3 Simple Steps to Help Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis
Did you know that up to two million Americans are affected annually by deep vein thrombosis (DVT)? Of those, 300,000 will die from a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in the lungs.
A DVT is when a blood clot forms in one of the veins, usually in the arms or the legs. If the blood clot dislodges, it may travel to the lungs causing a pulmonary embolism (PE). A PE can have serious or life-threatening implications.
It is important to be aware of the warning signs of DVT. Symptoms of DVT include:
- Color changes– skin may be pale, red or slightly blue
- Pain in the arm of leg
- Swelling of the arm or leg
“Many patients who get a DVT don’t have obvious symptoms right away,” says Brandy Piper, vascular nurse navigator at Bronson. “It’s important to know your risk for developing DVT and be aware of the signs and symptoms. This can help minimize the likelihood of further health complications.”
Check out these three simple ways to help prevent DVT:
- See your doctor regularly. Scheduling annual checkups allows you to discuss any health concerns with your doctor. Reviewing your family history helps your doctor become aware of any health risk factors. If your family has a history of developing blood clots, your risk for DVT may be higher. Don’t have a primary care provider? Click here to find one.
- Get active. “Prolonged immobility can increase your chances of getting a DVT,” says Piper. “This may include a long car ride or flight. When traveling, try moving around to help maintain healthy blood circulation. This will help prevent a blood clot from forming. It’s also important to drink plenty of fluids to ensure that your body stays hydrated.”
- Stop smoking. Getting a DVT is one of the many negative effects that smoking has on the body. Overtime, smoking damages your veins and arteries. This damage may result in a stroke, heart attack or a DVT. Smoking also builds up plaque in your blood vessels. You can stop plaque buildup by giving up tobacco products. Click here to view our free smoking cessation classes.
If you think you have any signs or symptoms of DVT, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Visit the nearest emergency room or call 911 if you are experiencing severe pain or swelling in your arms or legs, chest pain and/or shortness of breath.
Brandy Piper, our vascular nurse navigator, can be a great resource to you. She can help you make sure you receive all the services we can provide and offer explanations when you need them. She can be reached at (269) 341-6906 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bronson Heart & Vascular team is committed to heart and vascular disease prevention, and sharing easy steps you can take to live a healthier life. Looking for a Bronson doctor to help you? For a complete list of providers at Bronson, visit bronsonhealth.com/find-a-doctor or call Bronson HealthAnswers at (269) 341-7723.