Men’s Health Awareness

Physician consultation with manDuring the month of November each year, “November” asks men across the world to grow a mustache with the aim of raising vital funds and awareness for men’s health issues. This is specifically targeting Prostate Cancer Awareness as well as men’s health issues. The other Men’s Health Issue we at Support Hose Plus would like to address is their reluctance to seek health care. In fact, according to Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), men are 24 percent less likely than women to have seen a doctor in the past year. A look at men’s health issues shows they experience different, but no less serious, health problems than women. Millions of women already know one of the secrets. For decades women have been wearing support hosiery to keep the veins and valves inside the veins from weakening or becoming defective. Men are beginning to recognize the energizing effects a pair of support hose.

There are many reasons men should choose to wear support socks or support stockings. Here are a few:

  • Tired achy legs at night
  • Heavy legs at night
  • Swollen legs
  • Leg pain from prolonged sitting or standing
  • Dull, aching pain in leg
  • Tingling, numbness burning or cramping in the legs and feet
  • Legs “fall asleep” often
  • Spider veins
  • Varicose veins
  • Reddish Discoloration of the skin
  • Hardened skin on the lower leg
  • Patches of dry skin on the lower leg
  • Open sores on the lower leg that do not heal (see your doctor immediately)
  • Family history of venous disease
  • Travel (to prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis)
  • Surgery (to prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis)

There seems to be a stigma of people being able to recognize that a man is wearing a compression garment, but many young men are becoming staunch supporters of compression garments which definitely do not look like their grand mother’s support hose.

Professional athletes know:

  • As he travels long distances to compete, he wears compression socks. He definitely does not want to arrive at an event for which he has been training to be knocked out of competition by a blood clot (deep vein thrombosis).
  • During his competition he wants to be at his best. Performance Sleeve   will increase arterial flow, reduce muscle strain, decreases exertion, and reduces skin temperature.
  • After he has completed his competition he wants a speedy recovery, so he wears his Recovery Socks to help get the lactic acid out of the muscle so there is less muscle soreness.

Happy Man Wearing Compression Socks

The “week-end warrior” can also appreciate what support socks can do for their sporting activities as well as their everyday living. Why should the non-athlete not have the same advantages as the athlete? By taking action to wear an appropriate compression garment, our special men could prevent more serious problems which ultimately could affect his quality of life as well as his family.
Please have that special man, visit with his physician about compression and then call one of our Certified Fitters at 1-844-472-8807.  Our Certified Fitters can assist him with the selection of a garment (dress sock, casual sock, athletic sock, thigh sock or even waist high garment if necessary) appropriate for his life style as well as his legs.

Lets encourage the special men in our life to see their physician regularly, grow a mustache and wear their support socks,

Vanda Lancour
www.supporthoseplus.com

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

More Answers To Your Questions

Many of our customers have submitted more questions they would like answered. I would like to share these questions with you as well as my answers.

I purchased my compression socks from a sports store. I have spider veins and am on my feet many hours. When I remove my socks I have indentions and red marks where my knee highs end. Are they too tight?
How to Measure

Without having all the facts, it is very difficult to say. The socks may not have a good release built in the top of the socks. They may be helping you and move your swelling up, but cannot move any further because the socks end. You may need a thigh high garment instead of a knee high. They may be an incorrect size. Why don’t you take your measurements 1st thing when you get up and call one of our Certified Fitters on our toll-free number, 1-844-472-8807, and let us assist in a garment that is appropriate for you?
Here is how to take your measurements:

Measurements should be taken upon arising when your legs are at their smallest.
  • Using a measuring tape measure around the smallest part of the ankle. This will be above the round bones (malleoli) on both sides of the ankle.
  • Next measure around the fullest part of your calf.
  • For thigh length styles also measure around the fullest part of the thigh.
  • *The measurement from the crease in the bend of the knee straight to the floor will also be needed.

For thigh high stockings you will need a length measurement from the glutial fold straight to the floor.

I was told by my OBGYN that thigh high stockings were not appropriate during pregnancy, because they could cut off the circulation in the groin area.

I do not feel properly fit thigh high stockings will cut off the circulation in the groin area. If you have a lot of swelling, they could move the swelling into to the vulva area. Maternity pantyhose are my garment of choice for pregnancy, because the tummy panel will give some support to the fetus and lift it off of the veins. Most maternity pantyhose have elastic in the waist band which can be adjusted or completely removed. That being said, I do have many customers who are pregnant wear thigh high stockings successfully.

