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

September Is Healthy Aging Month 2014

September, “Healthy Aging” month, was started to give seniors and those “almost seniors” a way to make little changes in their lives which can greatly affect their quality of life down the road. 76 million baby boomers are over the age of 50. Next year the first of the generation x-ers will reach that milestone! Now you and I know growing older is one of the hardest things we have done. (Perhaps it is just something we thought would never happen to us.) We need to look at the positive aspects and not the negative aspects of growing old. We need to realize that it is not too late to take control, because it is never too late to start something new. We have the opportunity to reinvent ourselves with a new career, new sports activity, passion or hobby.

I read something the other day… “Dance like there’s no tomorrow“, it really caught my eye. Just as getting better oxygen flow to the lower extremities by wearing support stockings improves your leg health; exercise increases the oxygen to the brain. Older adults involved in regular physical activity are less likely to get dementia.

No matter our age, we should all be eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. We still have a great abundance available in the markets and we should be taking advantage of the difference they can make in our health. For example a woman my age should be eating at least 1.5 cups fresh fruit and 2 cups of vegetables a day. If you are not eating at least this, you are neglecting your health. Fresh fruits and vegetable contain fiber as well as vitamins and minerals your body needs to fight chronic diseases such as stroke, cardiovascular diseases, and some cancers.

It use to be the baby boomers we were addressing, but now generation x-ers are inching their way into the over 50 category and many have the same interests as the previous generation. There are so many small steps you can take so you can enjoy “Healthy Aging” “Dance like there is no tomorrow“, eat healthy, and breath deep and slow.

To share steps you are taking to help insure your health later on click here, scroll to the bottom of the blog entry and leave a message as a guest.

Here’s to our “Healthy Aging”,

Vanda
www.supporthoseplus.com

Let’s Keep Your Legs Looking Great

EnlargedVeinAndDamagedVein

Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) is one of the leading causes of swollen feet, ankles, and legs. There are several things that can cause CVI. In CVI the butterfly valves which help blood move from the lower extremity back to the heart are damaged (incompetent) and do not close properly. Ultimately long-term blood pressure in the leg veins that is higher than normal causes CVI. Prolonged sitting or standing can stretch the superficial vein walls and damage the valves. Compression stockings and compression socks help the veins to close by applying a specific amount of pressure to the leg (this is the compression which your physician recommends). The compression stockings and compression socks also work with the muscles of the lower extremity to act as a secondary heart pump to move the blood out of the lower extremity and back to the heart.

  • Ankle swelling
  • Tight feeling calves
  • Heavy, tired, restless or achy legs
  • Pain while walking or shortly after stopping

At the end of the day, someone with CVI may experience only slight swelling and their legs may be tired and heavy. Now is the time to visit your physician and get some compression socks or compression stockings to keep the CVI from becoming worse.

  • Family history of varicose veins
  • Being overweight
  • Not exercising enough
  • Being pregnant
  • Smoking
  • Sitting or standing for long periods of time

If you have a parent who has had varicose veins, if you are overweight, or if you sit or stand for long periods of time, again now is the time to visit your physician and get some compression socks or compression stockings to keep the CVI from becoming worse.

CVI can be diagnosed by your physician by reviewing your patient history and a physical exam. The physician may also measure the blood pressure in your legs and examine any varicose veins you may have. To confirm a diagnosis of CVI, the physician will usually order a duplex ultrasound or a venogram. A duplex ultrasound uses sound waves to measure the speed of blood flow and visualizes the structure of the leg veins. A venogram is an x-ray that uses a dye (contrast) which enables the physician to see the veins.

Chronic venous insufficiency is usually not considered a health risk; your physician will try to decrease your pain and disability. In mild cases of CVI, compression stockings or compression socks may alleviate the discomfort and swelling. Physicians usually use a 20-30mmHg compression stocking or a 20-30mmHg compression sock for this. The stockings will not make the varicosities go away, but is the least invasive treatment.

