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

Signs of Orthostatic Hypotension

Do you remember when you were younger and had a lot more energy? Sometimes you would get up too fast and get dizzy. This is called orthostatic hypotension or postural hypotension.  You may feel dizzy, lightheaded, or even faint. You may not have to get up fast any more to experience the dizzy feeling. This episode may last a few seconds to a few minutes after standing. If it lasts longer than that, you need to visit with your physician to make sure there is nothing else to be concerned about. Orthostatic hypotension can occur in anyone, but can be seen particularly in the elderly and those with low blood pressure.

Some of the signs and symptoms of orthostatic hypotension after sudden standing are:

  • Dizziness
  • Intense feelings of well being or disorientation
  • Lightheaded
  • Nausea
  • Distortions in hearing
  • Blurred or dimmed vision
  • Fainting

Orthostatic hypotension is caused primarily by pooling of blood in the lower extremity caused by gravity. This can set off a chain reaction:

  • Venous return to the heart is compromised
  • Decreased cardiac output
  • Lowered arterial pressure
  • Lowered systolic and diastolic pressure
  • Insufficient blood flow to the upper extremity

Normally the blood pressure does not fall very much when you stand, because it automatically triggers vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels caused by muscular contraction of the muscle in the vein wall). Orthostatic hypotension may be aggravated when there is a lower volume of blood present (bleeding, diuretics, dehydration vasodilators or other types of drugs, or prolonged bed rest). There are also certain diseases which could aggravate orthostatic hypotension, but those are best diagnosed and addressed by a physician.

BPStanding BPSitting

One simple test for orthostatic hypotension is taking the blood pressure while sitting or lying down and again when standing.

A drop in systolic blood pressure of 20 mmHg and/or a drop of diastolic blood pressure of 10 mmHg could be diagnostic. A tilt table test or other tests may also be used.

lwa-ask-your-physician

The treatment of orthostatic hypotension will depend on the cause, but physicians will usually review the medications you are currently taking to
make sure there is nothing that could cause your symptoms. Your physician may recommend lifestyle changes such as increase in fluid intake, standing slowly, and avoid bending at the waist. Sometimes wearing compression stockings will help control the drop in blood pressure you have experienced. Some physicians will recommend a 15-20 mmHg knee high: other physicians recommend a 20-30 mmHg knee high. A knee high garment may be adequate to control a mild drop in blood pressure, but in severe cases, a 30-40 mmHg waist high garment may be required. In any case, if you are having symptoms of orthostatic hypotension, consult with your physician.

SupportHosePlus.com offers many styles of garments your physician may recommend. Remember there is a wide range of athletic, dress, casual, and sheer stockings to fit your lifestyle. Check your latest e-mail for specials and call one of the Certified Fitters at SupportHosePlus.com. Toll-free 1-844-472-8807

If you have orthostatic hypotension please share with us how you and your physicians have been able to manage it, go to the bottom of the blog entry and leave a comment.

Vanda

Chocolate and Support Hose

Since we have been talking about February is Heart Health month; I decided to do some searching for things which will help our cardiovascular system. Much to my surprise I found chocolate contains an antioxidant called polyphenols. Polyphenols are phytochemicals that give plants their distinctive colors and provide protection from UV damage, pests and infections. They can be found in blueberries, green tea, and red wine as well as cacao. Foods that contain polyphenols act as antioxidants; protecting proteins, fats and DNA from oxidative damage (this plays a roll in development of aging and degenerative disease, including cardiovascular disease). It has been shown that cacao consumption increased HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and appears to protect LDL for oxidation which may cause atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Polyphenols also seem to protect endothelial function. The endothelium is a thin layer of cells that line the inside of all blood vessels and moderate inflammation. Thus polyphenols promote vascular health.

    Cacao has been found to

  • Modestly improve blood pressure
  • Improve the production of nitric oxide in the body (improves blood flow) and enhance the immune system, and the brain
  • Modulate inflammation in the whole body and yield a lower C-reactive protein level
  • May enhance blood flow to the brain (which may improve memory and protect neurons from damage)
    It is the polyphenols that attract all the attention; however cacao is high in other nutrients

  • Magnesium supports a healthy heart rhythm and blood pressure and supports strong bones
  • Copper is involved in the production of potent internally produced antioxidants

It may not be chocolate’s high polyphenol content, but all these compounds working together that produce chocolate’s health benefits. In a study of women who consumed 41 grams of dark chocolate a day for six weeks, none gained weight. Now 41 grams of dark chocolate might be over-kill. 41 grams is the size of a Hershey’s’ dark chocolate bar. It is estimated that 6.7 grams (0.23 ounces) is the ideal amount (that is about the size of 1 1/2 Hershey’s Kisses).

Cacao NibsWe chocolate lovers are very lucky; there is a lot of research taking place regarding our beloved food. We must be very careful, we are not talking about your run of the mill processed milk chocolate with added milk and sugar which many times contain little or no cacao. All the health benefits of the chocolate get smaller as the percentage of cacao diminishes. To reap the benefits of this delicious, gourmet food, choose dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa (cacao)…70% or higher. I know some of us chocolate lovers cannot see ourselves eating a few squares of dark chocolate each day. There are other ways to get your health fix of cocoa (cacao) daily. Try unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao powder in a smoothie or protein shake, or add cacao nibs to healthy trail mixes. If you are at home in the kitchen you might even want to try a Mexican mole negro or add unsweetened cocoa powder to red chili. Let your imagination run wild!
When we apply a support stocking or support sock to our legs we are helping the damaged valves and incompetent veins in our legs to function more normally

When we apply a support stocking or support sock to our legs we are helping the damaged valves and incompetent veins in our legs to function more normally and increase the blood circulation. Why not work from the inside also by imbibing in a little dark chocolate to protect endothelial function (the lining of our veins), increase circulation, support a healthy heart rhythm, blood pressure, strong bones, and produce antioxidants.

Here’s to a healthy body with dark chocolate and support socks,

Vanda
www.supporthoseplus.com