I have a group of veins on one leg that always hurts, but especially when I go up and down stairs. What should I do?

Varicose veins usually do not hurt. If you are in that much pain, you should find a good vein specialist and have a complete evaluation. It may not be your varicose veins which are hurting. It could be something else and only a full evaluation can determine the true cause.

My doctor told me I have orthostatic hypotension and I should wear compression stockings. There is so many choices, what stocking should I choose.

As you know, when people have orthostatic hypotension and stand, their blood pressure drops and they may pass out. Compression stocking can help with this. The garment of choice is pantyhose, but many people are able to manage with a thigh high garment. A knee high garment is really not appropriate. The compression usually varies with the severity of orthostatic hypotension. At least at 20-30mmHg is used for this disorder, but sometimes a 30-40mmHg is required.

I have a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) should I wear my stockings 24/7 or just during the day?

You get the most benefit from your stockings when you are standing or sitting (vertical position). They are less helpful when you are sleeping (in a horizontal position). That being said, it depends on the severity of the DVT. It is very important for you start walking and getting exercise as soon as possible. If you are in doubt, consult your physician.

I have been diagnosed with lymphedema. I wear 20-30mmHg compression stockings, but I keep swelling more and more. Help! What should I do?

First you need to find a good lymphedema therapist. Your physician may give you a referral to a lymphedema therapist. The therapist will evaluate your swelling and probably wrap your extremity with layers of bandages to reduce your swelling as well as teach you some special massages you can do yourself later on. Once your swelling is reduced as much as possible, the therapist will recommend garments for you to wear each and every day. Remember you may need to go back into bandages occasionally  for a “tune up”. Lymphedema may not be currently curable, but is controllable if you follow your therapist instructions.

If you have more questions or comments, please scroll to the bottom of the blog entry to leave a comment or ask a question.

Thanks so much to those who submitted these questions,

Vanda


http://www.supporthoseplus.com

Arterial Ulceration – Venous Ulceration…What Are They?

This week I want to write on two very important circulatory diseases of the lower extremities… Arterial Ulcers and Venous Ulcers. I am writing this so you can be aware of these diseases should you ever see these problems in your legs or the legs of a loved one. Education of diseases of the extremities is very important because it provides you with more knowledge so you may recognize problems in a timely manner. This article is not meant to take the place of your physician’s help with your leg health.

An ulcer on the lower extremity is a break in the skin resulting in a wound. It is thought to be caused by a poor circulatory system. While, as a patient, it is not important for you to diagnose a venous ulcer or an arterial ulcer, it may be important for you simply to understand the difference between the two and to know what to do to keep from getting ulcers.

Arterial and Venous refers to origin of the ulcer. When a venous ulcer forms, the veins in the leg have become stretched and the valves have become incompetent and leak. This results in excess fluid in the tissues of the lower extremity and slows down oxygen and nutrients being transferred to the tissue so the skin can perform one of its most important functions, that of repairing itself.

Venous insufficiency is high blood pressure of the deep and superficial veins of your lower extremities! It is not the venous insufficiency or high pressure in the vein or veins that causes the venous ulceration, but the most likely cause of the venous ulceration is that there was a thrombus or a clot in the veins of the leg at some time. That clot becomes encased in plaque, the body thinks the ulceration has been healed and does not work to continue restoring normal tissue. The end result is tissue begins to die.

Venous Ulcer

Venous Ulcer

Venous Ulcer

  • For lower extremity edema you should elevate the legs and discourage rubbing, picking, pulling or scratching of the skin.
  • If the legs are not elevated, the edema may get so bad the fluid will not have anywhere to go and will seem to come out of every available hole – even out of the pores of the skin themselves.
  • The legs may even look as if they will pop if you blow on them, then the next day they are weeping copiously.
  • The next thing that happens is the skin starts to come off in patches and pretty soon…you guessed it, voilà a venous ulceration.

Arterial ulcers are caused, basically, not by the veins failing to remove excess fluid, but by the arteries failing to supply enough oxygen and nutrients to keep the tissues alive.
Arterial wounds are generally more difficult to treat and often more painful, particularly when lying down (e.g. in bed at night).

