How to Prevent Blood Clots

If you are inactive for long periods of time, your blood can pool together and thicken into a clot, which leads to deep vein thrombosis. If the clot begins to travel, it can lead to some serious medical conditions such as pulmonary embolism which occurs when the clot travels to your lungs. In this case, the clot can block the flow of blood and can cause serious damage to your lungs. Blood clots are very serious but also completely avoidable. There are simple preventative steps that will help you to avoid blood clots.

How to Prevent Blood Clots

Following are a few measures you can take to prevent blood clots and deep vein thrombosis.

1. Wear Compression Stockings

Compression stocking is one way to keep up the steady flow of blood in your veins as they gently squeeze your legs. This is a good option, especially post surgery to stop the blood from pooling in one place.

2. Try Pneumatic Compression

This is a treatment that uses cuffs on the legs that inflate and deflate with air every couple of minutes to squeeze and massage the veins in the legs. The massaging helps to improve blood flow.

3. Do Physical Activities

Deep vein thrombosis is likely to develop post surgery. Therefore, it's important to start doing some physical therapy during the recovery time. Physical exercise is a great way of maintaining steady blood flow. Watch the video below and learn how to prevent blood clots by doing physical exercises:

4. Elevate Your Legs

Keeping your legs on an elevated level while sitting or lying down also helps to improve blood flow and prevent blood clots. At night, you can elevate the feet of your bed by placing several pillows under them.

5. Move Around

Sitting in one place for long periods of time, such as when travelling, can also increase risk of blood clots. Remember to get up and move about every hour or so. You can also improve blood flow by flexing your ankles while sitting.

6. Keep Hydrated

Dehydration can cause blood clots, which is why drinking lots of fluids helps to prevent blood clots. Also, you should drink less alcohol as it decreases the level of fluids in the body.

7. Take Anticoagulants

Anticoagulants are a type of drug that prevents pooling up of blood. They are prescribed to patients at risk of blood clotting.

8. Try Certain Foods and Supplements

Eating foods that are naturally high in salicylates will help prevent inflammation in the veins. Salicylates are found mostly in fruits and herbs. Learn how to prevent blood clots by eating fruits, herbs and spices:

Fruits

  • Apricots
  • Oranges
  • Pineapple
  • Blackcurrant
  • Blackberries
  • Plum
  • Blueberries
  • Prunes
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Cranberries
  • Grapes
  • Tangerines
  • Tomatoes

Herbs and Spices

  • Licorice
  • Peppermint
  • Turmeric
  • Paprika
  • Thyme
  • Honey
  • Vinegar
  • Cider
  • Curry
  • Cayenne
  • Ginger
  • Dandelion
  • Gingko

 

Foods that are rich in vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids are also good for preventing blood clots as both the nutrients act as blood thinners. Some of those foods are:

  • Omega-3: Fish such as anchovies, salmon, trout, herring and mackerel are high in omega-3. Fish oil is also a good source of omega 3. Pant sources such as flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, canola oil, sunflower oil and soy are all packed full of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Vitamin E: Nuts like walnuts and almonds, vegetable oils, lentils like chickpeas, oats and wheat are all good sources of vitamin E.

Other types of food that can prevent blood clotting are curcumin, nattokinase, garlic and foods that are rich in vitamin C and polyphenol.

Warning Signs of Blood Clots

Looking out for signs of any disease is the first step towards prevention. Learn the warning signs to better understand how to prevent blood clots.

1. Blood Clot in the Leg

If you have a clot in your leg, you may experience swelling, a warm sensation, pain, tenderness, and a pale or bluish discoloration. The symptoms will depend on the size of your clot. Also, it will be highly unlikely for you to get clots in both your legs.

2. Blood Clot in the Heart

If you have a blood clot in your heart, you can have a heavy feeling in your chest. Feeling light-headed or experiencing shortness of breath are also signs of blood clots.

3. Blood Clot in the Abdomen

If you experience severe pain in your abdomen along with vomiting and diarrhea, there are chances you have a blood clot in your abdomen.

4. Blood Clot in the Brain

Having a blood clot in your brain causes severe headaches along with a loss of speech or sight.

5. Blood Clot in the Lungs

Blood clot in the lungs is also known as pulmonary embolism and some of its symptoms are shortness of breath, pain in the chest area, rapid heart rate, breathing problems or coughing up blood. You need to seek immediate medical care if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Pressure, fullness or a squeezing pain in the center of your chest lasting more than a few minutes
  • Pain extending to your shoulder, arm, back or jaw
  • A fast heartbeat
  • Numbness of your face, arm or leg
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden blurred, double or decreased vision

How to Treat Blood Clots

You will require either routine or emergency treatment, depending on the size and location of the clot.

Emergency Treatment

The emergency treatment usually involves the administration of thrombolytics which are also referred to as clot busters as they quickly clear up blood clots. As these medicines can cause sudden bleeding, they are only used under emergency situations.

Routine Treatment

Blood thinners or anticoagulants are administered in a non-emergency situation to stop clots from getting bigger and preventing more blood clots. A blood thinner can be administered as a pill, which is called warfarin; and as an injection or intravenous tube, which is referred to as heparin.

 
 
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