Written by: Debbie Dvorachek, LPN,WCC at the Agnesian Health Shoppe
As women, we all want to enjoy healthy and active lives. However, with all the tasks of work, family …. we may forget about maintaining the health of our legs. While concerns with veins of the leg occur in both men and women of all ages, certain factors increase the risk of venous issues. Health conditions, lifestyle habits, heredity, injury, surgery, age and pregnancy all play a role. While you are unable to control heredity, age, surgery and changes during pregnancy, you can improve lifestyle factors through exercise, good posture, avoiding inactivity, choosing good fitting clothing and footwear, and wearing gradient compression stockings.
Gradient compression delivers a squeezing to the leg that is tightest at the ankle. The degree of squeezing or compression gradually decreases up the leg. This compression, generally expressed in mmHg (millimeters of mercury) provides two main benefits. The most beneficial effects of compression are its effects on the capillaries and tissue spaces. Compression is believed to increase the pressure in the tissues beneath the skin therefore reducing excess leakage of fluid from the capillaries and increasing absorption of tissue fluid by the capillaries and lymphatic vessels. As a result, compression reduces and helps prevent swelling. The physical presence of the stocking also helps control the size (diameter) of superficial veins beneath the stocking. The stocking does not allow these superficial veins to over expand with blood. This action helps prevent “pooling.” The venous blood then flows more quickly up the leg towards the heart.
Women can benefit from compression stockings whether they suffer from tired aching legs because of spending too much time standing or sitting, or suffer from more serious issues like swelling and venous disease. Gradient compression stockings can be fit for all shapes and sizes from tall to petite, large frame to small. There are a wide range of colors and styles to meet women’s need from sport socks, trouser socks or nylons. While women want comfort, health and style in their stockings, they can also take care of their leg health with gradient compression stockings.