Often the primary diagnosis of an Arterial Ulcer is Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). This diagnosis is not a diagnosis to be taken lightly and needs skilled and consistent care to avoid severe complications.

PAD does not necessarily result in the arterial ulcer, but occurrence of an ulcer on the lower extremity is a risk factor in the diagnosis of PAD. The older a person becomes, the easier it is to have a small injury (just a scrape, a bump) and because the arterial circulation itself is already compromised, the area never heals properly. A hard substance called plaque forms at the site of the injury and the body thinks it has healed the wound. Now, people normally will bump their thigh and get a bruise, but the injury is not always the site where the ulcer forms, but rather below the area of the injury. The lower extremity is already compromised, you get hurt above the feet or ankle, plaque encases that injury which decreases the circulation even further. The artery is now moving even less oxygen and nutrients to the lower extremity and the tissue begins to die. That is harsh, but there is no better way to put it. It isn’t that I want to frighten you, but to keep on instructing you in what to do to prevent this from happening if at all possible!

arterialulcer

Arterial Ulcer

With arterial insufficiency you must never elevate the leg. With arterial insufficiency compression is usually not used. This is totally opposite for Venous Ulcers.

Arterial Ulcer

  • When Arterial Ulcers are present skin is pale, shine, taut, and thin
  • Swelling is not usually noted when arterial ulcers are present.
  • The legs should not be elevated with arterial ulcers. In fact the legs feel better when they are down.

 

Arterial Ulcer

  • May be found on tips of toes, between the toes or on the outside (lateral side) of ankles
  • Most likely are perfectly round, smooth edges
  • May or may not have swelling (edema) of the lower extremities
  • Lower extremity may be cool to touch, skin is pale shine, taut, and thin
  • Minimal drainage
  • No odor
  • Skin on lower extremities often tight, hard, shiny
  • Skin is often cool or cold to touch
  • There may not be any hair on the toes or on the legs
  • There may be pain with walking (claudication)
  • Faint to absent pedal (foot) pulse

Venous Ulcer

  • Found on the inside of the ankle (medial side), above the ankle bone
  • Shallow and Superficial
  • Can be small or large, but the edges are NOT A PERFECT CIRCLE
  • Almost always there will be edema (swelling of the leg) and in fact, edema is usually the FIRST thing you will find
  • Wet all the time, and depending on how long the patient legs are kept dangling will determine how much drainage there will be
  • May have an odor
  • Usually there is no pain with walking, per se, but the patient will say it hurts to stand up. Once they are up and start walking, the pain subsides

It is really surprising; I talk to many people that have never heard of support stockings or support socks. They have no idea that compression socks or compression stockings can make their legs feel better and keep venous insufficiency under control. My best advice is to wear them!! I do…every single day!

There is such a thing as having Venous Insufficiency and Arterial Insufficiency. In cases such as these, the physician may have the patient wear a light compression stocking or compression sock. Remember, your physician is your best source of information. We are here to educate you and assist your physician in his job so that you may have healthy legs.

 Here’s to your Healthy Legs,

Vanda
www.supporthoseplus.com                                                

What Compression Should I Choose?

Before we discuss what compression to choose, let’s look at how the compression helps control edema and makes our legs feel better. The muscles of the legs act a pump to assist the heart in the return blood flow from the extremities. When veins and valves of the legs become damaged or incompetent, compression stockings provide a little extra “squeeze” to help reduce the diameter of distended veins and help the valves to close. When this happens, the blood flow is increased. The “squeeze” is measured in mmHg compression.

If your physician has not suggested compression of support hose (compression stockings or support socks) to purchase, it can be very confusing. A garment with too little compression for your diagnosis may not contain the swelling. On the other hand, I have clients purchase 30-40mmHg compression because they want to be certain of getting rid of their swelling. Once they receive their purchase, they are even more frustrated because they are not able to don the garment. The correct compression, correct size, and style are some of the secrets to being a successful support hose (compression stocking or support sock) wearer.

For someone with little or no swelling, an 8-15mmHg compression may give the gentle message they desire.

For someone with mild swelling or to prevent varicose veins, a 15-20 compression may give them support they want.

For someone with moderate swelling, a 20-30mmHg compression may give them all the “squeeze” they need.

