This time of year, many people spend a lot of time traveling. Long car rides and long flights increase the risk of a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clot. DVTs commonly occur in the legs, but can also form in the arms. The biggest problem with DVTs is that they can travel to your lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism. It is essential that you are mindful of causes and do your best to prevent them.
Those at HIGHEST risk:
Sitting for extended periods of time
Birth control or hormone replacement therapy with Estrogen
Injury or surgery to an area
Age greater than 60
Blood disorders than make your blood thicker (factor V Leiden)
Signs and Symptoms of a DVT :
Unfortunately many are not aware that they have a DVT until it causes further problems.
Swelling of the leg
Pain or tenderness in the leg (especially when walking)
Warmth to the area
Redness in the area
If a DVT travels to the lung, it can cause a pulmonary embolism or PE. The clot blocks the major vessels to the lungs and can be fatal. Symptoms of a PE include:
Unexplained shortness of breath
Pain with breathing
Coughing up blood
Fast heart rate
If you have any signs or symptoms of a DVT or PE, you should immediately go to an emergency department for evaluation and treatment.
To prevent a DVT:
Avoid a sedentary lifestyle
Maintain a healthy weight
Move around frequently
If you cannot walk around, exercise your legs while sitting (raise and lower heels with toes on the floor, then switch and raise and lower toes with heels on the floor).
Wear loose fitting clothing
Talk to your medical provider if you are at high risk for DVT
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