are taken to ensure that your garment fits properly throughout your whole limb. They are generally made from thicker but more breathable materials. And offer better containment of the swelling than ready-wear garments. These garments can be made to accommodate any shape which is particularly helpful if a client has a disproportionate limb.

Custom made compression garments are are available in all four compression classes and can be combined with a custom toe cap if necessary. With custom compression garments, pads for extra support can be stitched into the garment as well.

The heavier knit materials provide greater stiffness resulting in greater resistance and better containment of the swelling than ready-made garments (so-called stiffness factor).

To schedule your free consultation with our BOC/ABC certified garment fitter, call 713-623-4247. Kristen can answer any questions you have about compression garments and assist you in maintaining your lymphedema.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I have experienced men's hair loss ever since my late 20s. Is there an undetectable hairpiece for men?

For many of us there comes a time in our lives when we stand in the mirror and ask "why me?"

Unfortunately for most of us it happens during a very impressionable time in our lives -- out of school, building a career, and trying to find that perfect someone special. Losing your hair can be very devastating and its effects have been known to diminish the self confidence of men from the beginning of time.

At Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness our goal is to rebuild your confidence by re-creating the look you
thought was gone forever.

Ricky Knowles is a world famous educator and platform artist in the hair restoration field. Ricky has spent countless years searching the globe for the most advanced procedures and products available. After years of searching, Ricky was fortunate enough to find the NEXT Generation in hair replacement.

"NXT GEN" as it is known is the most life-like, undetectable hair replacement solution available in the world. "NXT GEN" appears so natural it has even been mistaken for the best transplants money can buy! Although many companies claim to offer "NXT GEN" Technology, not many understand or have come close to mastering the ART of "NXT GEN." With Ricky Knowles you can rest assured you are getting the best the world has to offer.

If you're single and wanting to change you appearance, or you are married and just want to feel younger, Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness has a solution for you. From Hair Loss Inhibitors to human hair replication, at Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness we have mastered the technology to deliver you the results of your dreams!

The Original NXT GENERATION OF HAIR is only available at Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness.

Experience Hair Replacement the way it should be. Call 713-623-4247 today for a free hair loss solution consultation.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I have lymphedema and wear compression hose during the day. Is there an alternative to bandaging at night-time?

Let's face it, managing lymphedema can be a lot of work! Luckily with the awareness of the condition, there has been a lot of advancement in the availability of alternative compression garments.

Night garments, such as JoviPak or Tribute can be described as alternative non-elastic compression garments that are made to replace bandaging in order to improve quality of life by making the process of compressing the limb at night easier and faster to apply. So for clients who are in the management phase of lymphedema therapy, rather than having to set aside the time and energy to self bandage at nighttime, you can simply don a nighttime garment, allowing you to be more compliant in your treatment.

Of course each client is different, but on average a nighttime garment should be worn for around 12 hours. It is important however to be properly fitted by a certified lymphedema therapist and to receive specific guidance on how long or often to wear the garment. 

Our goal at Ricky Knowles Hair & Wellness is to help you succeed in your self-care management. If you have questions about what types of compression garments might give you more quality of life, please call us for a free consultation with our BOC/ABC certified compression fitter at 713-623-4247.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Early Baldness May Signal Cancer Risk

Researchers in Australia are suggesting that men who lose their hair early in life are likely to suffer prostate cancer. Research among 10,000 adults uncovered that men with high levels of testosterone, the hormone that can facilitate hair loss, may be more vulnerable to cancerous tumors later in life. Experts at the Cancer Council of Victoria in Australia monitored 9,448 men who were taking part in a long-term health study.

The men, aged between 40 and 69 when the project began were asked to score how much hair they had lost at the age of 20 and at the age of 40. The results showed men who were mostly bald at 40 were significantly more likely to develop early-onset cancer, which for some could be in their fifties or sixties.

Both prostate cancer and hair loss are strongly age-related conditions that are considered to be hormone dependent. They found that baldness at the age of 40 might be a marker of increased risk of early-onset prostate cancer.

