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?

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

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

February is American Heart Month 2015

SHP BeKindToYourHeartFebruary is American Heart Month. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) include heart disease, stoke, and high blood pressure is the #1 killer of both men and women in the United States. One in four deaths is attributive to CVD. It is the leading cause that prevents Americans from working and enjoying family activities (quality of life).

Men are twice as likely to die of preventable CVD as women. Having a close relative with CVD puts you at a higher risk. Disparities based on location also seem to exist. During 2007 – 2009, death rates due to heart disease were highest in the South and lowest in the West.

While race and ethnicity also affect your risk, the larger majority of cases are due to risk factors that respond to things we can change.
These factors are:
• High blood pressure
• Obesity
• Elevated cholesterol
• Uncontrolled diabetes
• Being a smoker
• Being sedentary

Heart disease can be silent. We may not know we have it until we have a cardiac event. At that time one or all of the above factors can manifest themselves. That is the reason we are encouraged to have routine check-ups: so we can correct these factors before they lead to heart attack or stroke. Cardiovascular disease can affect your quality of life and we are all about having a great quality of life! As we know race and ethnicity also affect your risk. Be a good example for friends or relatives that you can turn CVD around and have a good quality of life.

We see the heart as a symbol of our love, but it is the organ in our body that enables the transportation of oxygen and carbon dioxide in our blood through our body. As we age the valves in our legs may not function efficiently. This puts more stress on the heart. Compression stockings work with the muscles in our legs to help the valves in our legs close better.

• Love your heart and learn how to keep it healthy
• Go for a yearly physical each year
• Get informed about the 6 risk factors and how you can change them
• Get 30 minutes of moderate exercise 3-5 days a week.

Each one of us must make a personal decision to modify our lifestyles in order to have a better quality of life. So I encourage everyone to put on their support hose or support socks and take a walk. It’s the first step to a healthier heart for you.

Here’s to a healthy you,

Vanda

The Year of the New You

Year Resolution listHere we are once again in January of a brand new year. We have a wonderful year ahead of us. I hope yourlist of New Year’s Resolutions is not as long as our friend in this graphic.
Keep it simple. Begin with one or two realistic and attainable goals for yourself. You know yourself best; so don’t lie to yourself about how many lifestyle changes you can make.

Year What I Plan To Do Make a simple list, write the list and start by establishing a routine which will enable you to reach the goals. It takes 30 days to develop a new habit; so keep at it. If you do not succeed one day that does not mean that you have failed. Simply go back to your routine tomorrow. People who clearly make resolutions and write them down are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who make vague resolutions and don’t write them down.

If your goal is to loose weight, you do not necessarily have to go on this killer starvation diet. Start by increasing your water intake. When you drink more water, you feel fuller and will eat less. You might try to plan nutritious meals at least two days ahead of time. When you have a plan, it is easier to stick to it. Incorporate more vegetables into those planned meals and less carbohydrates. In the long run, you will loose weight and become healthier.

For some of our clients, their goal is to be more compliant in wearing their support socks and stocking. For some, it is a matter of being able to get them on. Support stockings and socks do not do you any good sitting in your dresser drawer. Fitters at Support Plus know the secrets of the best fitters! Call one of us at 1-844-472-8807 and let us assist you in the selection of a donning device which will enable you to reach you goal of wearing you compression stockings or compression socks everyday to improve your quality of life.

Sometimes it is not the ability to don (put the stockings on), but the cost of the stockings which keeps some of our clients from reaching their goal. Did you know that each one of our manufacturers makes a low cost compression stocking and sock:

Therafirm Core-Spun compression compression socks also fall in this low cost category. We have great prices on all of these garments to help you get your New Years Resolutions off to a good start. Save money with quality products at a low cost. If there are so many choices you don’t know which to choose, call one of the Certified Fitters at SupportHosePlus (toll-free 1-844-472-8807). Our Certified Fitters can guide you in the selection of a compression garment to help you keep your New Years Resolution. Let this be The Year of the New You!! If you have worn our low cost compression stockings or low cost compression sock, let us know what you think. Just go to the bottom of this blog entry and leave a comment.

Here’s to The Year of the New You 2015,Year of the New You

Vanda