Edema gloves are a medical accessory or therapeutic device that brings gentle compression to the hands and forearms as a means of controlling the symptoms of edema. Edema is a condition characterized by a buildup of fluid in various bodily tissues that can lead to swelling and discomfort. There are a couple of different styles and forms these gloves can take, and in most cases they don’t look inherently medical. They’re usually made from somewhat thin and elastic material so they don’t normally give much warmth, but they can be mistaken for general fashion gloves by people who aren’t aware of their main use. Depending on the severity of a person’s edema, the gloves may need to be worn for anywhere for just a few hours to more or less constantly. Some gloves are fingerless, which allows wearers to do things like type or use smartphones while wearing them. No gloves are able to actually cure edema, though when used properly they can reduce symptoms, often significantly.
Understanding Edema Generally
In the medical world, “edema” is often used as something of a catch-all term for swelling that happens anywhere in the body for virtually any reason. Swelling, in turn, is basically when water or other fluids are trapped in various tissues. A couple of different things can cause swelling, but injury, inflammation, and blockages due to things like blood clots are some of the most common.
Edema gloves are normally used to help reduce the swelling that’s localized in the hands and arms. Affected people could find it easier to perform normal activities, such as writing or picking up objects, while wearing this kind of item.
Value of Constant Compression
The swelling associated with chronic or long-lasting edema can often make completing simple tasks difficult. One of the most effective treatment options is usually compression, which is to say gentle pressure on the outside of the skin. This pressure can force a rebalancing of fluids at the surface level of the skin, which releases tension and usually relieves the condition, at least in the short term.
Gloves are generally recommended by a doctor after diagnosing the condition. Some of the symptoms of edema can include puffiness of the skin, a sudden increase in abdominal size, and skin that retains a dimple after being pressed for a few seconds. People who have one or more of these conditions may want to seek the advice of a physician. A doctor can determine whether or not an individual has edema, and advise the patient if she should use these gloves to alleviate suffering. Compression gloves can often be found in pharmacies and online, but getting a medical practitioner’s advice first can help guide any purchase and can ensure that patients end up with a product that will actually help alleviate their specific condition.
Glove Styles and Overall Appearance
These gloves may fully cover the fingers. They might also only cover them halfway, leaving the fingertips exposed. Edema gloves usually extend one to two inches (2.54 to 5.08 cm) past the wrist on most people.
Normally, the gloves are made of a stretchy fabric, like Lycra®. They might also be made of nylon or a nylon-Lycra® blend. Typically, these medical garments can be washed in a washing machine without shrinking. They may need to be hung up to dry, however, rather than machine dried.
There are a number of different sizes of edema gloves, designed to fit people with small to large hands. The correct size is usually determined by measuring the circumference of the affected individual's palm. Extra small gloves normally fit a person whose measurements are 7 inches (17.78 cm) around or less, whereas small gloves are designed for people with a palm circumference from 7 to 8 inches (17.78 to 20.32 cm). Medium-sized ones fit measurements between 8 and 9 inches (20.32 to 22.86 cm), while large is for people with hands that span 9 to 10 inches (22.86 to 25.4 cm) in circumference. A snug fit is usually best.
Cautions Related to Pulmonary Edema
In general, compression gloves should not be used as a treatment for pulmonary edema, which is a related but wholly separate condition. Pulmonary edema is a heart condition often characterized by swelling, but the affected individual may also exhibit chest pains and shortness of breath. Compression can often make things worse in these cases and can be quite dangerous. Heart patients should seek the advice of a medical professional before coming up with a care plan, and should not attempt any self-treatment.