Uses

Do Compression Socks Raise Blood Pressure ?

For some, wearing compression socks or stockings does not worry them, but some individuals do, especially if you have issues with your blood pressure. If you are one of them, we can talk about the possible effects of compression socks on this medical concern.
But before diving into these effects, let us touch on what compression socks do in a nutshell.

1. Understanding Compression Socks and Its Use

The essential function of compression socks is to apply pressure on the lower extremities mainly. Although even for its simple purpose, this can address many issues that have to do with blood circulation and blood vessels. Having the proper knowledge of its use and when it’s needed is equally necessary.
Pressure is just one feature of compression socks; the type is yet another. Type of compression socks, stockings, and sleeves differ in both usage and medical condition.

Three types of Compression Socks

a.) Non Medical Hosiery
  • These are over-the-counter compression socks, stockings, and sleeves ideal for daily activities.
  • The pressure levels are 8 to 15 mmHg and 15 to 20 mmHg
  • Perfect for long travels, sports, and exercises
  • Pregnant women with no underlying medical condition
  • An occupation that involves standing or sitting for long periods.
b.) Anti Embolism Socks
  • Also known as medical stockings or socks because this needs a doctor's prescription
  • Used to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and moderate to severe varicose veins
  • For post-surgery and post sclerotherapy treatment
  • For immobile patients
c.) Graduated Stockings
  • Another kind of medical socks
  • The highest compression level starts at the ankle, which gradually loosens, going upwards.
  • Treatment for chronic venous problems and edema
  • For ambulatory patients
There are also corresponding pressures applied for every type of compression socks and stockings that can address particular needs, medical or non-medical. Remember, your doctor or a health professional will always determine medical grade socks.

2. Do Compression Socks Help Lower Blood Pressure

The usual impression is that compression socks increase the risk of hypertension because of tightness. However, as always, it is still on a case to case basis. The caveat is, blood pressure may rise if you have an underlying cardiovascular disease.

So, the simple answer to this question is “NO.” Compression socks or stockings do not lower blood pressure. Since compression socks, as mentioned, essentially help with the improvement of the circulatory system, this means that they can also elevate the blood pressure insignificantly.
Take note of the last word — INSIGNIFICANTLY.
When the pressure of the compression socks influences blood flow, it helps resume proper circulation at the lower extremities going back to the heart. As the slight thrust of force occurs, it can raise the blood pressure for a moment.

3. Are Compression Socks Good for Low Blood Pressure

As discussed, compression socks can influence blood pressure. There is a medical condition called Orthostatic Hypotension. Orthostatic Hypotension occurs when you stand up from sitting or lying down. You will feel light-headed or even dizzy at times.
With the pressure coming from the compression stockings, it maintains the correct blood flow within the legs preventing the effect of Orthostatic Hypotension.

How Do Compression Socks Help with Maintaining Normal Blood Pressure

So, the keyword here is really “pressure.” Pressure towards the veins which do not have a direct effect on blood pressure. The compression or tension helps the blood vessels to correct the blood flow from the legs back to the heart.
For instance, one of the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is hypertension. Then another medical condition that has something to do with hypertension is preeclampsia; this is a condition for pregnant women. Compression stockings help prevent and alleviate these symptoms.
How?
Dilated veins are abnormalities in the blood vessels that become a problem with circulation. If you are not aware, blood flows in a single direction. So when a vein dilates, blood flow gets disrupted, which may cause blood clotting and eventually affect the blood pressure. The applied pressure strains the dilated veins back to their average size by wearing compression socks, which fixes the blood flow.

Individuals Who Can’t Wear Compression Socks

Not all individuals or patients can use compression stockings or socks because it can be a contraindication to their health. If you have a pre-existing arterial disease such as:
  • Heart failure or angina
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Cardiac insufficiency
Consider visiting your doctor to help you assess your medical condition before using one.

4. In Summary

Compression socks do not raise or lower blood pressure. It helps bring the blood pressure back to normal for individuals who can wear them. If you have medical concerns or health issues, always consult your doctor before buying a pair of compression socks, stockings, or sleeves.

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