Seniors can often experience vein problems in their legs.
One of the first signs of trouble with veins is if your legs feel heavy or swollen in the evening.
This could be an indicator of venous insufficiency, which is a widespread disease that often goes unrecognized.
The impaired blood transport in the venous system for the legs results in poorer blood supply to the body’s tissues.
The result is that the skin on the lower leg becomes a discoloured brown, becomes thinner and is susceptible to infection. Minor injuries no longer heal completely while leg ulcers can also develop.
Seniors with the initial symptoms of venous insufficiency should become active and wear medical compression stockings on a regular basis.
Medical compression stockings exert precisely defined levels of pressure along the leg, which compresses the veins.
This helps pump the blood back toward the heart and stops blood pooling in the legs.
Compression stockings need to be prescribed by a doctor.
It is important that other medical conditions be taken into consideration prior to and during the use of the stockings.
A doctor will determine what compression level would best suit the needs of each senior.
Some seniors may require an ankle brachial index (ABI) to determine if they can safely go into compression stockings.
Compression stockings should be considered to be medicine for the legs that is prescribed by a doctor and used as the doctor has stated.
Follow-up appointments with the doctor should also be required to monitor the effectiveness of these special stockings.
The prescription will state the type of stockings needed for the individual senior’s requirements.
The senior should then go to a pharmacy that has trained home medical supply staff to meet with a certified fitter.
These fitters are trained and knowledgeable in determining if clients need further tests to determine if they can safely wear compression stockings, and are trained to measure for these garments for the proper fit and level of need.
The fitter will demonstrate the correct way to put the stockings on to ensure that the proper compression is at each location of the foot, ankle and calf of the leg.
If the compression stockings are not put on properly, then the effectiveness is reduced as well as being uncomfortable to wear. If the compression stockings have a hole in them, they need to be replaced.
Wearing rubber gloves makes it easier to put on and take off compression stockings and there’s less chance of them being damaged. The putting on and removal of compression stockings takes strength and flexibility.
Rubber gloves will also help protect fragile skin of seniors during the process.
Seniors who are war vets may be able to get the cost for compression stockings covered through Veterans Affairs.
As well, the stockings may also be covered under an extended health care plan or used as an income tax claim as a medical expense.
For further information about compression stockings, contact Dyck’s Pharmacists at 250-861-3466.
Sharen Marteny is a services consultant for
seniors in Kelowna.