We are getting closer to summer which means people are planning their vacations and where they will visit this summer. Traveling is an exciting, albeit hectic, time.
Whether you are traveling by car, plane, bus, or train, there are a few things you should be aware of during your trip. Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is a very real risk that affects thousands of people every year.
At Metro Vein Clinic, we know that you don’t want to be slowed down by something like DVT. Call us today and see how we can treat or help prevent a case of DVT in yourself or a loved one if you plan on traveling this summer.
What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Deep vein thrombosis, DVT, happens when a blood clot develops in a deep vein in the body. Most times, this occurs when your blood thickens and then forms a clump. Typically, these blood clots happen in your thigh or lower leg. On rare occasions, they can develop in other areas of your body.
People often ask us, “Can blood clots kill?” The answer is yes, in certain situations. The clot on its own is not necessarily dangerous, but you do need to treat it immediately. The major risk with DVT is when a portion of the clot fractures off and makes it way to the lungs. If the part of the clot, or embolus, lodges in the lungs, it will block blood flow. This condition is called a pulmonary embolism.
A pulmonary embolism is extremely dangerous. If the blockage is not dealt with promptly, permanent damage can occur in the lungs and other organs. In severe cases, the obstruction is fatal.
Blood clots that form in the thighs are more likely to break apart and cause a pulmonary embolism than clots in other sections of the body.
What Causes Deep Vein Thrombosis?
There are a variety of DVT risk factors. If you have had a recent injury, there may be damage in the veins as a result of the trauma or even from the process of healing. There are also chemical and biological factors that might result in damage to the interior lining of the veins in your legs.
If you have had surgery or a serious injury, be sure your doctor is monitoring you for deep vein thrombosis. Inflammation and immune response are other issues that can lead to blood clots.
If there are times where blood flow slows down, diminishes, or is sluggish, blood clots can form. Typically, people who have lower body surgery, or any serious operation that requires a period of rest are at risk for developing DVT.
Furthermore, if you are traveling for an extended period and are not able to get up and move, you have a higher chance of developing blood clots.
If your blood is thicker, or you have a blood clotting problem, you should be vigilant in watching for signs of DVT. Some genetic conditions can make both of these issues more likely.
Certain drugs, like hormone therapy or birth control pills, can also increase your chances of blood clots.
Unfortunately, sometimes blood clots form for no known reason. In spite of decades of research, much of biology remains a mystery.
Risk Factors for Deep Vein Thrombosis
Certain medical and lifestyle situations can increase your chances of developing deep vein thrombosis.
- A previous occurrence of DVT makes it likely you will develop it again.
- Pregnancy and delivery leave you at risk of DVT for six weeks after giving birth.
- Recent or current treatment for cancer raises your chance of developing DVT.
- Recent or consistent catheter use places you at higher risk of DVT.
- Being over the age of 60 and being overweight are factors for DVT as well.
If you have any of the issues mentioned above, either medicines, surgery, injuries, or biological factors, be aware that you have a significant chance of blood clots. The more DVT risk factors you have, the higher your risk for developing the condition.
While it is hard to prevent some of the causes of DVT, there are things you can do to ward it off during travel. First, and most important, is to keep moving. Every time you can get up and move around, do it. On a flight, take frequent walks up and down the aisle. On car trips, stop regularly and walk for ten minutes.
If you are unable to move around, do some leg exercises at your seat. Curl your toes up, then press them down. Do leg lifts by slowly raising and lowering your legs in a controlled manner. These motions will increase blood flow in your legs.
Next, make sure you hydrate adequately. Drink fluids every chance you get, even if it makes you need to use the restroom more often. Bathroom breaks will at least ensure that you get a chance to stretch your legs periodically. Steer clear of coffee and alcohol as they can dehydrate you.
When you are sitting, do not cross your legs or wear socks with constricting elastic bands. Wearing compression stockings can also decrease your risk of developing DVT. If you are concerned with how they look, wear them under long pants or a pair of loose-fitting socks.
Call Metro Vein Clinic Today
If you plan on traveling this summer or have any of the risk factors for deep vein thrombosis, call the experienced staff at Metro Vein Clinic today. We can treat DVT with medication before it escalates into a significant health problem. If you think you have DVT, call us today and schedule an appointment.
We have years of experience and are one of the highest-rated vein clinics in the Twin Cities. Whether you are suffering from spider or varicose veins, restless leg syndrome, leg ulcers, or anything in between, we have the expertise to treat you efficiently and safely.
When you call, you will work with the most helpful staff in the industry. The team will walk you through the process of scheduling an appointment and dealing with insurance. Call us today at 612-789-8346 and see how we can make sure your veins get and stay healthy.