Can Compression Stockings Help With Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)?

Studies conducted several years ago suggested that compression stockings may be effective in raising the blood pressure in people with low blood pressure (hypotension).

However, don’t jump the gun.  Before making any changes such as wearing compression stockings it is most important that a thorough assessment of potential underlying causes for low blood pressure will be made by your health care provider.  A complete evaluation of one’s health status may reveal other health problems that are the cause of symptoms such as low blood pressure.

Low blood pressure can basically be classified into two types:  Arterial hypotension and orthostatic hypotension.  Arterial low blood pressure can be caused by a person’s constitution or familial background or it can be secondary due to medications you may be taking.  Other secondary reasons for low blood pressure can be low blood volume due to dehydration, reduced circulatory activity from being bed-ridden during illness or while the body is fighting off an infection.

Orthostatic hypotension, on the other hand, is something very different.  It occurs only when standing up after sitting or lying down.  If you have ever felt light-headed or even dizzy after getting up you have experienced the effects of orthostatic hypotension.  In most cases this may not require any treatment at all unless it happens very frequently and to the point where the person faints, which would warrant a more thorough exploration of the primary cause(s).

The bottom line is, if an underlying cause for your low blood pressure has been determined, the treatment will be directed at eliminating the cause of the hypotension.  This in turn should resolve the signs and symptoms of low blood pressure.  In the event that no obvious reason or cause can be determined for the hypotension, conservative measures will be taken and will likely be aimed at raising the blood pressure to reduce or eliminate the associated symptoms.

The most conservative ways of raising blood pressure to normal levels could include several things.  Drinking more water, for example, has the two-fold benefit of preventing dehydration and as well as increasing the blood volume through the additional fluid.  Wearing compression stockings can also be beneficial in lessening or eliminating the symptoms of hypotension by preventing the pooling of blood in the legs.  This ensures better and faster circulation of the blood back to the heart and lungs.

The biggest danger associated with low blood pressure exists mostly with the elderly who have an increased risk of potentially serious head injuries from frequent fainting and falling.  In most cases hypotension presents no real danger and does not require treatment.  Conservative measures such as proper fluid intake, a very moderate increase of salt intake and wearing compression stockings or support pantyhose may be just what the doctor ordered and are much preferable to any kind of medication solution.

Trying these common sense measures first not only avoids potentially negative side effects of medication(s) but also saves the unnecessary expense of continuously taking medication.

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