Category Archives: Vascular Health

Who Can Benefit From Gradient Compression Garments

Gradient compression garments are used to increase blood circulation and reduce swelling in those with circulation disorders and can also assist in athletic performance. Gradient compression socks, for example, apply the greatest amount of pressure near the ankle and decreases as it extends up the calf, stopping under the knee cap. Athletic gradient compression garments, usually made of spandex, offer support all over the body using the same principles to provide structural support. Athletes also use them as a recovery aid. That doesn’t mean that they are only meant for the athletically inclined.
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Medical Uses

Gradient compression garments are often used in hospitals where patients are very sedentary. After an operation, sedentary patients are at risk of deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. This is a condition in which a blood clot forms in a deep vein. DVT normally forms in the lower leg but can also occur in other parts of the body.  According to the UK National Health Service, an untreated DVT can lead to a pulmonary embolism in 1 in 10 of those affected. Pulmonary embolisms occur when the clot breaks loose and travels through the bloodstream to the lungs. The clot can block the blood flow to the lungs which can cause a patient to have trouble breathing, experience chest pain and lose consciousness. If not treated, it can lead to serious complications and even death.

Other conditions where the use of compression garments may be prescribed may include varicose veins (swollen and enlarged veins usually in the legs), skin ulcers, and lymphedema (painful swelling of the lymph nodes.) According to WebMD, gradient compression socks or stockings should be worn at all times except during bathing and sleeping to improve blood flow and problems such as blood pooling in the legs.

Patients may have concerns over whether their health insurance may cover gradient compression stockings. Many insurance companies will cover them if they are considered medically necessary. Patients should always call their insurance company to check if they are covered. Aetna Healthcare lists several conditions that the company considers gradient compression garments to be medically necessary including: Lipodermatosclerosis, Stasis dermatitis (venous eczema), Varicose veins (except spider veins), and Venous edema.

Athletic Performance

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Gradient compression sportswear has several options for athletes including shirts, sleeves, shorts, socks, tights, and more. These garments are often used by athletes such as runners and basketball players to improve circulation and decrease the amount of time that they need to spend recovering. Wearing gradient compression sportswear post-game or activity can also benefit athletes in the same manor.

Gradient compression garments are also likely to help anyone who needs assistance with improving and maintaining circulation. Those at risk of clots in the legs, especially those who are bedbound for a time after surgery, will benefit from wearing compression garments the most. People at risk of deep vein thrombosis, and subsequently a pulmonary embolism, should discuss with their doctor whether compression stockings will help. You don’t have to be an athlete to get the added benefit of gradient compression clothing so the first step is learning more about how you can benefit from the health tool everyone should have.

The Subtle Style and Obvious Benefits of Gradient Compression Socks

Whether you are an athlete with a high training volume, someone who struggles with lymphedema, or just have achy legs from time to time, gradient compression socks are a tool that may greatly improve your quality of life. The “gradient” in the name means that the compression is “designed to deliver a controlled amount of pressure which is greatest at the distal end (ankle) of the garment and gradually decreases towards the proximal end (top) of the stocking.” This stimulates blood flow and helps prevent pooling in the feet and ankles.

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Gradient Compression Socks for Athletes
While gradient compression socks work well for general aches, they can speed muscle recovery by improving circulation. This can be great for those who run or cycle long distances, as well as those who strength train. Increasing blood flow to muscle tissue can speed muscle recovery and relieve post-exercise pain.

Additionally, some runners prefer to wear gradient compression while running, as it can reduce muscle vibration and improve blood flow. They come in a variety of colors, styles, and can be a great way to tie together your running outfit or stand out in a race. Feeling great and looking great have been combined in a sleek package.

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Gradient Compression Socks for Those With Lymphedema and Venous Issues
Lymphedema is a condition that can be alleviated to a great extent by increasing circulation and promoting healthy blood flow. Gradient compression socks encourage the flow of lymphatic fluid back out of the affected leg(s), which can help improve your symptoms and reduce associated pain. Compression socks are useful for many venous disorders, including venous insufficiency, varicose veins, and venous ulcers. Pregnant women who wear them generally see a reduction in leg swelling and the discomfort during pregnancy as well.

Gradient compression socks don’t look like medical devices, so others will be none the wiser about your use of these socks, weather for medical purposes or just a comfortable part of your wardrobe. You can choose subtle tones that blend in with your day-to-day wear, or you can choose brighter colors that stand out.

While wraps or bandages can be used for a similar effect, patients who use them need to make sure they are creating an appropriate pressure. This can be somewhat tricky and time-consuming. With gradient compression socks, simply wearing them as normal socks without any special arrangement will be enough to provide you with the scientifically designed compression.