Here are some guide lines we follow when fitting a new client:

  • 8-15mmHg compression is generally used for
    • Minor ankle, leg and foot swelling
    • Those who want just a little gentle massage to help their tired, fatigued legs
    • A client who is very elderly and has serious heart problems or is not able to don a higher compression
  • 15-20mmHg compression is used for
    • Minor varicose veins
    • Travel (when there is no other leg problems)
    • Prevention of varicose veins during pregnancy
    • Post Sclerotherapy
  • 20-30mmHg compression is used for
    • Moderate to severe varicose veins
    • Moderate swelling (edema)
    • Post Sclerotherapy
    • Prevention of recurrence of venous ulcerations
    • Superficial Thrombophlebitis
    • Post surgical
    • Management of Neuropathy
    • Travel
    • Prophylaxis during pregnancy
    • Burn scar management
    • DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) prevention
    • Healing of joint replacement
  • 30-40mmHg compression is used for
    • Severe varicose veins
    • Severe edema
    • Lymphedema
    • Management of active venous ulcerations
    • Prevention of recurrence of venous ulcerations
    • Prevention of Post-Thrombotic Syndrome
    • Management of PTS (Post-Thrombotic Syndrome)
    • Orthostatic Hypotension
    • Post Surgical
    • Post Sclerotherapy
    • Burn Scar Management.

For our returning clients, are you having problems such as your garment not containing your edema or your garment is rolling, pinching or otherwise not fitting properly? Call our Certified Fitters at 1-844-472-8807. Your problems could be due to wrong compression, wrong size, or wrong garment. For example a knee high 20-30mmHg from one manufacturer does not fit the same as the same garment from another manufacturer. Even different styles of garments from the same manufacturer (such as casual compared to dress) can fit different.

In conclusion a properly fitting compression garment of the proper compression and correct style can make your legs happy!
Our goal at SupportHosePlus.com has always been to help you improve the quality of your life!

Vanda

Lymphedema – Causes and Control

Every one knows this is Breast Cancer Awareness month, but we have many clients who have already been diagnosed with breast cancer and are working diligently to make others aware. Another topic we need to be aware of is Lymphedema after Breast Cancer Therapy, but wait, Lymphedema can be caused by any change in the lymphatic system. During surgery for cancer, physicians may take out lymph nodes near the tumor to see if the cancer has spread. The lymph nodes are collectors of lymph (a clear fluid which contains proteins, salts, and water, as well as white blood cells, which help fight infections) and removing them makes it harder for lymph to move to areas where it enters the blood stream. If the remaining lymph vessels cannot remove enough of the lymph in an area, the excess fluid builds up in the fatty tissues just under the skin and causes swelling most often in the arms or legs. Radiation treatment can also affect the lymph flow by causing scarring of the vessels. The lymph fluid that collects in the skin and underlying tissues can be very uncomfortable. Lymphedema usually develops slowly and may be mild to severe. It can keep nutrients from reaching the cells, interfere with wound healing, and lead to infections.An example of Lymphedema from SupportHoseStore.com

Early on, the swelling may be relieved by raising the affected limb and the skin usually stays soft. But over time, the swollen area may become hot and red and the skin hard and stiff.

Lymphedema garments are necessary after reduction of swelling

Lymphedema Garments are Necessary After Reduction of Swelling

If you think you are developing Lymphedema, get to a MLD (manual lymphatic drainage) Therapist as soon a possible!! Your extremity may need to be wrapped in bandages to reduce the swelling and the therapist will do special massages to open up the lymphatic vessels remaining so the lymph will drain. Once the therapist has achieved results, the therapist will recommend compression garments (armsleeve, glove, or gauntlet for the arms and stockings – usually 20-30 mmHg or 30-40 mmHg for the legs).

Caresia Bandage Liners from SupportHoseStore.com

Caresia Bandage Liners from SupportHosePlus.com

Sometimes you will find you need to go back into bandages at night for a “tune-up” to maintain the control you have achieved over Lymphedema. We have a simplified solution to the bandages
Caresia by Solaris (used to replace multi-layered bandaging during the active phase of therapy and transition to a night time garment).

I would like to leave with this thought; if you are at risk for Lymphedema, wear your compression garments!! If Lymphedema does develop, get to a MLD therapist immediately. Lymphedema will never go away, but with a good MLD Therapist and following a good program of skin care, massage, and compression garments, it can be controllable.

Thanks,
Vanda