Anti-bacterial properties of silver yarn

Earlier today I added 3 more products into our catalog.  These are socks made of cotton with a mix of silver yarn (actual 99.9% pure silver, according to the product literature) meant specifically for diabetics who are in general susceptible to infections.

As I read (and wrote) about the special anti-bacterial properties of the silver in these socks, my skeptical nature raised a flag – “Is silver yarn really anti-bacterial in nature? Is this true?”  I had never heard of this before (never having looked for such information before, that is not surprising! :)), and I wanted to make sure that I was not propagating some “woo woo” pseudo-science just to sell a product.  So I did what most lay people do – I google’d it!  And here is what I found:

Silver yarn (usually wool or cotton yarn coated with silver) is actual highly anti-bacterial in nature.  Not only that, it has long-term effectiveness and remains so even after multiple washes of the fabric.  The Journal of Applied Polymer Science has a paper titled “Silver-coated wool yarns with durable antibacterial properties” that effectively states the following:

The use of fabrics with antibacterial properties for commodity applications can provide numerous advantages such as a reduction in the release of odors due to bacterial proliferation in sweat and a reduction in the development of skin hypersensitivity reactions due to microorganisms trapped into the fabrics. Silver is one of the most effective antibacterial agents used for the high degree of biocompatibility and for its long-term antibacterial effectiveness against many different bacterial strains. In this study, an innovative technique for the deposition of nanosilver antibacterial coating on woolen fiber was analyzed. In particular, fabrics woven with different percentages of silver-treated fibers were compared to determine the best ratio preserving the antibacterial activity and optimizing the cost-effectiveness of the final product. Scanning electron microscopy revealed a uniform distribution of silver nanoclusters on the fibers. The impressive silver coating stability and durability were demonstrated after several washing cycles through thermogravimetric analysis. The antimicrobial activity of the silver-treated substrates was evaluated by antibacterial tests on Escherichia coli. A very strong antibacterial activity was found even in presence of the lower silver content; therefore, a blend of coated and uncoated fibers is proposed for practical applications. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2012

So if you are a diabetic and want to protect your feet from infection go ahead and buy these socks for constant wear with the firm knowledge that the silver yarn in them truly has significant anti-bacterial properties.  You can buy them here.

As a company with the welfare of the senior citizen being central to our raison d’etre, we are very keen on ensuring that genuine, verifiable information is available on our site at all times.  If you find any matter that seems less than genuine, please write to us at and we will ensure that we will either provide material to support the matter or modify/remove the incorrect/unverifiable matter.  Thanks in advance for all your support.

Prostate Cancer – Early detection and cure

Incidences of prostate cancer have been increasing in India over the last couple of decades.  According the research 7 out of every 100,000 men get diagnosed with prostate cancer every year.  However, early detection can lead to close to 100% recovery.  So here is a quick look at the prostate and how one can detect cancer early and make a full recovery.

What is the prostate ?
The prostate is a compound tubuloalveolar exocrine gland of the male reproductive system. It is about the size of a walnut and is responsible for the production of the fluid that sperms travel in. It is located in front of the rectum and just below the bladder and wraps around the urethra.

Who is at risk of getting prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is still relatively rare in India ( 7 out of every 100,000 get it) compared to developed countries such as the US ( 85 out of every 100,000). However, incidences of prostate cancer, both in India and among Indian men abroad have been steadily increasing and it is important to be aware of it so as to detect it early.  Incidences of prostate cancer are high among

1. Older men  – Typically men over the age of 60 are at risk.
2. Smokers
3. Men with family history of prostate cancer
4. Men who are obese, undertake very little physical activity and have a high intake of fatty foods.

Early stages, prostate cancer can be asymptomatic.  So it is good to have periodic prostate examinations done once you cross the age of 60.  However, look out for the following signs anyway:

1. Aching pains in genitals, lower abdomen and lower back.
2. Problems with sexual function
3. Painful, frequent, urgent urination
4. Slow urine stream and urination
5. Blood in urine
6. Loss of energy
7. Persistent swelling of legs
8. Hard growth on prostate
9. Enlarged lymph nodes.
10. Pain in the back, spine, hip or ribs.

