6 Best Ways to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that each year 1 to 2 out of 1,000 Americans develop deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and/or pulmonary embolism (a condition that’s caused by a blockage in the lung blood vessels that leads to DVT). Deep vein thrombosis typically affects veins in the neck, legs, and arms and is accompanied by pain and swelling. DVT can provoke serious health complications if left untreated. Luckily, you’re able to prevent DVT by following some simple rules. Here is a list of things that can lower the risk of deep vein thrombosis and even boost your overall health: 

1. Get regular exercise 

An inactive lifestyle can negatively affect anyone but it’s especially harmful and dangerous for those who have a genetic predisposition to blood clotting or have another health issue that increases their risk of deep vein thrombosis.  

Sitting for long periods will interfere with normal blood circulation, which raises your risk of DVT. A sedentary lifestyle can also lead to obesity which is considered another major risk factor for deep vein thrombosis. Being physically active doesn't mean you have to become a gym rat. You just need to find activities you enjoy doing and try to move throughout the day.

2. Manage your weight 

Extra weight raises blood pressure, thus increasing the risk of deep vein thrombosis. That’s why it’s so important to maintain a healthy weight. If you have obesity or extra pounds, consider speaking with your healthcare provider about making changes in your diet, starting an exercise regimen, and finding support to help with your weight loss. Even losing just a small amount of weight will help you lower the risk of DVT and other serious problems.

3. Give up smoking 

Giving up smoking will not only help prevent vein problems but also boost your overall well-being and lower various health risks. According to the American Heart Association, smoking is the most important preventable reason for premature death in the United States.

Quitting smoking will reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, lung problems, and certain cancers. Smoking raises high blood pressure which is another DVT risk factor. It also negatively affects blood circulation and raises the tendency for blood to clot.

4. Take your meds as prescribed 

Certain medications prescribed for other conditions might raise your risk of developing deep vein thrombosis, especially if you are not taking them as directed. If you've been diagnosed with a cardiovascular condition like heart disease, be sure to follow your doctor's prescription directions to the letter. It’s also a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider about any concerns you may have regarding your prescriptions and the risk of blood clots.

5. Manage your blood pressure 

It’s known that untreated hypertension (high blood pressure) can contribute to cardiovascular complications, like stroke, heart attack, and heart failure. However, you might not know that high blood pressure can also contribute to DVT. If you're already at risk for deep vein thrombosis, or if you have a family history of DVT, pulmonary embolism, or other blood-clotting disorders, it's crucial to monitor your blood pressure regularly.

6. Be aware of DVT symptoms 

Deep vein thrombosis is characterized by swelling, pain, or unusual redness or warmth in one of the legs. However, these symptoms can also occur in your ankle, foot, arm, or neck. Tell your doctor right away about these symptoms if you’re experiencing them. 

If you have more severe symptoms, like chest pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness, or if you're lightheaded or coughing up blood, this could be caused by pulmonary embolism. It’s essential to seek medical attention immediately. 

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