Compression Stockings in the Treatment of Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Published: 06th April 2011
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Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is a condition in which veins are unable to transmit blood back to the heart. Individuals with CVI are sometimes said to have an impaired musculovenous pump. CVI occurs as a result of damaged leg valves. Individuals who are at higher risk for the condition are women, people who have sustained leg injuries, and those such as paratroopers who engage in high impact jobs. Records of this troublesome state date back to the time of Hippocrates.

Chronic venous insufficiency can be a painful and debilitating condition. Some of the symptoms, such as discoloration, are only cosmetic. Others, however, are more serious and can cause a person a great deal of frustration in their day-to-day life. Itching, chronic swelling of the leg and ankles, as well as thickening of leg circumference are all possible effects of CVI. Even more troublesome is the increased risk of cellulitis and ulcers that is experienced by individuals with CVI.

Treatments prescribed for CVI include skin lubrication, massage therapy and blood pressure medicine. Various surgical procedures can also be performed in more severe cases. Socrates is recorded as prescribing bandages for the cure of chronic venous insufficiency. His ancient remedy is not far off from the common modern treatment of compression stockings.

These garments aid individuals with chronic venous insufficiency by increasing blood flow in the legs and the ankles. They can also prevent swelling and blood pooling that can occur when people are sitting in the same position for a long period of time. Studies have shown that women with CVI who wear support hose experience less growth in the circumference of their legs than women who do not use the support hose.

There are different varieties of compression socks, but the ones used for CVI are gradient compression stockings. In this style, the compression lessens towards the top of the hose. Gradient compression stockings come in a range of tightness. Stockings rated firm should only under the advice of a medical professional. For most cases, light compression is generally sufficient.

After a person makes the decision to buy compression stockings, there are a few important things they should keep in mind. The first is that they must visit a medical doctor to find out their ankle brachial index (ABI). ABI tests how unobstructed an individualís arteries are. If the ABI is too low, compression stockings can reduce arterial flow too much. Buyers of these support hose should also be careful to find the proper fit for their body.

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