Venous disorders are complex medical conditions and affect all walks of life. According to the American College of Phlebology, more than 80 million Americans have a venous disorder that can progressively worsen over time and affect your health and quality of life. Risk factors for these disorders are
- Age over 40
- Prolonged sitting or standing
- Long distance travel
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Surgery or trauma
- History of DVT in the leg
How Does Compression Therapy Work?
Compression garments work by acting as an external layer of muscle, gently squeezing the stretched vein walls together and allowing valves to function thus restoring blood flow closer to a normal state. Gradient compression applies a measured amount of compression to your leg and works by having the pressure greatest at the ankle or wrist and gradually decreasing as it goes back up the limb. This helps to fight the force of gravity and circulate blood back to the heart more effectively improving overall circulation. Measurements for getting the correct size garment are very important. A size large stocking on a small leg offers little benefit. Measurements done by a professional fitter who also knows the characteristics of different garment fabrics is extremely important in getting the proper fit in the proper fabric.
TEDS Versus Gradient Compression Garments
Anti-Embolism stockings (commonly white) or TEDS are not considered Gradient Compression stockings. Anti-Embolism stockings used in the hospital are for bedridden or non-ambulatory patients. The goal of these stockings is to prevent DVT (blood clot) in a non-ambulatory patient. The measurements are different from Gradient Compression garments and the purpose is different. Gradient Compression stockings are measured more precisely and are engineered for a different purpose. While Gradient Compression Stockings also help to prevent DVT (blood clot), they are for ambulatory patients – anyone who is sitting for long periods in a chair, standing, and moving about – not a patient confined to bed. Anti-Embolism (TEDS) are inappropriate for an ambulatory patient to wear because they tend to slide or roll down possibly creating other issues. TEDS are for BEDS best describes the purpose of Anti-Embolism or TEDS garments.
How Tight Should Gradient Compression Garments Be?
While a prescription is not required to purchase Gradient Compression garments. If you are being referred by your health care provider for compression stockings, a prescription is always helpful to the fitter/provider to know the recommended compression level i.e. 15-20 mmHg, 20-30 mmHg, or 30-40 mmHg and the recommended length of the garment i.e. knee high, thigh high, or waist high. These compression levels for MEDICAL garments are like a prescribed medication for a medical condition. Be certain the brand you choose is FDA approved to be certain you are receiving the best medical Gradient Compression garment for your condition. A prescription also saves you the sales tax.