If you or a loved one have suffered from early male hair loss, make sure that you get a yearly health examination from your physician. Also speak with your physician about the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test and whether or not you would benefit from the screening.

For more information about hair loss solutions, call 713-623-4247. Our master stylist, Ricky Knowles and his team can help you find the right customized solution to fit your lifestyle.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I Am Scheduled To Undergo Mastectomy Surgery. What Are Some Recovery Tips?

Going through mastectomy surgery can be extremely taxing on both your body and your emotions.  Here are some tips to help you when you get home.

Follow Your Doctors Instructions
Follow all your Doctor’s instructions in regards to wound care, rest, lifting restrictions, driving, surgical bras and garments etc.  Most importantly if your Doctor says don’t do something – listen and don’t do it!

When discharged from hospital ask all your questions (to Doctors and Nurses) no matter how insignificant you may think they are and have contact numbers for when you get home and have another question or concern.

Rest, Rest and then Rest Some More
Take it totally easy the first full week.  Take multiple naps, watch movies, read books and relax.  Have people do almost everything for you to avoid overdoing it.  Be warned it is super easy to overdo it when you first get home.  Even opening the fridge, opening drawers, picking up stuff and carrying laundry is too much!  Also washing your hair is too much in the first week as you can’t lift your arms so book into the hairdressers.  If you do too much you will pay for it that night and the next day with muscle pain and a very sore body.

Fatigue is normal.  Gradually increase your activity and ease back into your ‘normal’ routine.  Remember most women require four to six weeks off work to recover.  A mastectomy is a major invasive surgery and body tissues need rest to recover and repair from the procedure.  By over doing it you are slowing down your recovery and healing.

Remember no strenuous activity or lifting for approximately six weeks following your surgery (your Doctor will tell you when you are ready).

Medication and Pain Control
Get all your scripts filled immediately (with non child proof caps – you will find the push down and turn type difficult to open with limited arm strength) and in a notebook write down what you take and when.  It is easy to lose track of whether you have taken your medication or not and writing it down ensures you have and have taken it at the right time (and haven’t taken a double dose).  Writing down your pain medication is also useful as it allows you to slowly reduce the amount and strength over a few weeks.   

When it comes to pain management take your pain medication regularly.  The job of the medicine is to avoid pain.  If you get in too much pain you will feel miserable waiting for the pain medication to kick in.  Also studies have shown that a patient who has less pain recovers better.

Medical Supplies
It is useful to have the following at home:
  • Laxatives as the pain medications/general aesthetic can make you constipated
  • Ibuprofen
  • Acetaminophen
  • Post scar treatment (although you won’t need this until your tape/bandages have been removed)
  • Spare dressings (although in some cases you won’t need these as your Surgeon will remove your tape/dressings at your first follow up appointment)
You will most likely need to sleep on your back for at least three or four weeks (definitely the case if you have had a double mastectomy).  This is actually harder than it sounds if you are used to sleeping on your stomach or side and getting sleep is really important for your recovery (and feeling rested and able to cope in general).

Follow your Surgeon’s instructions regarding exercise.  Usually you will be encouraged to walk and have been doing laps of the hospital.  When you get home walk a bit further each day.  Listen to your body and stop if you get tired or dizzy.  Resume more physically active exercise, running, swimming etc. once your Doctor gives approval and gradually build back up to your pre surgery levels.

It can be frustrating, for example if you were a runner and feel great but still have bruising and swelling and your Surgeon says no running (raising your heart rate/pulse slows down healing) – listen, grit your teeth and DON’T RUN.

Get Comfortable
New clothes may be necessary to accommodate your surgery.  Specialty camisoles are a great option because they provide a light layer that can hold drains.  Many styles have pockets to hold forms and can be worn under your clothing.  You may also opt for a robe that is made with pockets for breast forms or ice packs and also can support the weight of fluid from drains.

You will want to get a prosthesis or breast form around six weeks after surgery.  Typically at this time the swelling will have reduced.  Make sure that you see a BOC or ABC certified fitter.  These certifications ensure that you are fitted properly.  A certified fitter can also help you find a well-fitting bra to act as a good foundation for style and comfort.

Drink Water
It is very important that you drink plenty of water during your mastectomy recovery.  While having surgery, a lot of blood and other fluids are removed from the body and you will have to reinstate these in the days following surgery for getting the best recovery results.

Eat Well
To assist your recovery each a diet rich in nutrients – in other words eat healthy.  For your cells and tissues nutrients are the building blocks and will assist your recovery.  So eat a well balanced diet of to help your body.

Support and Talking to Others
Regardless of your level of support from family and friends, you may find it helpful to talk to others who have gone through a mastectomy.  Talking to others who have gone through the same decision making process and procedure will give first hand understanding and support.  It is a major deal both physically and emotionally to undergo a mastectomy and it helps to connect with other women who have gone through what you are feeling.

You have just come home from major surgery and most likely haven’t finished your reconstruction so be aware that your chest/breasts/body will not look perfect/normal and you still have recovery and further surgery to go – however you have just achieved something amazing so try to be proud of your body.

Our team at Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness is here to support you through your journey.  We can connect you with a support group that fits with your schedule, fit you for a mastectomy prosthesis, help you with with lymphedema preventative care, and serve as your patient advocate by untangling the insurance benefit web.  We have a BOC, ABC mastectomy prosthesis fitter and an insurance specialist on staff.   In addition to mastectomy forms, we also carry post mastectomy products such as camisoles, bras and robes.  If you are ready for us to partner with you, please call us at 713-623-4247.

Friday, August 9, 2013

What Treatments Are Available for Lymphedema?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for lymphedema. However, with early intervention and proper treatment, the condition can be controlled and minimized, allowing the individual to lead a full and normal life.

Treatment begins with a physicians referral to a lymphedema trained massage therapist. The therapist performs a thorough evaluation to determine a baseline of the individuals sensation, pain, range of motion, strength, skin integrity, and extent of swelling.

A treatment plan to decrease the swelling and improve the individuals ability to function may include:
  • Lymphatic manual drainage, or MLD, is a specialized lymphatic "massage," to move the extra lymph fluid through intact lymphatics and create new pathways for the lymph fluid to flow.
  • Compression bandaging to reduce swelling.
  • Exercise to improve functioning of the lymphatic system, range of motion, and strength.
  • Establishment of a good skin care program to decrease the chances of infection.
  • Recommendation of a compression garment and instruction for wear and care.
  • Thorough patient education regarding all of the above to promote independence with self-management of lymphedema.
Not all therapists have received special training to treat lymphedema, so it is important to select a therapist that is qualified to treat individuals suffering with the condition. At Ricky Knowles Hair & Wellness, we have several qualified therapists who have been trained and certified to treat lymphedema.  We have a BOC, ABC certified garment fitter, who is constantly troubleshooting to find clients the best solution in compression garments.  Our team would be happy to help you develop a customized plan to help you improve your mobility. Our insurance specialist will even submit your claims and serve as your patient advocate, ensuring that you receive your full insurance benefits.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please call 713-623-4247.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What line of hair products do you recommend I use for my wig or hairpiece?

The Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness team is constantly on the hunt for new products to offer our clients. Only the BEST products survive our rigorous testing.

Aquage is one of our favorite hair styling product lines. We like using Aquage styling products because the shampoos and conditioners are sulfate free and ideal for protecting the quality hair pieces and wigs that we customize for our clients.

Aquage products also ensure the ultimate hold while remaining flexible for both synthetic and natural hair. Since most clients do not have the time to come in for daily shampooing and styling, Aquage ensures that their hair is beautiful during each day of wear, which is especially important for our clients who are undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

Our favorite Aquage products are the Sea Extend Strengthening Shampoo and Conditioner, Beyond Body Thermal Styler and the Beyond Shine.

We carry the Aquage hair styling product line in-house and prices range from $17 to $40. Call us today at 713-623-4247 for a free hair consultation with Aquage Master, Ricky Knowles.