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?

Compression, Physical Fitness and Sports

athletic3May is Physical Fitness and Sports Month. I would like to direct this news letter to our athletes. You would think young, athletic people would have no problems with their legs, but that is not correct. Sports activities which add more weight to the legs (weightlifting, skiing, backpacking) and repetitive motion sports (running, cycling, and tennis) put a lot of stress on the veins in the legs and can damage the delicate valves in the veins and exacerbate venous insufficiency in the athlete.

When athletes are exercising, their muscles require more oxygen. The arteries transport the oxygen rich blood and the active muscles help the veins return the oxygen poor blood to the heart. Once the exercise has ended, there is no calf muscle pump to help the veins return the blood. So the legs of the athlete with varicose veins may begin to ache, throb and feel heavy. If the legs are elevated, this will help the body defy gravity and return the oxygen poor blood to the heart. This is exactly how compression socks or support socks will help the athlete and may in the long run help prevent deep vein thrombosis. Performance socks use science to help professional athletes as well as the week-end warrior maximize performance as well as recovery.

A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is the formation of a blood clot within a deep vein, usually in the legs. A pulmonary embolism (PE) is blockage caused by a blood clot in one of the pulmonary arteries in your lungs. It usually originates from a blood clot in the legs (DVT).  You would think the athlete less likely to develop blood clots than the elderly. But that is the problem. Health care  providers think the same way so when an athlete presents with Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) symptoms, they interpret the symptoms as “muscle tear, “Charlie horse”, “twisted ankle”, or “shin splints”.  Chest symptoms from an athlete with a Pulmonary Emboli (PE) are often interpreted as pulled muscle, inflammation of the joint between ribs and breast bone, bronchitis, asthma, or a touch of pneumonia.

Being an athlete and being apparently healthy does not guarantee they will not get blood clots. There are several risk factors that put the athlete as well as the non-athlete at increased risk for DVT and PE…

  • Traveling long distances to and from sports events. It does not matter if it is by plane, bus, or car
  •  Dehydration (during and after a sport activity)
  •  Significant trauma
  •  Immobilization (wearing a brace or cast)
  •  Bone fracture or major surgery
  •  Birth control pills and patch, pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy
  •  Family history of DVT or PE
  •  Presence of inherited or acquired clotting disorder (Factor V Leiden, prothrombin 20210 mutation, antiphospholipid antibodies, and other clotting defects or deviancies
  •  Presence of a congenital abnormal formation of the veins
  •  May-Thurner Syndrome (narrowing of the major left pelvic vein)
  •  Narrowing or absence of the inferior vena cava (the main vein in the abdomen
  •  Cervical rib causing thoracic outlet obstruction

Built to performWhen an athlete works out, the muscles of the body act as a secondary pump to help move the blood back to the heart. The athlete also has a slower heart rate than the average person. During performance that is wonderful, but at times, that can be detrimental. After a work out or when the athlete travels the heart does not move the blood through the circulatory system as quickly as when the athlete is exercising. This is when a sock of at least 15-20mmHg is extremely important. It keeps the blood from pooling in the deep veins and forming a DVT.

Call one of the SupportHosePlus.com Certified Fitters on our toll-free number, 1-844-472-8807, for assistance with the selection of performance and/or recovery socks to enhance performance or prevent DVT and PE.

Enjoy your day!

Vanda Lancour

Who Looks Out For The Security of Your Legs

Spring has officially arrived here in the Northern Hemisphere or has it. A couple who are friends have returned to their home on the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan after a lengthy vacation traveling the nice warm southern United States and are questioning their decision to return at this time. They shared on Facebook that they woke up to snow on the deck, the bay is still frozen and it was 35 degrees. For the rest of us the spring time weather like here in Amarillo, Texas gives us the travel bug.

If you are flying, airport security will be looking out for your safe flight by checking for bombs in shoes, explosives in hats, and (oh, of course) the .357 magnum that someone “forgot” to take out of their carry on bag. But what are you doing to make sure you arrive at your destination safely and are not attacked by enemies of a differ kind, Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) or the even more deadly Pulmonary Embolism (PA).  Either one can ruin a wonderful vacation. It is not just flying that can create these enemies… any travel by car, bus, or train that lasts 5 hours or longer is a candidate for creating these vacation ruining enemies. 

