This section has items that help in compression of blood vessels to help reduce swelling One of the confusing aspects of choosing the right compression stocking is to understand the level of compression. Compression stockings have a range of numbers to indicate how much graduated compression the garment has. The standard compression levels for compression stockings are 15-20 mmHg (over the counter), 20-30 mmHg (medical class 1), 30-40 mmHg (medical class 2) and 40-50 mmHg (medical class 3). There are other levels of compression, however these are standardized and the most commonly used.
What the Compression Levels Mean
Compression levels are indicated with a range of numbers like “20-30 mmHg”, which means that the amount of compression will not fall below 20 mmHg and not exceed 30 mmHg. The unit of measurement is called “millimeters of mercury” which is a measurement of pressure, also used in blood pressure. Another important detail about compression stockings is that CEP, Juzo, Mediven and Sigvaris all graduate the compression in their compression stockings and socks. Having “graduated compression” means that the compression is strongest at the ankle and gets lighter as you go up the leg. This very special way of knitting a compression stocking allows circulation to improve up and out of the legs. (There would be devastating effects if the graduated compression went down towards your feet instead of going away from your feet.) Not all compression stocking manufacturers properly graduate the compression, so be sure to only wear reputable brands
Over the Counter 15-20 mmHg
A low level of compression, such as 15-20 mmHg is a great choice for everyday compression stockings to help with mild swelling and fatigued legs due to long periods of travel, sitting or standing. 15-20 mmHg compression stockings come in knee high, thigh high, pantyhose and maternity pantyhose styles. Available for both men and women, there are many different styles to choose from. There are casual every day compression socks made to look like dress socks and casual cotton socks. There are also sheer fashion styles for women. Sports compression socks are also available in the 15-20 mmHg level of compression. A lot of people choose to wear the 15-20 mmHg compression for flying and travel. They’re comfortable and because there are numerous styles, more and more people are choosing to add a little 15-20 mmHg compression into their lifestyles.