The prostate check is a relatively easy and painless process.  The doctor will do a rectal examination by inserting a lubricated finger through the rectum and feel for enlargements, lumps and tenderness of the prostate.  The entire process will take less than a couple of minutes.

Post detection
If prostate cancer is detected, there are several procedures from radical prostatectomy (complete removal) to non-invasive procedures that can result in complete remission.  Your doctor would be the best person to suggest the way forward.

Bottom line
If you are a male over 60, every year as part of your regular medical checks, get your prostate examination done too.  Early detection can help you lead a long, active and healthy life.

Travelers Thrombosis – Precautions and prevention

Anti-Embolism StockingsFor many decades now and especially since the beginning of the IT boom, Indians have been settling down in all parts of the world, for business, work or other purposes.  The one thing common to all the Indian diaspora is their strong ties with their homeland, especially to their friends and relatives living in India.  This has resulted in a lot of travel back and forth making Indians among the largest populations of frequent long distance travelers.

Most families travel once a year to their home land and in turn parents who reside in India travel abroad to spend time with their children and grand children on a regular basis.  This article is specifically for the elderly who travel by air to be with their family and shows how some simple precautions can reduce the chances of Deep Vein Thrombosis(DVT).

The elderly who travel long distances by air are at high-risk of what is being called Travelers Thrombosis.  In medical terms this is known as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and  Pulmonary Embolism sometimes collectively called Venous Thromboembolism.  DVT is a common medical condition in the population. The disease process in DVT occurs because of blood clotting, most frequently in the large veins of the calves. Sometimes these clots break free and travel up the veins through the heart to lodge in the arteries of the lungs. This related condition is known as pulmonary embolism (PE), and it may cause sharp chest pain or breathlessness. PE may be life-threatening if the embolus (circulating clot) is large.

Causes for DVT can be both acquired and inherited.  The Inherited ones could be due to deficiency of one or more of Antithrombin, Protein C, or Protein S.  Additionally people with blood groups other than O are also at slightly elevated risks.

The acquired causes include:
1.  Old age.  [Most of our parents]
2.  Major surgery or orthopedic surgery [Many of our parents go through knee replacement surgeries.  This is one major cause for DVT].
3. Cancers, especially pancreatic.
4.  Immobilization, sitting in one position for long hours, and travel, especially by air. Bed-ridden patients also are at high-risk.
5.  Hormonal replacement therapy.

There are several other causes which are not limited to older people.  Please refer wikipedia for more details.

DVT can be quite painful and even life-threatening.  Here are some precautions you can take when traveling by air:

1.  Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids.  Ideally water, fruit juices, and isotonic drinks.
2. Regularly massage your calves and mobilize/rotate your ankles
3. Wear comfortable, loose clothing that does not restrict blood flow.  Light cotton wear is ideal.  Saris and salwars are fine. Avoid tight jeans.
4. Move around during transit breaks.  Avoid moving around in the cabin during the flight as you risk injuries due to turbulence.
5.  Be vigilant for the symptoms of DVT, in particular pain in the calves, during and for up to a month after long flights. If symptoms occur, seek medical advice without delay.

Finally, there are stockings called Anti-embolism stockings that apply about 15 -20 mm Hg of pressure at the ankle and reduced pressure as they go up the leg. These stockings help in preventing DVT.  They come in various sizes and in two models – Above knee, and below knee. At Rs. 800 to Rs. 1200 a pair, they are a steal when you consider how much pain and suffering they may actually save you from.

It is important to choose the right size and type for them to be effective.  Too loose and they will not have the desired effect and if they are too tight, they may become like a tourniquet and restrict blood flow.  Similarly some people find the thigh-length stockings uncomfortable and just end up rolling it down till their knees.  These people are better off buying the below-knee model at the outset.

Before measuring, please ensure that there is no edema (swelling due to fluid collection), deformity of the leg, arteriosclerosis and skin conditions such as dermatitis.  You can take measurements while lying down or standing up.  There are basically 3 measurements you need to take – thigh circumference(g), calf circumference(c) and ankle circumference(b).  Then compare these against the size chart provided by the manufacturer to choose the one closest to your requirements.

If you are a senior citizen and are traveling by air, don’t leave home without it.  You can buy your Anti-DVT stockings here.