While the circulation system has amazed and astounded researchers for eras, one interesting point to note is the fact that our heart is located at pretty much the top of our bodies. Only our heads and shoulders are above it. As we spend a majority of the day in that manner, gravity makes for interesting puzzles when it comes to our blood. Mainly, the blood flows easier down to the feet than it does coming back up. The heart has to expend a lot of energy creating blood pressure that will push that blood back up the body and return to the heart.
When faced with blot clotting issues—such as with a damaged vein or artery—or other impairments of the circulatory system, the blood has a difficult time getting to where it needs to go. For example, one of the responsibilities of some parts of the calf area is to keep the blood pumping and returning up to the heart. If those pumps are damaged or impacted, they are unable to perform this function.
In these cases, doctors will often prescribe compression stockings. Compression stockings are like socks, but conform very snugly to the patient’s leg. In this way, pressure is put onto the veins and arteries of the leg. This reduces the amount of blood that can be held within them. In addition, the same amount of pressure will push blood faster through the constricted pathways. Overall, it creates an easier situation for the heart to get that blood through the legs and back up to the heart where it can be oxygenated.
With less blood forming in the legs, then there is less chance of blood pooling within the legs. When blood pools, less oxygen-rich blood is available to share with the rest of the body. In addition, leg swelling and discomfort can occur. Patients who suffer from chronic venous insufficiency are further unable to put enough pressure on blood to return to the heart. These patients can develop discolored and itchy skin conditions that results from the leg having too much blood without oxygen.
Overall, compression stockings are necessary components worn by those with blood flow issues or those prone to clotting. While self-prescribing compression stockings is usually safe, it is best to check with a doctor and other health resources before usage, as some minor conditions exist that can cause dangerous conditions in conjunction with compression stockings.