By Dr. Janet Brill
Leg pain and swelling are two common signs of deep vein thrombosis. This sometimes painful condition typically occurs when a clot forms in a vein that is deep within the body. It can happen in any body part, but most often begins in the legs. Some people are more at risk for this condition than others because of their diet, lifestyle, or age. No matter who is at risk, however, there are ways to minimize the chances of developing DVT or related embolisms.
People at Higher Risk
Many people live their entire lives without much risk for DVT or embolisms. Others are at extremely high risk, and must do what they can to avoid the complications from developing and becoming life-threatening.
Many pregnancy-related complications can occur during childbearing years, with deep vein thrombosis being one of them. Expectant mothers are much more likely to experience a blood clot in their legs due to their inactivity. Many are either put on bed rest, or must spend hours of their day putting up their feet in order to reduce typical swelling related to pregnancy. This limited movement can cause embolisms to form. A mother who is obese, or who already has varicose veins, has a higher chance of developing this complication. The same goes even for those who are not pregnant.
People Over 60
Age is one factor that increases the risk for DVT. While the condition can develop at any age, the risk is increased once a person reaches 60. This is due to the fact that many people at this age become sedentary, and do not get as much exercise as they should. They are also more likely to experience other health issues, which can make it easier for DVT to occur. Heart troubles, for example, limit heart function. The body will find it more difficult in this instance to regulate blood flow, allowing clots to form and embolisms to happen.
Ways to Minimize the Risks
There are countless ways to minimize the risks of deep vein thrombosis occurring. Following these methods will help people at higher risk decrease their chances of developing blood clots and experiencing the associated pain and problems.
Wear Compression Stockings
Special compression stockings have been developed in order to improve circulation in the legs and keep blood flowing as it should. This can reduce the risk of clots forming. There are even anti embolism stocking options available. Knee-high, thigh-high, and open-toe stockings are all obtainable. Choices are for both men and women who are suffering from embolisms. They provide 18 mmHg of pressure so the legs are energized and kept free from pain.
Eat a Proper Diet
Diet plays a major role in health concerns, and DVT is no exception. There are certain foods and drinks that should be avoided in order to keep the blood circulating. There are also other foods that do need to be consumed in order to maintain a proper diet and ensure the body is getting the nutrients it needs for healthy blood flow. Drinking water is the first piece of the puzzle, as it keeps the body hydrated. Dehydration can result in thicker blood that allows clots to form more easily.
It is best to avoid dark, leafy vegetables, as they contain a lot of Vitamin K. This is due to the vitamin’s interaction with certain blood thinner medications a doctor may put a person on if they have DVT. This is especially true if Warfarin is being taken.
Move Every Two to Three Hours
It is important to move every two to three hours. Whether someone has been driving, sitting on a plane or train, or even just relaxing on the couch, the body requires regular movement in order to prevent clots from forming. It is ideal to get up and stretch, or even walk around for a bit, before returning to the previous seated position.
With these methods for reducing the risk of DVT and embolisms, those at higher risk can help to reduce their chances of developing the conditions. Both of these afflictions can be deadly if they are left untreated. Seeking medical assistance right away once signs and symptoms are noticed could make all the difference.