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One of the best ways to learn something about your health is to live it. That is how I learned how deadly blood clots can be. I went to the doctor to check for nerve damage in my leg from an accident I had some years ago. They performed a nerve conduction test and an ultra sound. The nerve conduction went as expected but the doctor became very alarmed when she got half way into the ultra sound test. I asked her if something was wrong. She said you have a blood clot. We may have to admit you to the hospital. I asked her if it was that serious. She said all blood clots are serious.

Blood clots can form in any part of the body. They tend to cause major problems when they block blood flow. Blocking can cause heart attacks, strokes and other serious vascular problems. Blood clot develop more offend in the deep veins in the legs. This is the area my blood clot was found. This is called a “deep vein thrombosis” (DVT). These clots can be more dangerous than clots in the coronary arteries because they are more likely to go undiagnosed. That was the case with my blood clot. I had no symptoms. No pain. No swelling. No redness. I was just like 80% of the people that died because of DVT I had no symptoms. 200,000 people die each year in the USA because of DVT. The worst danger of DVT is pulmonary embolism, which when one or more clots travel from the legs to the lung. One in five people who have pulmonary embolism die from it.

Clots that form in your veins near the surface of your skin are rarely serious. They are called “superficial thrombosis”. Those that form in your deep veins in your legs are life threatening. When clots develop in your thigh it’s called “femoral”. When it forms behind your knee it’s called “popliteal”. When it forms in your groin it’s called “iliac”. These clots rarely dissolve on their own. They are more likely to keep growing, break free and travel to your lungs. I also found out that even if you survive a pulmonary embolism you have increase risk for health complications. 4% to 5% of people that have a pulmonary embolism will develop pulmonary hypertension, which is high blood pressure in the lungs. You are also at risk for damage to the veins in your legs. This can cause chronic leg swelling, thickening of the skin and skin ulceration.

My doctor had my attention. I know wanted to know what I needed to do to not have a blood clot. I wanted to know how this happen. I’m active. I eat fairly healthy. I get my rest. What did I miss?

There are risk factors for DVT. 10% o the people that develop DVT have genetic predisposition to developing these types of clots. If you had a parent that had blood clots you are more at risk. That is why knowing your family medical history is important. Prolonged inactivity is another risk factor. If you travel a lot and you sit for over five hours and you’re over weight, have had a heart attack or a history of blood clots you are at greater risk for DVT. Recovery from injuries and surgeries can cause prolonged periods of inactivity and raise your risk for DVT. Cancer survivors also have a higher risk for DVT. Pregnancy is another health risk for DVT. Women taking breast cancer drug tamoxifen (Nolvadex) or supplemental estrogen in birth control or hormone therapy have an increase risk. Being overweight will increase the pressure in the veins in your pelvis and legs and will facilitate clot formation. People older than 60 have an increase risk of DVT. Don’t forget clots and DVT can occur at any age. Smoking will also raise your risk for clots.

Diagnosis of DVT is not easy. Most people don’t have any symptoms until a clot completely blocks a vein. When you have a compete block you can get leg swelling, redness, increased warmth and some pain. You may also get sudden shortness of breath, chest pain, feel dizzy, have a rapid pulse or a cough that produces bloody mucus. If you have any of these symptoms you should go to the emergency room immediately or call 911.

DVT are usually diagnosed with an ultra sound. This is the test that discovered my clot. I had no symptoms and was not at risk. If an ultra sound gives you a positive reading for DVT your doctor will order a CT scan in which a dye is injected into a vein in your arm to help to take computerized images of your vascular system and your lungs. This scan helps the doctor to determine how much damage has been done. Surgery is rarely used in treating large deep venous thrombosis.

Most people with DVT will require medication. You should not stop taking your medications for DVT without talking with your doctor. Medication helps to prevent clots from growing and prevent new clots from developing. Some people are also hospitalized for 5 to 7 day to stabilize their body.

Before starting your fitness program, consult your physician.

Watch “Tips to be Fit” on www.lifeandspiritonline.com and www.GoodDayGoodHealth.com

To prevent clots you should rotate your ankles and flex your toes every twenty minutes. When traveling on a plane or train you should stand and rise up and down on your toes to help your circulation in your legs. Walking for thirty minutes everyday will also help to strengthen your cardio vascular system. You should also stay hydrated with water all throughout the day. This will help to increase blood volume and prevent clots. Don’t smoke. Do strength conditioning exercises 4 to 5 times a week. Compression socks can help with DVT. Compression socks put pressure on your legs to keep your blood moving. These socks help keep clots from forming as well as keep swelling down and may relieve pain where a clot has formed. Compression stocks can be bought over the counter, but your doctor will need to write a prescription for socks with more pressure. Wear loose-fitting clothes. Loose fitting clothing allows your blood to flow unrestricted. Tight clothing will cause pooling of your blood.

I’m now on medication, still exercising drinking water, avoiding second hand smoke and getting rest. I’ll be taking medication for the next 5 months. Remember I had no symptoms for DVT.

Before starting your fitness program, consult your physician.

Watch “Tips to be Fit” on www.lifeandspiritonline.com and www.GoodDayGoodHealth.com

If you have a fitness question or concern you would like addressed write to “Tips to be Fit” P O Box 53443 Philadelphia PA 19105 or tipstobefit@gmail.com. If you’ve missed an article of “Tips to be Fit” just search “Tips to be Fit.”

If you have a fitness question or concern you would like addressed write to “Tips to be Fit” P O Box 53443 Philadelphia PA 19105 or tipstobefit@gmail.com. If you’ve missed an article of “Tips to be Fit” just search “Tips to be Fit”

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