Deep vein thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis
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Prevention of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

How to prevent DVT
The following can help prevent blood clotting:

  • Walking and exercise
  • Taking breaks standing while traveling long distances
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Compression stockings
  • Avoiding long periods of immobility

Walking can decrease the risk of developing DVT or a blood clot.
The goal is to walk for 30 minutes 3 times per week (every other day). Speed is NOT a factor. A comfortable pace is best. Stop walking and rest for a few minutes if your legs begin cramping, then continue walking. (Total walk time should be 30 minutes.)

What can you do to be safe on long trips?
Six hours into your trip your legs start aching. This leg pain could be a sign that you have deep vein thromboembolism (DVT). DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in your veins, usually in the legs. If that clot breaks loose and moves to your lungs, it can be fatal. This condition is called pulmonary embolism or PE.

  • Keep your legs moving to help blood flow. When you walk your leg muscles squeeze the veins and move blood to your heart.
  • If you have to sit, do toe exercises. Curling and pressing your toes down will keep your blood pumping.
  • Avoid regular socks with tight elastic bands at the top. Instead wear compression stockings that put gentle pressure on your leg muscles.
  • Do not cross your legs for extended periods, this can constrict your veins.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Dehydration causes blood vessels to narrow and blood to thicken, which increases the risk for DVT.
  • Take aspirin.

Questions to ask your doctor about DVT:

  • What is deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?
  • Am I at risk for DVT?
  • What can I do to lower my risk?
  • How do I know if I have DVT?
  • What are the warning signs?
  • What can I do to prevent DVT?
  • What are my blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels?
  • What is my body mass index?
  • If I am a smoker, what is the best way for me to quit?
  • If I experience any symptoms, what should I do?

If you are concerned about DVT, call (843) 402-CARE (2273) for a free doctor’s referral.