Deep Vein Thrombosis... blood clot symptom recognition and how to prevent dvt.

What is Deep Vein Thrombosis ("dvt" or "DVT")

DVT as it is commonly referred to is defined as: "a plug or clot in a deep blood vessel, formed by coagulation of the blood, and remaining at the point of its formation".

This condition is not life-threatening UNLESS a small piece of the clot (called an embolus) travels in the bloodstream to become lodged in a vital blood vessel, blocking the blood supply. Death can then result.

What Causes Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Swollen ankles and thrombosis can develop during long periods of sitting -- in particular long plane flights, as well as bus and train excursions. This inactivity of the legs causes the blood circulation to slow to a minimum. The blood stagnates due to the effect of gravity.

Deep vein thrombosis can also be aggravated by the low pressure in an aircraft cabin of around 11 pounds per square inch (psi). Normal atmospheric pressure at sea level is 14.7 psi. Therefore, because of this reduced cabin pressure in the aircraft, it is easier for swelling to develop.

You may be more prone to develop deep vein thrombosis if you:

  • are overweight;
  • have a history of heart failure;
  • are of advanced age;
  • have varicose veins;
  • are unfit;
  • take oral contraceptives;
  • have high levels of cholesterol;
  • have an occupation where you sit for long periods; and/or
  • smoke

    Reduce The Risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis.

    By following some simple rules, you may reduce the risk considerably if you:

  • wear knee high, low compression stockings/socks;

  • do leg exercises such as knee raises, bending the feet up and down and exercise the toes by flexing;

  • drink plenty of water (not alcohol);

  • carry out deep breathing exercises;

  • wear loose, non-constricting clothing; and

  • sit with legs straight, not crossed.

  • If travelling, seek medical advice before taking anti-coagulants (blood thinners), such as aspirin.

    For active people, travelling by plane, train and bus, special socks are advisable. These are a support sock graded to give firmer pressure at the ankle and lighter pressure at the top of the calf.

    By indicating 15-20mm of Hg at the ankle, this is equivalent to 15-20mm of mercury at the ankle joint -- the scientific way that blood pressure is measured. The top should measure less than about 8mm Hg. The socks must be soft, have no elastic tops and should be fitted by a podiatrist.

    WARNING : This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional podiatric advice. Treatment will vary between individuals depending upon your diagnosis and presenting complaint. An accurate diagnosis can only be made following personal consultation with a Podiatrist, your Doctor or your foot specialist.

    Still have a question about your foot problem, leg pain or you just need some footwear advice?

    Visit our Foot Problems page and ask us a question about your specific problem. We'll do our best to help.

    To find a Podiatrist or Foot Doctor near you visit our Find a Podiatrist page and click on your country.

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