According to recent NASA research, compression garments can help astronauts once they return to earth to prevent orthostatic intolerance (OI). Once gravity hits, many astronauts experience a rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, the feeling of lightheadedness, or even like they might faint. Whether you are in space for two weeks or six months, once you return to earth your body experiences many changes, such as a lack of strength, blood volume, differences in coordination and balance, and even a struggle to walk or stand.
To help astronauts transition better back to life on earth, NASA is teaming up with BSN Medical, an international company that supplies therapeutic medical compression garments. BSN engineers are designing custom three-piece elastic gradient compression garments to protect astronauts against orthostatic intolerance (OI) symptoms, which occur when the body reacts to an upright or standing position.
It’s not just astronauts who can benefit from wearing compression garments to prevent orthostatic intolerance. Other chronic orthostatic intolerance conditions such as Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and Neurally Mediated Hypotension (NMH) fall under the OI category. NMH occurs when your blood pressure is normal while sitting or laying down, but is much lower after standing or being in an upright position. POTS refers to an increased heart rate while standing, but remains normal while in a resting position. Wearing compression socks can help fight symptoms of dysautonomia and prevent the feeling of dizziness or lightheadedness after standing up.
While we have compression stockings that help manage these symptoms, this new, innovative garment designed for NASA is still in the research phase and shows a lot of promise. Check back for the latest on the development of this cool new compression garment.