Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) refers to the medical condition where a blood clot develops in the deep veins, commonly in the legs. This blood clot can lead to partial or complete blockage in the vein, damage the one-way valves, and prevent blood flow back to the heart.
The blood clot can even break free and move to other vital body organs such as the lungs eventually leading to the life-threatening medical condition called Pulmonary Embolism.
DVT is dangerous and early diagnosis is vital to the prevention of pulmonary embolism. You must always be careful about the symptoms and seek immediate medical assistance in case of any discomfort.
Common Symptoms of DVT
Deep Vein Thrombosis can be recognized by the following common signs:
- Pain and tenderness in the leg
- Swelling, generally in one leg
- Skin discoloration where the skin turns reddish or bluish
- Leg feels warm on touch
Common Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism
Pulmonary embolism can be easily identified by the below-mentioned symptoms:
- Rapid heart rate
- Immediate shortness of breathe
- Cough, occasionally with bloody mucus
- Sharp pain in the chest which tends to get worse with deep breathing
Steps to Reduce the Risk of DVT
There are numerous small steps that can help reduce the likelihood of DVT and pulmonary embolism. Please make a note of the following tips:
- Speak to your doctor about the need for blood-thinners
- Consult your doctor about compression stockings and their recommended usage
- Avoid staying in the same posture for longer durations at a stretch
- Maintain a BMI between 25 to 30, lose weight if you are overweight or obese
- Make an exercise routine or go for a walk every day to stay active and boost blood circulation
- Wear comfortable clothes, avoid wearing anything that is too tight
- Drink a lot of water, especially when you are travelling
- Quit smoking
- If you are about to take hormonal medicines whether for birth control or hormone replacement therapy, always speak to your doctor about the risk of clotting
- Ensure to always take measures for self-care to prevent diabetes, blood pressure, heart failure, or other health issues.
Tips to Prevent Travel-Related DVT
Although travel-related DVT is rare in healthy people but taking precautions is always good.
- While undertaking long journeys in plane, train, bus, or car, ensure to get up and move around once every hour.
- If you cannot move around, remember to perform heel-toe exercises and circle your feet.
- Ensure to take breaks every 2 hours if you are driving the car for journeys longer than 4 hours
- Do not take sleeping pills
- Do not consume alcohol during long flights
- Wearing compression stockings can also help prevent DVT but it is recommended to speak to your doctor before travelling. He will also help you choose the right size and prescribe the desired usage.
- If you have had DVT in the past and have been prescribed blood thinners along with other medications, there probably isn’t any risk of another DVT incident during your journey. You must, however, cross-check with your doctor to travel stress-free.
If you have a family history of DVT or have yourself suffered from blood clots in the past, it is wise to take all necessary precautionary steps to prevent new blood clot formation that may lead to DVT or pulmonary embolism. Always maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat a nutritious diet, and consume your meals on time, maintain optimal levels of physical activity, and consult your doctor for any unusual symptoms that you may notice.
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