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What People Should Know About Bariatrics

May 16, 2008
Times, they are a-changing. As with the old Bob Dylan song - we know that nothing stands still. Besides time, we know that medical advances, scientific discoveries, sadly age etc., all move on. With that comes a new development in equipment available on the market today, specifically for the bariatric person.

The dictionary definition of bariatrics is the medical division dealing with obesity - but lets not close our minds to obesity. Immediately we all think of an obese person, we imagine someone with a huge plate of food in front of them. This is definitely not the case. There are very many people who suffer from a range of medical problems, resulting in an increase in weight - putting them into the bariatric range.

Because of the increase in a bariatrics population, there has been a need to develop the products to make their daily lives more bearable and importantly, safe.

Bariatric products, be they chairs, shower chairs, bath boards etc, should be able to cope with weights up to a minimum of 28 Stone, and the higher limit is +- 60 Stone.

It is a matter of safety that bariatric products are tested to these limits -imagine a bath board collapsing whilst in use. The injury to the person concerned could be quite horrific. Chairs, for example rise and recline chairs, are built specifically with heavy-duty chassis to cope with the extra weight bearing.

Consider for a minute - an overweight person is less likely to be up and about exercising, meaning that in the long run they will put on more weight, and the chair they are sitting in, or the bed they are laying in, will need to take extra weight over the life expectancy of that product.

A number of medical conditions effect the legs, which leaves the person suffering from very swollen calves or thighs. This could mean that a rise and recline chair would be expected to operate with approximately 18 stone just on the footrest. Unless the chair purchased was specifically a bariatrics product and had extra motors and a strengthened chassis - the chair would collapse, possibly causing injury.

One last cause for concern - the environmental assessment that is required. Again, using the rise and recline chair as an example. The chair itself could weigh between 20 and 30 stone. Add to that the weight of the person, say 30 Stone. Add to that the force of someone dropping down into a chair - and what you end up with is a floor that needs to be tested before this much weight can be placed on it. Most downstairs areas in homes are suitable - but not necessarily a pre-fabricated house or similar.

Bariatric products are on the market to help make lives easier - they should be used with care and correctly and people in the weight brackets will need to spend the money for their own safety to have the correct product.
About the Author
Anna Stenning is an expert on bariatrics, having researched upon this term for her previous line of work.
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