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Gradient Compression Socks for General Achiness
While gradient compression socks are recommended by physicians for certain circulatory issues and can be beneficial for athletes, they also are helpful for those who experience chronic aches and pains in their legs. This is especially true for those who spend much of the day standing. Because gradient compression socks help promote proper circulation, wearing them can reduce discomfort. They fit easily under clothing, so they are compatible with most work uniforms.

Gradient compression socks offer a convenient way to manage pain and discomfort associated with leg circulation. However, they also are an option with style – you can choose from a variety of colors and lengths making it easy to incorporate into any outfit. When you choose gradient compression socks, you the benefits of a medical device without looking like one.

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Holiday Travel Tips for People with Health Issues

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Photo courtesy of http://getawaytips.azcentral.com.

Thanksgiving weekend is known for being one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.  According to AAA, 48.7 million Americans are expected to pack their bags and journey at least 50 miles away from home to spend the holiday with family or friends this Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving weekend travel can already be stressful due to the sheer numbers of fellow travelers, but travelers with health issues may experience extra stresses.  So, if you’ll be among America’s travelers in a few weeks, follow these travel tips to help you have a smooth and happy holiday trip!

  1. Pack Your Medications– The last thing you need is to be far away from home and not have your necessary medications. Whether you pack them first or last, don’t walk out the door until you’ve checked your medications off your list.
  2. Pack Snacks to Control Your Glucose and Monitor It– Make a pack of snacks that will help you control your glucose level. Make sure you can access it easily or that someone else could easily get to it.  Bring your glucose monitors and pack them close to your snacks.  Monitor your glucose levels as often as you would at home.
  3. Pack Insurance Cards and Other Documentation– No one wants to have a visit to a doctor or emergency room while out of town, but it’s best to be prepared in case it does happen. With the proper cards and documentation, you can better focus on getting the treatment you need, instead of insurance red tape.
  4. Plan Out Time Zone Changes– If you’re going to be in more than one time zone, plan your snacks and monitoring accordingly. Also, ensure that you’ve accounted for time zone changes when taking medications or monitoring glucose levels.
  5. Pack Insulin or Other Temperature-Dependent Medications So That It’s Kept Cool Until Reaching Your Destination– You can use a wide-mouthed, insulated, non-breakable bottle or thermos to help keep your medications cools. Fill the bottle ice or cold water before hand to cool it.  Then empty the bottle, dry it and place your medications inside.
  6. Get Plenty of Sleep– It’s important to get plenty of sleep – even extra sleep – before a big trip, but especially if you are dealing with health issues while traveling. Go to bed early before a trip, or take a nap before leaving.  Be sure to get good sleep during the trip, as well, so that you’ll be in good shape when traveling back home.
  7. Put Medications and Other Necessities in a Carry-On Bag– Carry all medications and any other necessities in your carry-on bag. Just in case your luggage is misplaced, you won’t want to be without your necessities.  You can always buy another toothbrush!
  8. Pack Lightly and Use Luggage with Shoulder Straps or Wheels– If you suffer from arthritis or other health problems, you won’t want to over exert yourself. Make sure to pack as lightly as possible, so you have less to carry.  Bags with comfortable shoulder straps or wheels will also help.
  9. Wear and Pack Comfortable Clothing That’s Easy to Get On– Comfortable clothing will make you comfortable all around, especially if it will be awhile before you can change. Wear Seamless Socks from SmartKnit to help keep your feet from getting irritated.  Or if you’re at risk for DVT, Compression Travel Socks from Therafirm will help prevent this dangerous condition.
  10. Pack Any Arthritis Aids You Regularly Use– If it’s something you use regularly, bring it, even if you think you won’t use it.
  11. Carry Cash– You will want to have cash for situations like tipping luggage assistants or toll payments.
  12. Inform Others of Your Condition– Inform TSA agents, flight attendants or any other officials of your health conditions. They’ll be more likely to be helpful and also to watch for changes in your condition.

Remember at the end of the road is that special turkey and dressing or pumpkin pie that you’ve been craving for months – as well as hugs and smiles and family memories.

** Note: Tips are not meant to replace medical advice.  Always consult with your doctor.

Tips for Summer Travel with Health Conditions

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Summer is right around the corner and what says summer more than a summer vacation!  Are you planning any vacations – near or far – in the coming months?  Now is the time to enjoy life, so don’t let health issues get in the way of your trip around the world or even the weekend visiting the grandchildren.  Just follow these helpful travel tips and you’ll be on your way to a memorable vacation.

Medications
If you are dependent on medication to control your health conditions, you’ll want to make sure you plan well ahead.  They last thing you want is to run out of your medication in the middle of the Amazon (or even Disney World).  Get your prescriptions renewed ahead of time and bring enough for the duration of your trip, plus a little extra.  You never know what your vacation might entail.