Chronic Venous Insufficiency

More serious cases of Chronic Venous Insufficiency require sclerotherapy, ablation, or surgical intervention such as stripping to correct the problematic vein. This is usually done by a vascular specialist or vascular surgeon. During sclerotherapy a chemical is injected in the affected vein or veins and a scar will form from the inside of the vein. During ablation a thin, flexible tube (catheter) with an electrode at the tip will heat the vein walls at the appropriate location to seal the vein. When a vein stripping is done one of the saphenous veins is removed. The physician will make a small incision in the groin area and usually another in the calf below the knee. The veins associated with the saphenous vein will be disconnected and tied off and the vein removed. There are other surgical procedures which are done to improve your leg health. After one of the above procedures 20-30mmHg compression stockings are usually put on and you are told to wear them for a certain length of time. Some physicians will tell their patients on their follow-up visit that it is no longer necessary to wear the compression garments. For me, this is where I have some concerns. If the real underlining cause of CVI (such as family history of varicose veins, being overweight, not exercising enough, smoking or sitting or standing for long periods of time) has not been corrected why would you not continue to wear compression stockings to keep from developing CVI again.

Compression stockings and socks have come a long way in the last few years. They no longer look like the garments our grandparents wore. They look like ordinary stockings and socks and can improve the quality of life. The stigma of wearing compression garments is in the past.

Let’s wear our compression stockings and socks to keep our legs looking great!

Vanda

http://www.supporthoseplus.com

More Questions You Have Asked

Our clients have certainly given us some questions that need to be addressed. One of the main concerns seems to be that of being able to don and doff (put on and take off) their own compression stockings. Staying independent is important to all of us. One question that was asked is if there is a donner for support pantyhose similar to the one for knee high or thigh high support socks. Yes there is. However I do not recommend using it. I believe it is one thing to have one leg in a donner trying to pull up a support sock, but to have both legs involved in a donner I feel could lead to a nasty fall.

It seems everyone wants to know the easiest way to put on support pantyhose. I would like to share with you how I put my panty hose on. I wear 20-30 pantyhose and it takes me about 5 minutes and a bit of patience to put my stockings on in the morning. While it is not an easy task, it is really no more difficult than putting on a pair of knee high stockings. The hardest part of putting on any lower extremity compression garment is getting it over the heel. First I will repeat what I said last week, never gather the stocking. I use the Sigvaris Donning Gloves to put on my support pantyhose. I call them my “magic green gloves”. They enable arthritic hands to have better grasp. I use the little “nubbies” to pinch and pull the stockings up. They also protect my stockings from my fingernails. Even when I have the Sigvaris Donning Gloves on, I use only the balls of the finger tips to grasp the stockings.

First I sit down and with out my “magic green gloves” I pull the stockings on one leg as far as I can.  (For me, it is easier to start with the left leg.) Then I put on my gloves and pull the stocking up and over my heel and then up my leg as high above the knee as I can by pinching the garment and pulling it up. Then I start the other leg into the stocking and use the gloves in the same manner to pull the stocking up to the same level.

When I have them as high up my legs as I can get them while sitting down I remove the gloves, stand up, and pull the stockings up and over my tummy. Once this is accomplished, I put the gloves back on and start at the ankle of each leg and re-stretch the stockings by pinching and pulling all the way up the leg.

Then I take the gloves off and place my hands in the back of the stockings with my palms out. I push away from the body and lift up without grabbing the stockings. This seats the crotch of the pantyhose.

If the color or appearance of the stockings is uneven, I put on the gloves and use the flat of the hand to rub gently up or down the leg to adjust the stocking so it has an even appearance.

peel a banana3

Now that we have managed to put on stockings or socks, how are we going to get them off? I have had clients become so frustrated and panicked that they cut (yes, cut) a very expensive garment off. Same thing applies here as when putting on a compression garment…never gather the garment (or allow it to roll) when removing it. It becomes like the rubber band again and extremely difficult to remove. Instead start at the top and pull the garment down allowing the garment (it does not matter if it is a knee high, thigh high, or pantyhose) to slid on itself until you are able to pull it off your foot. The stocking slides on itself.  Peel your socks off just like you peel a banana.

