Deep vein thrombosis, also known as DVT, is a very real medical problem that affects an estimated 900, 000 people every year; about half of those cases are asymptomatic, and the other half can manifest with symptoms which include swelling and redness, cramps in the calves and an inexplicable rash. Deep vein thrombosis is also known as venous thromboembolism (VTE) or venothrombosis – know the medical terms when it comes to your potential condition!
Not all of the symptoms are obvious, but you’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of preventative measures for DVT. Could you spot the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis when it happens to you or somebody you know? Just a small few small changes to your daily routine and lifestyle could put you at a higher risk for developing blood clots. Here are twelve home remedies to treat deep vein thrombosis if it were to happen to you.
1. Spotting a blood clot – the symptoms
First, you have to know the symptoms of a blood clot so you can recognize the condition if it were to happen to you or someone close to you. The most common symptoms experienced by patients are cramps, throbbing or pain, usually occurring in the calves – and usually worsening with activities such as standing or walking.
There are other symptoms to watch out for too, like redness or a persistent tingling feeling. It’s worth mentioning that the pain associated with blood clots in the legs usually occurs only in one leg. Less common, though equally important symptoms to remember include a rash – and symptoms like lightheadedness, chest pain, and chest tightness can also happen when the blood clot in the leg becomes dislodged and heads for the lungs. This is when you can’t do without medical attention. Sometimes symptoms of a blood clot are less obvious, and approximately half of cases experience no symptoms at all.
2. Prevention is the first cure
Prevention is much better than cure – and it’s something you can do at home. It’s much more than just another cliché! The first steps to preventing blood clots from forming are to have a routine of regular exercise. You should also get up and stretch your legs at least once every fifteen to twenty minutes if you plan on sitting in one place for a long time: This literally gets the blood in your legs flowing again and stops blood clots right in their tracks.
You should also follow a healthy, natural diet to prevent the forming of blood clots – and to make sure that your body is happy. : You should have as little artificial foods as possible in your overall diet – if you stay natural, you can stay healthy. Going tor regular check-ups is another way to prevent health issues, just in case you fall under approximately half of the DVT cases that present completely asymptomatically.
3. Stopping them from forming
You can stop blood clots from forming before they do. The first step to it if you are a potential risk for deep vein thrombosis is to stay active – exercise regularly, though in moderation: Blood clots form when the blood thickens and forms a clot – think of it like a cork in a champagne bottle; when the cork pops, the clot (i.e. the cork) can make its way through your body and end up in your lungs, heart or brain – and all of those are likely to be fatal.
Never stagnate. Frequent travelers, who are more often than not stuck with their legs in the same position for several hours at a time are at an especially high risk for developing blood clots in their legs; the same is true for anyone who sits still for too long, whether you’re a writer, gamer or office worker. Always remember to stretch.
4. Ayurvedic remedies for blood clotting
Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient form of natural healing originating from India; mankind has come an exceptionally long way with Ayurvedic traditions and remedies, and thousands of people still absolutely swear by them. Some Ayurvedic remedies against blood clotting include garlic, ginger, and Ginkgo Biloba.
These treatments for overall blood thinning is still in the process of being scientifically studied, but what science can tell us so far is firstly that garlic acts as an anticoagulant (or blood thinner) – and will strengthen the effect of medications which thin the blood. The same is true for ginger, and this has been studied (and proved!) by the University of Maryland.
Ginkgo biloba, on the other hand, usually comes in the form of supplements and can be bought over the counter – and has also been proven to act as a blood thinner, and could well strengthen the effect of blood-thinning medications taken alongside it.
5. Following a healthy diet
Beyond including the Ayurveda in your overall diet, most people could also make a few alterations to their diet to prevent deep vein thrombosis from occurring. Foods that can prevent deep vein thrombosis include foods that are high in Vitamin E, which also acts as a blood thinner on its own; alcohol is also known as a potent blood thinner, and can be useful if in moderation – say, a glass of wine with dinner.
Certain foods should be avoided, especially if you are already taking anticoagulant drugs like aspirin or warfarin. Foods high in Vitamin K should generally be avoided if you are taking anticoagulant drugs – this includes spinach, chard, sprouts, kale; see a pattern there?
