You’re getting ready for vacation and your checklist is a mile long. From making sure you packed the sunscreen, to booking a pet sitter, it can feel like you have a million things to do.
But there’s one thing that most folks leave off their list that could save their life. And that’s boning up on how to spot a potentially tragic DVT.
And if you if you don’t know what a DVT is, you’re not alone. Because for many folks avoiding a DVT starts with finding out what it actually is.
Don’t let DVT ruin YOUR vacation
DVT stands for deep vein thrombosis. These blood clots form in the deep veins of your calves or thighs.
Sitting for too long, and not getting enough blood flow through your legs, causes them to develop. And the older you get, the more susceptible you are, because your circulation starts to slow down anyway.
If the blood clot breaks loose, it can travel through the highway that makes up your circulatory system to your lungs. Now known as a pulmonary embolism, or PE, the clot can cause chest pain, breathing problems, lung collapse and even heart failure.
Clots that don’t break loose can still cause trouble. For example, post-thrombotic syndrome, a condition in which the clot actually re-routes the blood flow in your leg. This leads to increasing pressure and eventually debilitating pain.
Symptoms of DVT or deep vein thrombosis
In other words, even in cases when deep vein thrombosis isn’t life threatening it’s a very dangerous condition. Which makes it important to know the symptoms BEFORE you end up sitting for hours on end in a car or on an airplane.
If you’re going to be sitting for more than a few hours be on the lookout for these common DVT symptoms in your legs…
- swelling, especially the calf
- pain and tenderness
- reddish or bluish skin
- skin that’s warm to the touch
But one of the most frustrating things about deep vein thrombosis is that there aren’t always obvious symptoms. Which is why it’s important to start thinking about DVT and how to prevent it LONG before you head out on vacation or end up having to sit for hours without moving.
4 ways to slash your risk of DVT in the future
The good news is you don’t have to be a sitting duck. Because we aren’t powerless against DVT. Following are four steps you can take…two long-term solutions, and two short-term ones… to reduce your DVT risk.
1. Lose weight:
If you’re overweight, DVT is yet another reason to commit to losing those extra pounds. Being overweight contributes to circulation problems, which increases your risk for DVT.
Dropping even a few pounds can help boost your circulation. And as your weight drops so will your DVT risk.
Exercise, of course, can help you lose weight. But even when the numbers on the scale don’t budge, exercise is excellent for improving your circulation. And healthy blood flow is the best way to avoid a DVT.
When you have to sit for long periods, it’s important to get up and walk around. Walk the aisles of the plane or the train every hour and a half or so. Or if you’re driving, schedule pit stops every couple of hours.
But walking isn’t just important when you’re traveling. Make sure you’re getting up from the couch, desk, or lounge chair too. Commit to a 10-minute stroll every hour or so. Even when you’re at home.
4. Move more:
No matter whether it’s turbulence, you’re stuck in a middle seat, or you can’t leave a meeting or a movie there are times when walking isn’t an option. When that happens channel your inner child and start squirming in your seat.
Try some simple leg exercises when you find yourself having to stay put. Circle your ankles ten times each way. Point and flex your toes. Straighten and bend your knees. The key is to keep the circulation moving through your lower leg.
And, remember, if you feel like something’s wrong, see a doctor immediately. DVT isn’t always life-threatening, but it IS always serious.
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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