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What Deep Vein Thrombosis is and How You Can Prevent It

What Deep Vein Thrombosis is and How You Can Prevent It

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a potentially life-threatening condition that happens when a blood clot forms in a vein within your body. In most cases, the clot occurs in a vein in the legs, and you can have more than one clot form at a time. Once a clot forms, you become at risk for it breaking away and traveling to your lungs where it can block blood flow to these vital organs. When this happens, it is called a pulmonary embolism, and emergency medical care becomes a necessity. While the complications involved with DVT are frightening, knowing your risk factors and how to promote better blood flow through your body helps you avoid developing a dangerous clot in your veins.

 

Watch for the Signs of DVT

The main symptoms of DVT involve pain and discoloration in the affected limb. Since the clots usually form in the legs, this pain often begins in the calf and feels a lot like cramps. You may also be able to see redness or feel warmth in the area where the clot forms. Keep in mind, however, that these symptoms can be subtle or not felt at all. If you feel like you may be experiencing DVT, then you should reach out to your physician. People with risk factors or symptoms such as shortness of breath that indicate a possible pulmonary embolism need to be assessed by a medical professional right away.

 

Identify Your Risk Factors

There are many risk factors associated with DVT, and you should be aware that having more than one of them increases your odds of having a clot form even more. Women who are pregnant or taking hormonal birth control medications are at risk for developing DVT due to changes in their blood volume and the way it circulates. Having a sedentary lifestyle, being on bedrest, or doing any activity that involves prolonged sitting such as flying also increases your risk because these activities slow blood flow. People over the age of 65 or who have a family history of blood clots should also be concerned about preventing DVT.

 

Take Preventative Action

As with many health issues, taking action now helps you prevent developing DVT. Naturally, you need to adopt healthy lifestyle habits such as quitting smoking and losing weight so that your body is better able to pump blood through your body. You can also wear compression garments to help restore circulation from your legs back up to your heart. In fact, a recent study found that compression socks were effective at reducing leg swelling and DVT in passengers who wore them on a flight. Increasing your movement by exercising every day and simply getting up to walk around during long periods of sitting can also help to keep the blood moving in your legs. 

The prevention of DVT is as simple as improving your overall health and implementing lifestyle changes such as wearing compression garments that keep your circulatory functioning well. Whether you are pregnant and flying or have another known risk factor for developing DVT, taking action now allows you to benefit from knowing that you are doing everything you can to avoid a health emergency.

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