Compression stockings and tights – help against leg vein problems (tired, aching legs, varicose veins, DVT)
What is venous insufficency? Heart as a strong pump provides permanent pressure in human arteria, but venous circulation is more passive. It depends on work of the muscles and pressure of vein walls. By age, veins become wider and their pressure decreases, especially for big people with overweight and little physical activity, women during and after pregnancy, as well as people who have to work constantly sitting or standing for long periods. Women complain more often, but also complains from men suffering from leg pain are not a rarity. It can be also aggravated by problems of the nervous system, especially nerves pressed by bones of the vertebrae, Sciatica, etc, and other causes.
A special risk arises during travel. During distant trips in car, bus, train and especially on the airplane, when legs are locked to one position for are long time, a blood clot can develop, which is called deep venous thrombosis (DVT). If the blood clot is then suddenly released, it can get through the veins into heart and lungs, with very serious effects.
How does hosiery help? Compression stockings and tights improve circulation in leg veins by providing a permanent additional pressure, which is the biggest at calf, but gradually decreases up. The necessary level of pressure depends on seriousness of the problem. It is measured in mercury millimeters (mmHg), just like blood pressure.
· Massaging stockings and tights with pressure not rated may suffice in case of no complains, just as prophylactic measure during sitting, standing work or travel.
· Support tights with pressure about 10-15 mmHg are recommended in case of constantly tired, swelling, aching legs, cramps in the night.
· In case of serios problems such as varicose veins, ulcer, thrombosis, a visit to a phlebologist is recommended for exact diagnosis and treatment.
What is the relation between den and mmHg? Number in den measures the thickness of thread (yarn), but nothing else. For everyday use, the simple rule is, the more den, the more opaque. The more transparent, the less den. For compression tights of same manufacturer’s line, the more pressure, the thicker yarn you need – so more the thickness in den. Less den, less pressure – but only for the same composition of materials, knitted same way. Tights made of thick yarn for warmth but knitted loosely will not have same properties and effects as compression tights of same den thickness.
To reach maximal effect, compression stockings or tights of right size (including length!) need to be chosen and worn regularly. They need to be put on in the morning before standing up and worn for the whole day. To not destroy them, the wearer needs to be careful: no pulling, no sharp fingernails.
Stockings or tights? Traditionally, compression stockings or tights are recommended to women, but for men, only knee-high stockings, which are produced both for womens and mens sizes. Thin knee-high stockings cause less perspiration in warm weather. But there are cases when tights (like pantyhose) are recommended for both women and men:
· If the vein and nerve system problems are present also in the thigh;
· In cold weather, for gradual level of pressure and temperature along the leg;
· If knee-high or thigh-high stockings create discomfort and negative effect due to constricting and downward pressing upper band.