Deep Vein Thrombosis: What is it and How to Avoid it

A deep vein thrombosis of the right leg. Note ...
A deep vein thrombosis of the right leg. Note the swelling and redness. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re travelling a lot and you often feel a stabbing pain in your legs, then you might wanna have a second look at this. You might not know it yet, but you might be suffering from Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

Deep Vein Thrombosis is a blood clot that forms in the vein, located deep within the muscles  of the leg. Blood is supposed to flow, and if it becomes stagnant, then the blood may clot. Blood clot in the vein itself is not dangerous, but if it breaks off and travels to the heart into the  pulmonary system then lodges into the lungs (a condition called pulmonary embolism),  then it can be fatal.

The symptoms of DVT include leg pains or swelling, cramps, chest pain and breathing difficulties.  An estimate of 60,000 to 100,000 Americans dies of DVT in a year.

Half of the Deep Vein Thrombosis cases do not actually show any syndrome, but it’s best  if you are well aware of it.

Know your risk.  You are most likely a candidate if your blood tends to clot quickly (a condition that can be inherited), if you’ve had  an injury that have caused injury or trauma to the vein, if you smoke, overweight  or  if you suffering from conditions such as cancer or varicose veins. If you taking birth control pills, if you are pregnant or have given birth in the last 6 weeks, you are also at risk. Traveller who spends more time sitting in a car or lodged  into an  airplane seat are at risk. Travelers who are too tall  whose legs are jammed or short travelers whose legs do not touch the airplane floor are more susceptible. If you are at risk, there’s a few things you could do to avoid DVT.

1. Keep moving. It will stop you from being immobile and will keep your blood circulation flowing. Do the airline’s recommended in-flight exercise. Walk around every two hours if it’s a long-haul flight. If you’re travelling by car and you’re the designated driver, stop every two hours and do a bit of stretching. Drive in turns if you’re with someone who could also drive.

2. Wear comfortable clothes. Avoid wearing clothes that will constrict the blood flow specially in your legs. Loose tops, comfortable pants and footwear should do the trick.

3. Avoid too much alcohol. A glass of red wine would do.  A substance found in red wine called Resveratrol was found to be significant in making the blood less sticky.

4. Don’t take sleep-inducing drugs. Try to stay awake. The human body is not designed to sleep in a sitting position. Prolonged sitting compresses the veins of the pelvis and slows down the blood to the veins in the calves. This position leads to blood clots.

5. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Sports drinks are also recommended as they contain sodium,potassium and carbohydrates  and are  less like to form blood clots at the end of a long flight.

6. Drink supplements like Vitamins E, C, and B complex as they are helpful in blood  clotting and coagulation.

Deep Vein Thrombosis doesn’t have to be like a thief in the night. You just have to be prepared for it.

 

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_vein_thrombosis

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/dvt/data.html

http://www.medicinenet.com/deep_vein_thrombosis/article.htm#tocb

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