blood clot forming inside a blood vessel

Blood Clots: What Are They and How To Prevent Them

Blood clots are a serious condition that can be fatal if not treated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, blood clots affect as many as 900,00 people each year. Of that number, nearly 100,000 people die. Even though blood clots are more common in those over 65, blood clots can happen to anyone at any age. 

What Is a Blood Clot?

A blood clot is a clump of blood that forms and hardens in your veins. These clumps can get stuck and lodge themselves in a blood vessel. This can lead to significant medical issues like deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or a pulmonary embolism.

Deep vein thrombosis is a type of blood clot that often forms in the legs, but can also crop up in the pelvis or arms. DVT blood clots in the veins of your legs can grow, dislodge, and travel through your bloodstream to your heart. This can cause a pulmonary embolism—a sudden blockage of a lung artery.

What Causes Blood Clots?

A damaged blood vessel can cause a blood clot to form. Typical causes for this coagulation can be linked to obesity, pregnancy, family history, a recent surgery or injury, and age. Smoking can also harm your circulation, which can increase your risk of DVT.

Those with varicose veins should schedule a screening with their local vein specialist, as these veins will put you at a much higher risk of clotting. 

What Are the Symptoms of a Blood Clot?

Common blood clot symptoms include warmth, swelling, discoloration, or numbness. Pain can also accompany these warning signs. That being said, blood clots can form without any symptoms at all. 

A thrown blood clot can lead to a pulmonary embolism. Seek immediate medical attention if you begin experiencing shortness of breath, dizziness, a rapid heartbeat, or a cough that produces blood.

How To Prevent Blood Clots Naturally

Despite the causes, blood clots can happen at any time without rhyme or reason. There are plenty of precautions you can take to prevent blood clots—and you can practice all of them at home.

Wear Loose-Fitting Clothes

Tight-fitting clothes are popular, but they can be the right kind of fodder for blood clots. Tight clothing can cut off circulation, causing the right kind of environment for clots. Instead, opt for loose-fitting clothes. Loose clothing will help prevent blood clots—plus, they’re much more comfortable. 

Do Leg Raises 

DVT blood clots often form in the legs. Ensure that you are raising your legs throughout the day or keep them elevated above heart level while lounging after a long day. This will help promote healthy circulation.

Wear Compression Stockings

If your doctor has prescribed compression stockings, use them. Compression stockings help prevent blood clots from forming and pooling in your legs. They will also decrease any uncomfortable swelling.

Exercise

Exercise is important for everyone. However, if you are someone who works at a sedentary job, it’s crucial to get up and stretch your legs. Try to implement over two hours of exercise into your weekly routine to keep your heart and veins healthy.

Eat Less Salt 

A dash of salt is fine—but a lot of it can cause harm to your blood vessels. High salt consumption can cause the inner lining of your blood vessels to malfunction and the pumping chamber of your heart to thicken. In addition to less salt, a healthy diet can help prevent blood clotting.

Medications

Finally, medications can play a big role in blood clot prevention. If your doctor prescribes a blood-thinning medication, ensure you take it as directed.

Concerned About a Clot? Talk to the Vein Specialists

If your varicose veins are putting you at risk of blood clots, you’re not alone. Thousands of people across the country suffer from varicose veins—and luckily, there are treatment options. At Gilvydis Vein Clinic, you can speak directly to a friendly vein specialist regarding your concerns and treatment options. Catch vein disease early on and schedule a screening at Gilvydis Vein Clinic.

Request a FREE Screening