How do I reduce my risk of DVT?
Did you know that as many as 600,000 people a year develop Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) in the U.S? This condition involves blood clots in leg veins which cause pain, redness, swelling, and even death. Interestingly, more than 1 in 4 adults affected by DVT or pulmonary embolism are under 50 years old. Furthermore, one-third of first time DVT sufferers get a pulmonary embolism after, which kills as many as 100,000 people each year.
Fortunately, there are many ways to help avoid this painful and deadly condition. Here are some actions you can take right now:
Look over your Medications
Birth control, or any estrogen-containing medication, can increase the risk of DVT. If your doctor is worried about your susceptibility, you may need non-hormonal contraception like an IUD or patch. NSAIDs, like ibuprofen and naproxen, also raise the risk of developing blood clots. So check your medicine cabinet!
Know your Family History
With every DVT case in the family, your risk rises. For example, having two siblings with a history of blood clots raises your susceptibility 50-fold. Knowing this allows your doctor to think twice about prescribing certain medications to you.
Obesity can double DVT risk in people, especially women who are over 5’ 7” and men over 6’ tall. The blood has to pump farther against gravity, which reduces flow in the legs. This increases the chance of blood clotting. So lose the weight to lose the risk!
Raising and lowering your heels while sitting, or walking around engages the lower leg muscles which forces blood to move upward. This helps prevent DVT greatly if you sit for long periods of time.
Know the Risks If You’re Traveling or Recovering from Surgery
There are plenty of ways to keep the blood flowing if you plan on being immobile for an extended period. Understand that the risks are especially high for those recovering from surgery and those that are on long flights or car rides. You should flex your feet, stretch your legs, curl and press your toes down, or just work the muscles in your legs to encourage blood flow.
Wear Compression Stockings
Depending on your needs, a great pair of compression socks or hosiery can do wonders for your legs. Whether you’re working, traveling, or getting better, these socks will keep the blood moving even when you can’t.
Seek medical assistance for DVT immediately if you experience:
- Pain (Charley Horse)
- Warm to the touch
- Discoloration (red or blue)
Don’t wait to start DVT prevention as it can quickly lead to pulmonary embolism, or death. Just knowing the risk factors can greatly decrease your chances of developing blood clots. Find out more by visiting Ames Walker today, and find the right compression hosiery for your unique needs.
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