A few weeks ago we kicked off Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Awareness Month with a guide to recognizing the signs and symptoms of this hard-to-diagnose and potentially fatal disease. But the very best way to protect yourself from life-threatening blood clots is to prevent them from happening in the first place.
Pulmonary embolism (PE), the deadly blood clot that occurs in the lungs as a result of untreated DVT, has been cited as possibly the most common preventable cause of death in American hospitals, with almost 60% of hip replacement patients contracting DVT in the absence of preventative measures.
So what can you do to prevent blood clots caused by DVT and PE?
First and foremost, take good care of yourself. Cultivating a healthy lifestyle, while not an “easy fix,” is the most effective way to prevent not only DVT and PE, but all forms of disease and ailment.
The key components of a healthy lifestyle are:
- Regular exercise (it doesn’t take much, just 30 minutes 3-5 times per week)
- A nutritious diet that includes more living, whole foods than processed ones (think fresh fruit instead of fruit snacks and salted nuts instead of chips)
- Sufficient, restful sleep
- Avoiding long periods of sitting, standing, or inactivity
If you travel often, you know how hard it can be to maintain these healthful habits on the road, but it’s actually even more important to take good care of yourself away from home.
To lessen the toll that long flights or drives can take on the legs:
- Skip that cocktail. Alcohol thins the blood and can affect your circulation.
- Instead of using sleeping pills to nod off at night, try taking several long, deep breaths. Fill your belly and lungs like a balloon, as far as they’ll go, then slowly release.
- Drink lots of water! It’s so important to stay hydrated on-the-go.
- Get up and move your legs. Walk up and down the aisle a few times when the pilot turns off the fasten seatbelt sign, or pull over at a rest stop every couple hours.
- Try wearing medical-grade compression stockings for extra support
If you are preparing for surgery of the legs, hips, or pelvis, consult with your doctor to identify which preventative measures you should be taking.
Following these guidelines won’t completely eliminate your chances of contracting DVT, but they will significantly reduce them. If you feel you may be at risk or would like more information on preventing blood clots, call Bunker Vein today at (512) 726-0599 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.