Wearing Compression Stockings to Prevent DVT
Although deep vein thrombosis
(DVT) can be a serious, potentially fatal condition, depending on which part of the body is affected, you can take certain measures to prevent yourself from developing this condition.
Along with exercising and staying hydrated, wearing compression stockings (also known as support stockings) promotes better circulation and, therefore, has been proven to help prevent DVT. In fact, studies have proven that compression stockings reduce the risk of developing DVT by as much as 68 percent.
By compressing the legs, these stockings prevent blood from pooling up in the veins. While some compression stockings fit the entire leg (from foot to hip), others are specialized to target particular areas of the body. For example, compression stockings can be similar to long socks, they can be thigh-high or they can extend from the hips to the knees, depending on which area of your body is at the highest risk of developing deep vein thrombosis.
How Do Compression Stockings Work?
The feature that makes compression stockings particularly effective in preventing DVT is their graded compression, meaning that the stockings get increasingly tighter (i.e. compress the leg more) the further down the leg they go. As a result, muscles have an easier time pumping blood throughout the legs and gettingit back up to the heart for re-oxygenation.
While wearing compression stockings has been proven to stimulate blood flow, they aren’t designed to be worn all day. A doctor can recommend how long you should wear compression stockings for prevention of DVT depending on your particular case.
Who Should Wear Compression Stockings?
Anyone at risk for developing DVT may want to consider wearing compression stockings, especially those who are sedentary for extended periods of time. Some of the associated risk factors for DVT include:
- heart and circulation problems
- personal and family medical history
- recent surgery, namely to the pelvic and/or knee region.
Similarly, those taking long plane or road trips are also at a higher risk of developing DVT. As a result, those with at least a few risk factors for DVT should wear compression stockings to prevent DVT.
However, in addition to preventing DVT, compression stockings are also used in the treatment of this condition, especially if a person has recently had surgery. Along with blood-thinning medication and surgery to remove clots, wearing compression stockings after being diagnosed with DVT significantly reduces the pain, inflammation and tenderness associated with this condition. In general, doctors recommend that DVT patients wear compression stockings for anywhere from one to two years after a DVT diagnosis and/or DVT surgery.
Those interested in wearing compression stockings for the prevention of DVT should seek the expertise of their doctor first. Your doctor will be able to determine whether or not compression stockings are right for you, and will take any other conditions you have into consideration. Your doctor can also help you find the right fit. Making sure compression stockings fit is extremely important, because stockings that are too tight can cut off blood flow instead of stimulating it.
Where to Find Compression Stockings
The availability of compression stockings is increasing with the growing awareness of DVT. Some of the most common places where you can get support stockings include:
- larger department stores
- online retailers
- travel stores.
You can expect to pay about $15 to $25 per pair of sock-style compression stockings. Thigh-high and pantyhose (hip-to-toe) styles are more generally expensive, depending on the brand and where you buy the stockings.
Compression Stocking Care
The main things you will have to be aware of as you care for your compression stockings is how to wash them and how to prevent them from snagging. Along with hand washing, you can also machine wash support stockings on the gentle cycle. Always air-dry them.
To prevent snagging and ruining your compression stockings, some retailers recommend wearing rubber gloves to put the stockings on. If you don’t want to wear rubber gloves, just be sure that your nails are trimmed and that you remove any jewelry before putting on or taking off your compression stockings.
American Family Physician (1994). Graduated Compression Stockings in DVT Prophylaxis. Retrieved July 11, 2007, from the Find Articles Web site: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3225/is_n7_v49/
Deep Vein Thrombosis.
Retrieved July 11, 2007, from the BUPA Web site: http://hcd2.bupa.co.uk/fact_sheets/mosby_factsheets/
ARTICLE SOURCE: Deep-Vein-Thrombosis-Symptoms.com