Anyone Can Get A DVT
Being young, active, and in great shape is no guarantee. Everyone is at risk of developing blood clots, no matter how healthy you are. Blood clots can be caused by prolonged periods of sitting or standing. Some people are predisposed to clotting, while others may develop clots while traveling, pregnant, or after surgery.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a serious condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein deep in your body. If left untreated, DVTs can be life-threatening. DVT can lead to Pulmonary Embolism (PE), which happens when the clot travels into your lungs.
We are very happy to learn that pro tennis player Serena Williams is well and recuperating quickly at home in Los Angeles after surgery to remove a blood clot from her lung. Yes, even pro athletes can develop blood clots!
Williams needed emergency treatment due to blood clot complications. This condition began as a DVT in her leg, resulting from recent foot surgery. A piece of the clot broke free and traveled to her lungs, creating a pulmonary embolism.
Despite the anti-coagulant medication one receives going into surgery there is still risk of developing blood clots in the legs which can travel to the lungs. That is why most patients are put into anti-embolism stockings as they recuperate in the hospital.
CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton suggests if you have had recent surgery and you know you are going on long travel there are things you should do for prevention. You want to get up every hour when you’re not sleeping, move your feet, stretch your legs, and do a little bit of exercise. You also want to keep yourself well-hydrated. There are certain compression stockings that you can get, either knee-high or full-length stockings that I suggest to all my patients who take a long flight wear.
Here's the scary truth: Up to 2 million Americans develop a DVT each year, and pulmonary embolisms affect at least 100,000. About 274 people die each day from blood clots, or one person every six minutes. In fact, DVT/PE leads to more deaths than AIDS, breast cancer, and car accidents combined.
Symptoms to watch out for:
DVT symptoms include pain, swelling, cramping, discoloration of the skin, and sometimes the affected area will feel warm to the touch. If you suspect you have a blood clot, seek medical attention immediately. Time is of the essence when it comes to blood clots.
PE symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing, or a rapid heart rate. If you experience any of these symptoms, especially if you have been diagnosed with a DVT head to the emergency room immediately.
Let's Talk Prevention
Prevention is much easier than treatment! A few easy ways to help fight off blood clots are to wear compression socks, stay hydrated, and always be aware of your body. There are even some socks made in awesome patterns and colors for travel or for fun! You can also help prevent clots by getting up and moving around frequently while traveling or working, especially if you sit or stand all day long.
I hope these tips help! Comment with any questions or advice you have as well.