If the “Peel a banana” method is not working for you, we have another option the Mediven Butler Off. The Butler Off looks similar to a shoe horn. There is a handle on top for pushing and a “tooth” to help push the garment off. The Butler Off is not meant for use with sheer support hose, but with more substantial garments. The Butler Off is not to be used to help push yourself up from a sitting position.

How to Use the Medi Butler Off for Removal of Stockings or SocksHow to use Medi Butler Off

  • Slide the tip of the horn under the top band of the stockings.
  • Now push the handle gently downwards: the far end of the horn slides down your calf and then over your heel. During the whole process the inner surface of the horn should remain in contact with your skin. At the same time the “tooth” helps push the stocking downwards. In order to regain contact with your skin you can start again with the horn a little higher and then continue with the downward movement if necessary.
  • As soon as you reach your heel lift your heel up. Then tilt the stick downwards a little to guide the horn along the underside of your foot. Caution: Make sure you do not press the stocking against the ground with the doffing aid. Otherwise the stocking may be damaged. Now push the handle forwards gently: the stockings slides off your foot, but stays on the horn.

There are more ways to don and doff compression stockings or support socks that these, but perhaps this will get you started. If you have comments or more questions, please click on the title of this newsletter, More Questions You Have Asked, scroll to the bottom of the blog, and leave your message as a guest.

Vanda
www.supporthoseplus.com

 

Santa Didn’t Wear His Support Socks

Hello To All,I Wish I Had Worn My Support Socks

Hope your Holiday season has been kinder to you than it was to our dear old friend Santa Clause. Santa forgot to wear his support socks for his whirl wind world trip and see how swollen his feet are!? If you have not been wearing your support socks or support stockings, your feet may look just like Santa’s and you may feel just as tired as Santa.

All kidding aside, when you take your get away this winter or spring be sure to wear your compression socks or compression stockings. 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 are 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 (DVT) or even worse the blood clots could break loose and travel to the lungs, resulting in a pulmonary embolism (PE) 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. Symptoms include: pain in leg or pelvis, tenderness and swelling of the leg, discoloration of the leg (reddish), areas of the leg or pelvis region that feel warm to touch, or whole leg swelling.

DVT kills more people every year than AIDS, breast cancer, and traffic accidents combined. Don’t be like Santa, wear your support hose or support socks and arrive at your destination ready for a fun time!

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
  • Wear your support sock and stockings from Support Hose Plus

Just remember to wear support socks or support stockings when you travel and continue to wear them for the next few days 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.

Ho! Ho! Ho!
Happy Travels to You and Yours,

Vanda

Secrets of the Best Fitters

Your day does not have to start with struggling to put on your support stockings

Your morning should not have to start like this

Support Hose Tricks We Want You to Know

We all know how much better our legs feel when we wear our support hose and how our quality of life is improved.  Your day does not have to start with struggling to put on your support stockings.

However, many of our customers confess:  “I hate to put on my support stockings because it takes so long” or “I am so tired when I finish putting on my support socks”.  Putting on your compression stockings really does not have to be such a an ordeal as our stocking donning lady appears to be experiencing.

Be sure to put your stockings on first thing in the morning before your legs and feet have a chance to swell.  If necessary, take your bath or shower the night before.  The important trick here is to make sure your legs are dry when you put your stockings on.  This means you may have to put lotion on your legs the night before also.  Let’s make this as easy a possible.

There is a saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”, our good friends at Jobst have gone a step further.
They have created a video which shows proper techniques of putting on your compression stockings without using any type of donning aid and how to use the Jobst Donner.  We hope this video brought to you by Support Hose Plus and Jobst will make your morning more pleasant.

Vanda