If any of your medications are temperature-dependent, you’ll want to plan for this, too.  A wide-mouthed, insulated thermos is very handy.  Just fill the bottle with ice ahead of time to cool it.  Once cool, dry it and place medications inside.  They should stay cool until you arrive at your destination.

Insurance Cards and Other Health Documentation
When it comes to visits to the doctor or hospital on your vacation, it’s good to plan for the worst and hope for the best.  That said, you’ll need to make sure you have any insurance and prescription cards with you, as well as any other medical records or documentation that may be handy to an unfamiliar physician you may have to see if it becomes necessary for you to seek medical care.

Carry-On Bag
Medications and insurance cards should be carried in your carry-on bag.  The airlines do their best to make sure your checked bags arrive at the correct destination with you, but things happen from time to time.  You will not want to be without these most important items.

Inform Others of Your Condition
You may find it prudent to inform TSA agents, flight attendants or other officials of your medical conditions.  If you experience a medical emergency mid-travel, it will be helpful for them to have fore-knowledge of your conditions.  They will be able to act faster and more efficiently to help if they are aware of any conditions up front.

Dress Comfortably
Travel has a way of being uncomfortable as it is.  The more comfortably you dress, the less discomfort you’ll experience.  Seamless socks from SmartKnit will help prevent your feet from becoming irritated, especially if your travel will include a lot of walking through airports.  Compression Travel Socks from Therafirm are also a good choice to help prevent deep vein thrombosis or DVT – a dangerous condition that travelers are at risk for.

And of course, we always recommend that you follow a doctor’s instructions for any health condition.  But, we hope these tips will help you enjoy a memorable summer vacation with minimal risk to your health.  Bon Voyage!

 

Prevent DVT and Follow Doctor’s Orders with Fashionable Compression Hosiery

March is DVT Awareness Month.  DVT stands for Deep Vein Thrombosis.  DVT is basically the condition of blood clots in the deep veins, usually the calf or thigh muscle.  DVT can damage the valves in your blood vessels, causing pain and swelling.  But, more dangerously, blood clots can break free and travel through the bloodstream and damage major organs – most specifically the heart and lungs.  This condition is known as pulmonary embolism.  Blood clots in the deep veins in the thigh muscles are the frequent culprits of pulmonary embolism.

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So, who is at greater risk of developing DVT?  The following conditions may make DVT more likely;

  • Inherited blood-clotting disorder – An inherited disorder would make the development of blood clots is more common.
  • Prolonged bed rest – When the legs do not move for long periods of time, it is more difficult for blood to circulate.
  • Injury or surgery – Injury or surgery to the veins increases blood clot risks.
  • Pregnancy – Increased pressure in the veins during pregnancy makes these women more susceptible to blood clots.
  • Birth control or hormone replacement therapy – Both increase risk of blood clots.
  • Overweight or obesity – Extra weight can increase pressure on the veins making blood clots more likely.
  • Smoking – Smoking affects circulation, which increases the risk of DVT.
  • Cancer – The disease itself, as well as some of the treatments involved can increase the risk of blood clots.
  • Heart failure – Those with limited heart and lung function can be at greater risk of pulmonary embolism.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease – Diseases such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis can both increase risk of DVT.
  • Personal or family history – Risk factors can be hereditary.
  • Age – Although people of any age can develop DVT, those over the age of 60 are at greater risk.
  • Sitting for long periods of time – Remaining still for long periods of time (car or air travel, for example) can negatively affect circulation leading to greater risk of DVT.

Source: Mayo Clinic

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If you experience any of the previous conditions, or any combinations of these conditions, you are at a greater risk for developing DVT.  Your doctor may suggest that you begin wearing compression hosiery to promote circulation and prevent dangerous blood clots.  The good news is that compression stockings do not have to be ugly or uncomfortable, as they have traditionally been thought of.

Therafirm has many beautiful and fashionable options that allow those at risk for DVT to follow doctor’s orders and still maintain a stylish and modern look.

 

 

 

EASE, a fairly new brand from Therafirm, offers very fashionable styles and colors, also, but in higher compression levels (15-20mmHg, 20-30mmHg and 30-40mmHg).  EASE hosiery products are made with beautiful fibers and are designed to be easier to put on and more comfortable to wear.  A recent addition to our EASE line is Microfiber Tights.  These beautiful tights are not only fashionable, but incredibly comfortable, offering the necessary compression for those at risk of developing DVT.

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EASE Microfiber Tights in Mulberry.

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EASE Thigh Highs in Coal.

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EASE Pantyhose in Bronze.

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EASE Men’s Trouser Socks in Navy.

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EASE Knee Highs in Sand.

