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?

Guard Agains Varicose Veins and DVT

June is Men’s Health Month.  It is the goal of Support Hose Plus to heighten the awareness of preventable leg health problems for men and to encourage men to wear their support socks to prevent leg health problems.

Most men think varicose veins are just a cosmetic problem (a woman thing), however varicose veins are just as detrimental to men’s leg health as women’s leg health.

Here are some reasons men should choose to wear support socks or support thigh highs:

  • Tired achy legs
  • Heavy legs
  • Swollen legs
  • Leg pain from prolonged sitting or standing
  • Dull, aching pain in legs
  • 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
  • Family history of venous disease
  • Travel (to prevent a deadly Deep Vein Thrombosis)
  • Surgery (to prevent a deadly Deep Vein Thrombosis)
  • Orthostatic Hypotension ( a form of low that happens when you stand up from sitting or lying down…dizzy spell)
  • Injury

Men seem to be very self-conscious of wearing support socks, but many professional athletes know the value of wearing a compression sock. Can you imagine if one of the valued players of the NBA got a DVT because he did not wear compression when he traveled or had an injury to his leg? Not only would he be on out of the game, but his whole team would be put at disadvantage.

Think of the professional athlete…ProBasketballAthlete

  • 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 athletic socks 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.

weekendwarriorsYou may be a “week-end warrior” not a professional athlete, but you can also appreciate what support socks can do for your sporting activities as well as your everyday living. Why should the you not have the same advantages as the athlete? By taking action to wear an appropriate compression garment, you could prevent more serious problems which ultimately could affect your quality of life as well as your family.

weekendwarrior

It is not just the week-end warriors that need the support socks. All males can use compression socks to increase circulation and guard against varicose veins and DVT everyday. I want the best for the males in my life. They are just as important to me as the valued NBA player is to his team. So lets encourage all the men we know to visit with their physician if they have any problems listed above and wear their support socks faithfully.  Remember, you can always call one of the SupportHosePlus.com Certified Fitters on our toll-free number, 1-844-472-8807, for assistance with the selection of a garment.

Hope all of our loved ones have healthy legs,

Vanda Lancour

Physical Fitness And Sports Month

Support Hose Plus is supporting the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition in conjunction with National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.  We are challenging everyone to get outside during this beautiful weather and just walk!

Physical activity increases your chances of living a longer, healthier life and reduces the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer. According to the CDC 80% of Americans do not get the recommended amounts of physical exercise and are setting themselves up for years of health problems.

Weekly Physical Activity guidelines for Americans:

  • 2 hrs 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week
  • 2 days a week of muscle-strengthening activities such as lifting weights, using exercise bands, activities that use your body weight for resistance, heavy gardening, or yoga.

Moderate aerobic activity could include walking fast, dancing, swimming, water aerobics, riding a bike, playing doubles tennis, pushing a lawn mower and raking leaves.

Two hours and 30 minutes sounds like a lot of time each week, but it can be broken down to 30 minutes a day or into even small segments as long as you are doing physical activity for alt least 10 minutes at a time.
SeniorUsingWeights

Muscle strengthening activities should work all major muscle groups and needs to done to the point that is hard do another repetition. Usually 8-12 repetitions count a 1 set.  1 set is a good beginning, but 2 or 3 will yield more benefits.
According to the CDC, physical inactivity can lead to obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.  A study liked physical inactivity to more than 5 million deaths world wide per year, more than those caused by smoking.

Physical activity strengthens bones and muscles and reduces stress and depression, making it easier to maintain a healthy body weight or reduce weight if obese. People who do loose weight get substantial benefits from regular physical activity such as lowering blood pressure, controlling diabetes and thwarting cancer. Physical activity can also lower the risk of falls and improve cognitive function.

Being physically active has total body benefits.  Physical, emotional, as well as mental benefits can be achieved by becoming more active.

Increased physical activity can go so far as increasing the life span and we all know the benefits of support hose. There is no better way to start our journey to a healthier life than for us to get our support stockings or support socks on and get outside for a wonderful walk.

Hope you have a great walk,

Vanda Lancour
www.supporthoseplus.com

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

Keep Your Feet Healthy

We hear on the news about people walking across the country to raise money for good causes and we marvel at such an undertaking, but did you know the average person walks about 115,000 miles in their lifetime? That is to say they walk around the earth 4 times in their lifetime! Wow! Now, I know no one is going to start out on such a journey, but we need to pay particular attention to the health of our feet so we can complete this lifetime journey. Your feet support your body; help you maintain balance, and mobility. They are your foundation, shock absorbers, and propulsion engine all in one. The human foot is amazing. The foot and ankle has 26 bones (the bones in your two feet comprise about one quarter of the total bones in the human body), 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles and tendons. The foot is capable of handling hundreds of tons of force…your body in motion. The stress of carrying you around all day puts your feet at high risk for injury more so than any other part of the body.

happyfeetOur feet are the second sweatiest part of our body (first place goes to our armpits) There are 250,000 sweat glands on each foot which can create ½ to 1 cup of perspiration per day. Unless this moisture is wicked away, our feet will become soggy and the skin will be soft and damp. Damp skin can become mushy and damage more easily than dry skin. Compression socks and compression stockings (support socks and support stockings) all have a built in wicking action to move the dampness away from the feet to the outside of the garment where evaporation occurs.