Air travel has been put on the most wanted poster more times because you are sandwiched between two other travelers, you are sitting, and sitting, and sitting in very dry, low-pressure air with lower than normal oxygen levels. Your legs are bent in the same position for hours and the seat you are sitting in for your safety is constructed with a fairly rigid  metal frame which is cutting into the back of your legs compressing the popliteal vein and slowing down the blood returning to your heart. It is at this point that you become a great candidate for a DVT. As I said, you do not have to be on a plane for this to occur…all you have to do is travel for long distances in the same position. Sitting can be dangerous for your health!

Lets make your journey one you remember because of the wonderful time you have and not because you encountered your enemies DVT and PA. Begin by choosing support socks (knee high will usually be appropriate) that will aid in returning the blood in your lower extremity back to your heart. If you have no swelling in your legs, no predisposition for developing a DVT then a 15-20mmHg compression will probably be adequate.  

Following is a list of factors that increase the risk of developing DVT:

  • 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 a 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

If you swell when you are not traveling or are predisposed to developing a DVT, you should choose a 20-30mmHg compression or discuss this with your physician. It is up to you to be proactive to make sure your legs arrive safely.

Here’s to a wonderful journey and thanks for shopping SupportHosePlus.com,

Vanda

PS: Next week things you can do when you travel that can save your life.

March is DVT Awareness Month – Symptoms of DVT

This month is DVT Awareness Month and we have been addressing different aspects of this malady. This week we are looking at symptoms of DVT. While most victims of DVT
(Deep Vein Thrombosis- blood clots in the deep veins) are 60 years or older, DVT can strike anyone – young or old – athlete or sedate – especially if they have risk factors. DVT is the silent killer and may present with minimal symptoms. Age, family history, obesity, immobility, pregnancy, recent surgery or injury to the hips or knees, contraceptive pills, and hormone replacement therapy are some risk factors that make a DVT more likely to occur.

Signs and Symptoms of DVT

  • Pain in the leg or pelvis region
  • Tenderness and swelling of the leg
  • Discoloration of the leg (reddish)
  • Areas of the leg or pelvis region that feel warm to touch
  • Whole leg swelling

Symptoms of DVT can be similar to other conditions, like a pulled muscle or “Charlie horse” and can delay diagnosis. Some people may have no symptoms.

Blood clots are more common in the left leg, possibly because the femoral artery in that leg passes anterior to the vein, and may compress the vein. Symptoms of a DVT from travel do not always develop immediately after travel, but more likely within three days of arrival at your destination.Symptoms may not manifest themselves for up to two weeks after a long trip

Potential complication of a DVT is the possibility of a Pulmonary Embolism (PE). A PE happens when a piece of the blood clot breaks off and travels through the bloodstream and becomes lodged in the lung.

Signs and Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism

  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Chest pain-sharp, stabbing: may get worse with deep breath
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Unexplained cough, sometimes with bloody mucus

If you suspect a pulmonary embolism, call 911 or go to the nearest ER. Having this knowledge could save your life!

If you have associated risk factors, or want to help prevent the risk of developing a blood clot, it is important to wear gradient compression hose especially during travel due to prolonged immobility. Stockings also help to relieve swelling, pain and post thrombotic syndrome (PTS). PTS is a late complication of DVT in which signs and symptoms may include pain, edema, hyperpigmentation and skin ulceration. DVT treatments include anticoagulant medicines and surgery. If you want to help prevent the occurrence of a DVT you should look at your risk factors, exercise your legs, wear loose-fitting clothing, keep hydrated with water and wear graduated compression stockings.

You should become familiar with the symptoms of DVT so you may be your own activist.

Save a friend or loved one – tell them about DVT!

Vanda
PS Since we have the medi sale on, I thought I would share with you some of our favorite styles

medi Sheer and Soft attractive in appearance – only you will know they are medical support hose

medi Comfort  durable, discreet and semi-sheer – easier to don (put on) and doff (take off) because of the latest knitting technology

medi forMen styled and sized for men – available in regular and petite (short) lengthM

Why Do I Need To Wear Support Socks or Support Hose

NewRXYour Primary Care Physician (PCP) has recommended you wear compression stockings or has referred you to a physician whose specialty is Vascular Surgery; you walk away with a prescription for support hose or support socks. That is not unusual. The physician may have said something about chronic venous insufficiency or the valves in the veins in your legs are not functioning properly. This too is not unusual.

