What is mmHg?

Many of you have asked what is mmHg or mm Hg (it is written both ways) when we talk about compression hose. “mmHg” stands for millimeters of Mercury. This measurement is the same measurement used to measure your blood pressure as well as the atmospheric pressure. It is the force per unit area exerted by an atmospheric column (that is, the entire body of air above the specified area). When you have a blood pressure reading, such as “120/80 mmHg,” we say it is “120 over 80 millimeters of mercury.” The top number, the systolic reading, measures arterial pressure during the heart’s contraction. The bottom diastolic number assesses arterial pressure when the heart is relaxing between beats, refilling itself with blood. When we talk about compression in garments, is usually expressed as a range, i.e. 20-30 mmHg. That is the range of pressure the garment is capable of exerting at the ankle dependent upon the measurements the fitter takes. Since the compression garments are gradient or graduated, the pressure gets less as it goes up the leg and less as it goes toward the toe.

Compression garments were developed when a person with lower extremity venous insufficiency (a condition  that occurs when the veins in the legs are not working effectively to pump blood from the legs back to the heart) realized that when they went into a body of water such as a swimming pool the increased pressure in the pool relieved the pain and discomfort from the venous condition. The deeper they progressed in the pool, the more relief they felt. From this discovery a very rudimentary wrap developed which reduced the swelling or edema and improved their quality of life.

Through the years, this rudimentary wrap has evolved into the wonderful compression garments we have today. They are available in many different compressions to accommodate the severity of disease. Compression classes
Support hose or support socks fit every lifestyle…from the sheerest, most fashionable stockings, or men’s dress socks to many types of athletic socks for both men and women. The stockings and socks are made of a wide variety of yarns which include nylon, wool, cotton, polyester, acrylic, and Lycra Spandex or Elasthan (Lacra Spandex or Elasthan is the yarn which give the garment its “stretchability”). All are knit in a manner to move the perspiration next to the skin to the outside of the garment so it can evaporate to keep you more comfortable. Many of our clients have several different styles of stockings and socks to fit their myriad lifestyles.

The stockings you wear with compression (mmHg) are not the old “supp hose” your grandmother use to wear. Call one of our Certified Fitters on our toll-free line, 1-844-472-8807, for assistance with the selection of new garments or go to  www.supporthoseplus.com

Here is to healthy legs,

Vanda Lancour

Sitting Can Be Dangerous For Your Health

car3It is the time of the year that I start thinking about vacations. One of the first things I plan for is not my wardrobe, but my compression stockings. They can save my life. Vacations can be a particularly dangerous time for DVT because the extended time spent in an airplane, car, or train can increase your risk for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Air travel is the notorious culprit for causing DVT.  In an airplane you are sitting crammed between two other travelers. The air on the plane is dry, and the pressure is decreased with lower oxygen levels. The passenger’s legs are bent in the same position for hours and the seat you are sitting in for your safety is constructed with a fairly ridged metal frame which is cutting into the back of your legs compressing the popliteal vein and slowing down the blood returning to your heart. At this point you are a prime candidate for developing a DVT. Any situation in which the leg is bent at the knee for prolonged periods with little or no activity may lead to the reduction of blood flow and increase the risk of blood clots.

Risk factors which can increase your risk of DVT include:

  • Injury to a vein, often caused by:
    • Fractures
    • Severe muscle injury
    • Major surgery (especially of the abdomen, pelvis, hip, or legs)
  • Slow blood flow, often caused by:
    • Confinement to bed (possibly due to a medical condition or after surgery)
    • Limited movement (a cast on an extremity to help heal an injured bone)
    • Sitting for a long time, especially with crossed legs
    • Paralysis
    • Sedate lifestyle
  • Increased estrogen:
    • Birth control pills
    • Hormone replacement therapy, sometimes used after menopause
    • Pregnancy, for up to 6 weeks after giving birth
  • Certain Chronic medical illnesses:
    • Heart disease
    • Lung disease
    • Cancer and its treatment
    • Inflammatory bowl disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)
  • Other facts that increase the risk of DVT include:
    • Previous DVT or PE
    • Family history of DVT or PE
    • Age (risk increases as age increases)
    • Obesity
    • A catheter located in a central vein
    • Inherited clotting disorders
    • Varicose veins

A DVT may not have any symptoms but can cause pain, swelling and your leg (or arm) could feel warm to touch. If left untreated, a piece of the DVT (blood clot) can break loose and travel through the right side of the heart, and lodge in small or large branches of the pulmonary artery (blood vessels going to the lungs). This is called a pulmonary embolism or PE.  The symptoms can be chest pain, difficulty breathing, or coughing up blood or as extreme as collapse and sudden death.

Here are some simple steps to keep your travel from ending with a prolonged trip to the emergency room:

  • Wear properly fit compression socks or compression hose to prevent stagnation of the blood and increase the blood flow back to the heart.
  • Keep moving.  When you travel, get up and move around when it is safe to do so.
  • Drink plenty of water. Water helps keep you hydrated and less likely to develop clots
  • Avoid alcohol! Alcohol contributes to dehydration, which thickens the blood
  • Exercise your legs. Bend and straighten them several times ever half hour to hour.

The following was provided courtesy JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association)

LegExercisesForAirTravel

Leg exercised for air travel. Lift toes and lift heels.

AtRest

At rest blood flow with the vein slows or stops.

FootPumpExercises

Foot pump exercises…Muscle contractions push blood through vein valves.

For your convenience you might want to check out our SIGVARIS Products at 20% off MSRP. We also have THERAFIRM Products 20% off MSRP. These are great products to make sure you are prepared for your vacation.

Sitting can be dangerous to your health,

Vanda Lancour
www.supporthoseplus.com

PS What is your favorite sock for travel?