Leafy, green fruits and vegetables should generally be avoided on what’s known as the Warfarin diet. (Also remember that the Warfarin diet applies not only to Warfarin but to other drugs as well – this is something you might want to check with your pharmacist, dietician or doctor beforehand.
6. Regular anticoagulant drugs
Antithrombotic drugs, also known as anticoagulants, are usually taken or prescribed to prevent thrombosis or clotting from occurring; some of these can be purchased over the counter (with an obvious recommendation from your doctor first!), such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Others, like warfarin, often have to be taken with a prescription.
If you know that you are at a higher risk of developing blood clots, it’s worth taking anticoagulant drugs as part of your daily regimen – usually half an aspirin in the morning. Again, double-check this with a medical professional first so you know it doesn’t interact with medication you’re already taking.
Just what places you at a higher risk? A family history of deep vein thrombosis, a lesser level of physical activity, taking medication which instead thickens the blood; heart disease, and smoking will also put you at a higher potential risk of developing deep vein thrombosis and blood clots. Always be conscious of your health!
7. More preventative measures
More preventative measures can be taken to prevent blood clots from occurring. Wearing tight-fitting clothing can increase your chances of developing a blood clot, so always stick to clothing that lets your skin breathe – if it’s too tight, it’s not doing your body any good. Remember that this also includes socks and shoes, not just obvious clothing like pants or tights.
If you have a history of blood clotting in your own medical history, your doctor might also prescribe you what’s called compression stockings to improve circulation and prevent blood clots from forming. You can also do some yoga positions to raise your legs above your head once in a while.
This takes the pressure off your legs, and studies have shown that straightening your legs (as most people do) is in fact bad for your circulation! Speaking of yoga, research has shown that regular yoga practice improves overall blood flow and even has a positive effect on your mental health in the long run!
8. Notes on massage
Massaging the legs can and does improve overall circulation in the affected body part – and especially when your muscles are tired and aching, it just downright feels great. We would go ahead and recommend massage as part of your overall regimen – every now and again, it’s good to get the blood flowing.
Massaging improves circulation and breaks down lactic acid, the cause behind muscle pain after an exercise session. But the same massage could be dangerous if you already have a blood clot you don’t know about – and the results could even prove to be fatal. If you have an existing blood clot, massage – and especially deep tissue massage – is never recommended as a treatment: It could cause the blood clot to dislodge from its current position and make its way to your heart, leading to what’s called an embolism. And that’s where the real danger lies.
9. Drinking plenty of water
Did you know that dehydration thickens the blood? People who become severely dehydrated are prone to symptoms that can range from fainting spells to headaches and nausea. And by the time you feel that you’re dehydrated and think, “Man, I could really use a glass of water,” your body has already dehydrated to the point where it is desperately in need of moisture. You should drink several glasses of water per day – sometimes eight, sometimes less; scientists are still trying to decide which.
When exercising, going for walks, or just trying to get yourself through a hot day, always make sure you have a supply of water within reach. You’ll feel much better, and your body will thank you for it. Before you reach for the sugary drinks, keep in mind that sugar and salt both have a dehydrating effect on the body – and too much sugar and fat could also lead to developing high cholesterol, which puts you at a higher risk of… You guessed it, deep vein thrombosis.
Make sure that the water you drink is as pure as possible and free from any contaminants; sometimes this means avoiding tap water and going for bottled instead. Also, take care of your overall water intake – water is good for you, but too much water can lead to what’s known as water toxicity.
10. Using a heating pad
The use of a heating pad is often recommended during the aftercare for deep vein thrombosis: This should help to minimize pain and swelling associated with the condition – and offers some definite relief to patients. The heating pad helps to improve circulation in the affected area. If you don’t have a heating pad nearby, a hot water bottle will suffice – just be careful that you don’t warm up the area to the point where you burn your skin in the process.
(This, by the way, is why a hot water bottle isn’t called a boiling water bottle instead – yes, they can burst, melt and burn, so always be careful!) Heating pads can be purchased for fairly cheaply from your nearest drug store – and they’re usually cheap and re-usable, too.