For this reason, we must pay particular attention to the health of our feet. Your legs and feet must last a life-time. You should check your feed daily for signs of cuts bruises, calluses, bunions, fungal infections and other signs of foot problems. You should check for swelling as it can be a sign or more serious circulatory issues. The feet should be washed regularly, dried completely with a thin cloth, and moisturized. Always wear your support socks or support stockings to assist your venous system moving fluids through your body, wick moisture away from your feet, and to protect your feet.

Walking is one of the best exercises to maintain your body weight reduces the risk of diabetes, and help your body healthy remain healthy. In the morning check your feet, apply a good lotion, put on your support hose or support socks and go outside to enjoy the beautiful morning.

Remember healthy feet are happy feet,

Vanda
http://www.supporthoseplus.com

2015 March is Lymphedema Awareness Month Know the Symptoms and the Solutions

LymphaticSystem_FemaleSmMarch is Lymphedema awareness month. That means it is our call to educate you, our clients, so you can spread the word about Lymphedema. Lymphedema happens when the lymphatic system is not complete or is disturbed. The lymphatic system is a system that consists of tissue such as the lymph vessels, lymph nodes and lymph and organs primarily the tonsils, adenoids, spleen and thymus.  Lymph is a colorless, transparent fluid which originates in the tissue space through out the body. Its responsibility is to remove excess body fluids, bacteria, viruses, proteins and waste products from the body tissue. Lymph nodes (small bodies scattered along lymph vessels) act as cleaning filters to destroy pathogens, inactivate toxins and remove particulate matter and aid in your body’s immune system to fight infection. The lymph nodes, thymus gland, tonsils, and spleen produce lymphocytes which enhance the body’s immunity. Lymph flows in one direction urged along its journey by contraction of skeletal muscles and smooth muscle fibers in the walls of the lymphatic vessels and movement of the diaphragm until it dumps its cargo back into the circulatory system. Lymph flow in this system is very slow (3 liters per day) compared to our circulatory system (5 liters per hour). When the lymphatic system is disrupted, the lymph pools in the interstitial spaces and swelling occurs.

There are two types of Lymphedema- Primary and Secondary

 Primary Lymphedema happens seemingly without cause. It may be present at birth, become apparent at puberty or after age 35. Primary Lymphedema occurs more frequently in women than in men.

Secondary Lymphedema is caused by injury, accident, surgery, or radiation to an area of lymph nodes. There are approximately 2 million cases of secondary Lymphedema. It may develop months, even years after injury, surgery, or radiation. It has even occurred over 20 years later.

Factors that contribute to Lymphedema:

  • Surgery and/or radiation therapy
  • Post operative infections
  • Obesity
  • Infections (insect bites, athletes foot, parochial-bacterial or fungal infection where the nail and skin meet at the side or the base of a finger or toe)
  • Sedentary lifestyles
  • Dependent limb position
  • Recurrent tumor
  • Trauma to remaining lymphatics
  • Untreated edema from venous insufficiency can progress to venous/lymphatic disorder which is treated as Lymphedema

Many treatments have been tried to control Lymphedema. Diuretics only stimulate the kidneys to remove more fluid which results in a higher protein concentration and hardening of the tissue. Some success has been shown in lymph node transplants, but this is a very slow process to grow the lymphatic system and the final decision on the effectiveness of this treatment is still out. The one tried and true treatment is initiated by a therapist doing Manual Lymphedema Drainage (moving lymph to areas where lymph nodes can collect the lymph and transport it), teaching special exercise, and wrapping the effected area. Once the therapist determines the maximum reduction has been reached, then compression garments can be worn. Sometimes these can be ready to wear and sometimes they must be custom measured.

Once Lymphedema has developed, it is a lifetime of management with

  • Meticulous hygiene and topical skin products
  • Manual lymph Drainage (MLD) – which you may be able to learn to do your self
  • Special Exercises to help move the lymph along
  • Compression garments to help maintain you hard worked for size

There are times when a Lymphedema patient will need to return to bandages for a night or so just as a tune-up to maintain the reduction that was achieved.

I would like to leave you with the awareness of what Lymphedema is and the fact that if you have venous insufficiency and do not wear your compression stocking, it can progress and become a disease that is much harder to control.

Please call one of the SupportHosePlus.com Certified Fitters on our toll-free number,  1-844-472-8807, who are able to assist you in the selection of a compression garment that will meet your lifestyle needs.

 Vanda