And an exciting new addition in the EASE family, available only just this month, is Sheer EASE.  With all the same benefits of our previous opaque EASE line, but in beautiful sheer fabrics.  Look for this option coming to our www.therafirm.com website within days!

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Sheer EASE Knee Highs in Natural.

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Sheer EASE Pantyhose in Sand.

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Sheer EASE Thigh Highs in Bronze.

It’s an exciting time to wear compression hosiery, because the fashionable choices from Therafirm allow you to prevent DVT and not compromise on style!

 

*Contraindications: Any skin irritations, allergies to dyes, congestive heart failure, arterial disorders, existing DVT. If any of these conditions apply, please consult your physician for advice.

** Disclaimer – Not to take the place of medical advice.  Always consult with your doctor about health concerns.

Compression for Travelers

It’s summer and travel is in the air.  But, one thing that can stop travelers in their tracks and end summer fun and adventures – DVT.  DVT stands for Deep Vein Thrombosis, or blood clots in the deep veins, usually in the calf or thigh muscle.

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Image courtesy of potowizard at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

DVT can damage the valves in your blood vessels, causing pain and swelling.  But, more dangerously, blood clots can break free and travel through the bloodstream and damage major organs – most specifically the heart and lungs.  This is a condition known as pulmonary embolism.  Blood clots in the deep veins of the thigh muscles are the most frequently affected.

Long distance travel can increase your risk of developing DVT.  Blood flows more slowly when sitting immobile for long periods of time in cramped spaces, and gravity makes it more difficult for blood to adequately move around the body.  Slow moving blood pooling in the legs increases the possibility of blood clots.

True gradient compression hosiery can be effective in preventing DVT.  The pressure created from gradient compression helps to promote blood flow, which in turn will prevent blood from pooling in the legs.  Anyone at risk for DVT should consider wearing compression hosiery for any travel, especially lengthy flights or car trips.

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Therafirm gradient compression hosiery is a great choice in preventing DVT among travelers.  Therafirm offers both casual and more dressy options for both men and women.  Mild Support Ribbed Dress Socks for men offer 15-20mmHg of compression and are made with the Micro-Cool process which wicks away moisture for a comfortable coolness.  Similarly, Mild Support Ribbed Trouser Socks for women provide true gradient compression for traveling women.  Core-Spun everyday socks offer a casual true gradient compression option for both men and women.

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Select Women’s or Men’s Travel 2-Packs for an easy way to cover all trips on your schedule.

Avoid DVT During Spring and Summer Travels

Prevent DVT during travelImage courtesy of potowizard at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

March is DVT Awareness Month, and with spring and summer travel just around the corner, we thought it was the perfect time to remind you of this danger involved in traveling.  So, what is DVT?

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DVT stands for Deep Vein Thrombosis, or for those of us that aren’t doctors – blood clots in the deep veins, usually the calf or thigh muscle.  DVT can damage the valves in your blood vessels, causing pain and swelling.  But, more dangerously, blood clots can break free and travel through the bloodstream and damage major organs – most specifically the heart and lungs.  This is a condition known as pulmonary embolism.  Blood clots in the deep veins in the thigh muscles are the most frequent culprits of pulmonary embolism.

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How does this relate to travel?  Long trips in cars, trains, buses and most especially planes can increase your risk of developing DVT.  Blood flows more slowly when sitting immobile for long periods of time in cramped spaces, and gravity plays its part in making it more difficult for blood to adequately move around the body.  Slow moving blood pooling in the legs is a breeding ground for clots.

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Although the risk of developing DVT while traveling is small, the risk is real and travelers should take precautions – especially if they are at higher risk.

DVT Risk

What can you do to prevent DVT while traveling?

  1. First and foremost. Wear compression hosiery like travel socks from Therafirm.  Therafirm makes a Men’s Dress Sock, a Women’s Trouser Sock and a Unisex Everyday Sock.  All of Therafirm’s compression hosiery is graduated.  Compression hosiery must be graduated to be effective in preventing DVT.  Gradient compression pressure helps to promote blood flow and prevents blood from pooling in the legs.
  2. Keep moving. If you are taking a car trip, make frequent stops.  For plane, bus or train trips, get up and move around every so often as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.
  3. Exercise your legs. Bend and straighten your legs several times every half hour to hour.  This helps to avoid blood pooling.
  4. Drink plenty of water. Water will help keep your blood thinner and less likely to develop clots.
  5. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol contributes to dehydration, which thickens the blood.

Prevent DVT

No one wants their travel to include a stop at an emergency room or hospital, so take the necessary precautions to prevent DVT.  Pack your Therafirm travel socks and enjoy your DVT-free vacations!

** NOTE: Always consult your doctor before using any of the practices for avoiding DVT.