It is estimated that at least 80 million Americans (over 25% of the population of the US) have some form of venous disease. Venous insufficiency can lead to varicose veins and much worse such as venous hypertension, inflammation and congestion in the tissue of the legs and is responsible for symptoms such as edema, pain, aching legs, skin discoloration, and leg fatigue.

Varicose veins are not just a cosmetic issue; if left untreated varicose veins can escalate into more serious issues such as venous ulcers, blood clots (deep vein thrombosis…DVT) and lower extremity cellulitis. Even restless leg syndrome has been linked to venous insufficiency.

Venous ulcers are wounds (deep sores) that are thought to occur due to valves in the veins in your legs are not functioning properly. They develop along the medial distal leg (inside lower leg), and can be very painful.

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the dermis (deep layer of skin) and the subcutaneous tissue (soft tissue and fat layer). Bacteria are normally present on the skin and do no harm unless the skin is broken. Cellulitis is usually caused by streptococci or staphylococci groups found on the surface of the skin. The bacteria can enter the dermis from just a small bump, but people with poor circulation are more likely to develop cellulitis because the blood supply is not ideal for fighting infections.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in a deep vein (usually in the legs). Symptoms may include pain, swelling, redness and warmness. The DVT can become a life-threatening complication by traveling to the lungs and becoming a pulmonary embolism.

When a patient is fit properly they are very happy that their legs feel so much betterThere are a great many “young people” who are physically active and appear to have no other predisposition to develop a DVT, but they receive an injury and the DVT quickly forms. There are “older people” who are much more sedate, but their circulatory system could use a little help. Venous disease knows no age or gender. With all these possible scenarios, would it not be easier just to wear the support hose or support socks? There are a great variety of support socks and support hose available to meet the need of almost every age as well as activity (and more products coming to the market everyday). Just call one of the Certified Fitters at Support Hose Plus on our toll-free number, 1-844-472-8807. Our Certified Fitters who will be please to assist you in choosing a product for your life styles….pretty stockings and dress socks for the days you need to really look good or athletic socks for those work outs or socks for active lifestyles. Don’t be confused call for help from one of our Certified Fitters at 1-844-472-8807.

Vanda
www.supporthoseplus.com

Summer Travelers Be Alert and Prevent DVT

It is that time of the year again for summer vacations here in the northern hemisphere. Each year we send a reminder to our clients about how important it is to wear your compression socks or compression stockings especially when you travel. The number of travel-related vein conditions is increasing each year. No matter how you travel, blood circulation in the lower extremity is reduced simply because you sitting in one position. Symptoms such as heavy legs, leg pain or swollen feet and ankles develop. The reduced circulation in the lower leg can lead to blood clots or even worse the blood clots could break loose and travel to the lungs, resulting in pulmonary embolism which can be deadly.

Blood clots are more common in the left leg, possibly because the femoral artery in that leg passes anterior to the vein, and may compress the vein. Symptoms do not usually develop immediately after travel, but more likely within three days of arrival at your destination. Symptoms may not manifest themselves for up to two weeks after a long trip.

DVT kills more people every year than AIDS, breast cancer, and traffic accidents combined. You should become familiar with the symptoms of DVT so you may be your own activist.

Signs and Symptoms of DVT

  • Pain in the leg or pelvis regionPeople In Airplane
  • Tenderness and swelling of the leg
  • Discoloration of the leg (reddish)
  • Areas of the leg or pelvis region that feel warm to touch
  • Whole leg swelling

Symptoms of DVT can be similar to other conditions, like a pulled muscle or “Charlie horse” and can delay diagnosis. Some people may have no symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism

  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Chest pain-sharp, stabbing: may get worse with deep breath
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Unexplained cough, sometimes with bloody mucus

If you suspect a pulmonary embolism, call 911 or go to the nearest ER. Having this knowledge could save your life!

