Compression Stockings May Help Sleep Apnea, Study Finds

Sleep apnea and varicose veins may not seem like they have anything in common, but researchers recently discovered a treatment for varicose veins may help sleep apnea as well. Compression stockings, used to manage painful symptoms of varicose veins, may also lower episodes of apnea, or pauses in breathing while a person is sleeping. While the stockings are not a “cure” for either condition, they may be a non-invasive way to keep symptoms in check and lower risk for further complications.

About the Study
Researchers from Toronto, Canada, looked at a small number of individuals that had been diagnosed with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person stops breathing for short periods of time throughout a sleep cycle. In some cases, individuals may have up to 30 of these episodes every hour, which can increase their risk of heart attack, stroke and other serious medical conditions.

The researchers found that individuals that wore compression stockings during the day for two full weeks had fewer apnea episodes at night than those that did not wear the stockings. Improvement was measured at about 27 percent, which researchers classified as going from “severe” apnea to “moderate apnea.” Those that snore as a result of sleep apnea may also find snoring can be reduced by wearing the compression stockings regularly.

Compression Stockings and Varicose Veins
Compression stockings have been recommended for some time as a way to manage the uncomfortable symptoms of varicose veins. Gradient pressure in the stockings helps keep blood moving in a uniform direction from the legs to the heart, reducing fluid buildup that can occur in the legs when blood flow is impeded. The stockings will not reverse varicosities that have already occurred, but they can keep a current condition from getting worse and relieve symptoms like heaviness and aching in the legs.

Compression Stockings and Sleep Apnea
Researchers surmised that the same theory might apply to the benefits of compression stockings for sleep apnea. Fluid that builds up in the legs during the day can migrate to the neck at night when a person is lying down. That fluid may be one of the reasons why the airway becomes narrower or obstructed at night, leading to the apnea episodes. By minimizing fluid buildup during the day, compression stockings may also minimize fluid from moving to the neck while the person is sleeping.

While data on compression stockings and sleep apnea is still in the preliminary stage, there is little doubt these stockings are effective in keeping varicose veins in check. To learn more about the benefits of compression stockings, or find out how you can actually eliminate unsightly, painful varicose veins for good, contact PCI Veins at 319-774-8432.


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