Deep vein thrombosis, often called “DVT” or blood clots occurs when blood clots form in the deep blood vessels of the legs and groin. These blood clots can block the flow of blood from the legs back to the heart. Inactivity, a leg injury, smoking, medical conditions (such as heart disease), certain types of surgery (including an open-heart surgery), prior history of a DVT or pulmonary embolism, or persistent or irreversible risk factors such as active cancer, can make a DVT more likely.
What are symptoms of a blood clot?
Symptoms of a blood clot include:
· Swelling in the affected limb
· Pain or tenderness
· And color changes including redness, paleness, or other changes in skin colors
If you have these symptoms and think you have a blood clot in your leg, you need to call your doctor right away or go to the nearest Emergency Room. Blood clots in the veins near the surface of the skin are less dangerous but blood clots in the deep veins of the leg are more serious and are more likely to travel to the lungs.
What can I do to prevent a blood clot?
There are some things you can do at home to prevent a blood clot:
· Walk every 2-3 hours to get your blood circulation flowing
· Don’t sit for more than 4 hours before moving around
· Perform exercises like foot flexing every 30 minutes (read below for details)
· Wear compression stockings
Exercises to help prevent blood clots*:
Ankle Circles: Lift your feet off the floor and twirl your feet as if you’re drawing circles with your toes. Continue this for 15 seconds, then reverse direction. Repeat as desired.
Foot Pumps: Keep your heels on the floor and lift the front of your feet toward you as high as possible. Hold for a second or two, then flatten your feet and lift your heels as high as possible, keeping the balls of your feet on the floor. Continue for 30 seconds, and repeat as desired.
Knee Lifts: Keeping your leg bent, lift your knee up to your chest. Bring back to normal position and repeat with your other leg. Repeat 20 to 30 times for each leg.
Shoulder Roll: Lift your shoulders upward, then pull them backward, downward, and forward, creating a gentle circular motion. Continue for 30 seconds. Then reverse direction if desired.
Arm Curl: Start with arms on chair rests, bent at a 90-degree angle. Raise one hand up to your chest and back down. Alternate hands and continue for 30 seconds. Repeat as desired
Knee to Chest: With both hands clasped around your right knee, bend forward slightly and pull your knee to your chest. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds; then slowly let your knee down. Repeat the same stretch with your left knee. Perform 10 stretches for each leg.
Forward Flex: Keep both feet on the floor and slowly bend forward, reaching for your ankles. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds and slowly return to a normal seated position.
Overhead Stretch: Raise both hands straight up over your head. Use one hand to grab the wrist of the opposite hand and gently pull to one side. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds, and repeat with the other arm.
Shoulder Stretch: Bring your right hand over your left shoulder. Then place your left hand behind your right elbow and gently pull your elbow toward your body. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds and
Repeat with the other arm.
Neck Roll: Relax your neck and shoulders. Then drop your right ear to your right shoulder and gently roll your head forward and to the other side, holding each position about 5 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
What is the treatment for blood clots?
Anticoagulants, or more commonly known as “blood thinners,” is the main treatment for blood clots. Medications may include: