This past weekend, a few of our team members attended the fifth annual Dysautonomia International Conference in Washington D.C.
With over 600 guests, this was the largest conference on autonomic disorders, bringing together patients, caregivers, researchers, physicians, industry representatives, non-profit leaders and government policy makers. We were educated, inspired and motivated by the attendees and speakers, and we are grateful to everyone who stopped by our booth to say hello.
For those who could not attend, we would like to take a second and share our experience. Below are seven activities we enjoyed about the conference.
No. 1: We learned about the latest research.
One of the many phenomenal things about the annual conference is the sheer amount of knowledge that congregates into the room each year. Top physicians and researchers spoke about treatments, advocacy groups, changes to diagnoses and more. Patients and their families traveled from across the country (and sometimes even further – we met people from Canada as well as Panama) to learn from the presentations and to share their own experiences with each other.
Many physicians are not familiar with Ehlers Danlos syndrome (EDS) or postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), and this weekend helped spread the existing knowledge. And because patients and families are often the biggest advocates for their community, lunches and dinners allowed attendees to learn about nutritional tips, exercise routines and other ways to help manage symptoms – simply by getting to know each other.
No. 2: We heard great feedback about SaltStick Vitassium.
During the first ten years as a company, we were glad to find that SaltStick Caps could be used by people suffering from dysautonomia to help manage their symptoms. In response, we decided to create a product specifically designed for this community, and after last year’s conference, we launched SaltStick Vitassium. Since then, hundreds of patients and families have found it a helpful way to increase their sodium intake without stomach upset.
This weekend, we heard from many of these patients and families, who told us stories about how Vitassium had helped in an emergency situation or as a part of their daily routine, and we are thrilled to know that Vitassium has been able to assist hundreds of people manage their symptoms.
Our booth was busy the entire weekend!
No. 3: We learned how people fit SaltStick into their daily nutrition routine.
While every story was different (because every POTS body is different), one common theme emerged among the people who told us how they used SaltStick to manage their symptoms. Specifically, patients enjoy using a blend of SaltStick Vitassium and SaltStick Fastchews in the following ways:
- SaltStick Vitassium: Because SaltStick Vitassium contains high amounts of sodium (250 mg per capsule), POTS patients often use it as a daily supplement, in addition to frequently salting meals. Many patients take two to four capsules each morning and another two to four capsules each evening. Eight capsules provide 2g of sodium – an efficient way to consume salt without stomach upset and without the taste (Vitassium is flavorless).
- SaltStick Fastchews: Fastchews are chewable, flavored tablets designed to replace lost electrolytes quickly in a form the body can easily absorb. Because Fastchews do not taste like salt, many dysautonomia patients found them a welcome relief from the savory flavor of most electrolyte supplements. Additionally, Fastchews are easily portable in 10-count rolls or 60-count bottles, making them useful to carry on the go – perfect for any emergency requiring a quick boost of electrolytes.
Remember, SaltStick products do not contain sugar, artificial ingredients, gluten or other additives, making them an effective way to consume extra sodium and potassium without the side effects of bloating or blood sugar crashes associated with many sports drinks.
No. 4: We told people about the Vitassium Club.
Several attendees asked if we provide discounts or a rewards program for Vitassium customers, and we were happy to share that we do!
When we launched Vitassium, we also created the Vitassium Club, which is designed to provide the best price on Vitassium and other SaltStick supplements when members order at shopsaltstick.com. In addition to receiving 20 percent off product purchased through our website, Vitassium Club members are the first to know about new medical literature, special promotions and new products.
The club is strictly for individuals with dysautonomia, POTS or EDS that use SaltStick as a daily supplement. Note that there is no fee to join, and there is no need to enter coupons or promos at checkout.
If you are interested in joining the Vitassium Club, we encourage you to sign up today.
No. 5: We spoke with doctors about our Physician’s Program.
It is natural for patients to want to try a new product before making a purchase, and doctors frequently asked us if we could work with them to provide samples. We have good news there too: In addition to the SaltStick Vitassium Club, we offer a Physician’s Program for doctors and members of the medical community interested in sharing SaltStick information. Through the program, we donate free Vitassium 8-count sample packets to U.S.-based physicians and clinics that care for individuals with dysautonomia, POTS or EDS.
If you’d like to apply, or if you are looking for more information, go to saltstick.com/physicians.
No. 6: We met hundreds of inspiring people.
The best thing about the Dysautonomia International conference is the attendees, volunteers and staff themselves. Throughout the weekend, we heard many motivating accounts of overcoming the symptoms of a chronic illness, stories of families and friends who helped patients, doctors who devoted their work to researching treatments for this community, and more. People came from places as far as Canada and Panama, and everyone was excited to go home to share the information they learned with friends who could not attend.
No. 7: We learned there’s still much more to do.
While much is being done to advocate for dysautonomia patients, there is still more to do. More doctors need to be educated about the chronic illness and its symptoms so that they can more quickly diagnose patients. More research needs to be done to learn about potential treatments and remedies for these conditions. And more funding is needed to keep the momentum.
We are grateful to be helping through our partnership with Dysautonomia International, announced last July. Through the partnership, we donate 10% of all SaltStick Vitassium sales to the organization, and donations exclusively fund research, patient awareness, and patient and family support.
We look forward to seeing everyone next year!
Thank you to everyone who stopped by our table with questions, encouraging comments, motivational stories and insights into how they’ve been able to manage their symptoms. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting all of you, and we look forward to seeing you again next year.