Things You Can Do To Prevent DVT When You Travel

  • Wear comfortable, loose clothing
  • Get up and walk once every hour or two
  • Make figure eights and circles with your feet while seated
  • Breathe deeply frequently
  • Drink plenty of water (Avoid excessive alcohol intake – it dehydrates the body)
  • Elevate your feet when possible

Just remember to wear support socks or support stockings when you travel and continue to wear them for the next day after your arrival at your destination to make sure your legs return to normal size. Encourage friends or family who are traveling with you to do the same. (They may not know about the dangers of Travel Related DVT.) They may not have any problems, so a 15-20mmHg compression may be adequate for them. If they are looking for a low cost product, each of our major manufacturers makes a low cost garment that would be appropriate for travel… Jobst Relief, Mediven Active, Sigvaris Casual Cotton, Juzo Basic.  We also have economical products from  and Therafirm that may fit their budget better.

Wearing compression stockings during travel has been proven to reduce heavy feeling legs, swollen feet and ankles as well as the likelihood of developing DVT.

Note: If you have an existing venous conditions, currently having swelling or are at risk for DVT, see your doctor before long distance travel (more than four hours). He/she will prescribe a garment in the appropriate compression for you for travel or send you to a knowledgeable company such as Support Hose Plus who can assist you.

Monday the 72-year opera star, Placido Domingo, was admitted to a Madrid, Spain hospital with a pulmonary embolism caused by a Deep Vein Thrombosis. He has cancelled up to 5 appearances as his doctors have ordered him to rest for three to four weeks. Domingo is expected to make a full recovery. Contributing factors could have been the singer’s age as well as his heavy performance schedule that he maintains.

According to the National Blood Clot Alliance “350,000 – 600,000 in the United States develop blood clots every year. About 100,000 people in the U.S. die each year from blood clots…”. That means about 1 in 3.5 to 1 in 6 people in the U.S. who get blood clots die from them. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like those odds. I ‘ll be wearing my support stockings!

Happy and Safe Travels,

Vanda
www.supporthoseplus.com

DVT and Pulmonary Embolism Associated with Factor V Leiden and Other Clotting Disorders

In our last newsletter we discussed the fact that the news anchor, David Bloom, had developed a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) which broke loose and became a Pulmonary Embolism which took his life. David had many risk factors such as prolonged immobility, dehydration as well as long-haul flights to Iraq which probably contributed to the development of David’s blood clot. David had a silent risk factor which he did not know about. He had Factor V Leiden – an inherited blood coagulant disorder that can increase a person’s risk of DVT. Factor V Leiden is the most common inherited clotting disorder in the United States.This disorder is present in 2% to 7% of Caucasians, less often in Hispanics and rarely in Asians and African-Americans. It accounts for 20% to 40% of cases of DVT.  Factor V Leiden is usually a hidden disorder, until someone in the family, someone who is athletic and healthy develops a DVT. Screening for Factor V Leiden is not usually done unless there are several members of the family who develop clots or one person develops several. Blood clots from Factor V Leiden can occur anywhere. The factor can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, miscarriage, or gallbladder dysfunction.

There are other inherited conditions which can cause blood clot formation. These include:

  • Prothrombin gene mutation
  • Deficiencies of natural proteins that prevent clotting (such as antithrombin, protein C, and protein S)
  • Elevated levels of homocysteine
  • Elevated levels of fibrinogen or dysfunctional fibrinogen
  • Elevated levels of factor VIII (this is still being investigated as an inherited condition) and other factors including factor IX and XI
  • Abnormal fibrinolytic system

There are other conditions that increase a person’s risk of developing blood clots and do not necessarily indicate a genetic risk. However, you may want to have a serious discussion with your physician about testing for these factors if you have:

  • Several members of your family with blood clots
  • Abnormal blood clotting at a young age (less than 50 years old)
  • Blood clots in unusual locations or sites, such as veins in the arms, liver, intestines, kidney or brain
  • Idiopathic blood clots (no clear cause)
  • Blood clots that reoccur
  • History of frequent miscarriages
  • Stroke at a young age

Just as it is important for you to know your risk factors for DVT, it is important for you to be aware of blood clots in your family history and their cause and wear your support stockings or support socks.

This is the last in this series of March is DVT Awareness Month. We hope you have enjoyed it. If you have missed any, they are all here on our blog, Ask Vanda  just scroll down to view. We would love to have you leave a comment about a DVT you have experienced or about a risk you have from a factor deficiency.

Vanda
www.supporthoseplus.com