March 2010 – DVT Awareness Month

A DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) Can Strike Young and Old Alike

A DVT develops when a blood clot forms in the deep veins of the body (usually the lower extremity, but rarely in the pelvic region). A small piece can break off the blood clot and travel to the lungs, where it can cause a pulmonary embolism. It is estimated that pulmonary embolisms kill 300,000 Americans a year. Most of these deaths can be directly linked to DVT.

The prime reason for a DVT is a recent surgery. The chance of forming a blood clot is 70 times greater and stays elevated for up to 3 months after surgery. Generally, after a surgery, stockings are put on your legs which assist the venous system in getting blood back to the heart and eliminate the pooling of the blood in the lower extremity. So it is very important to continue wearing compression stockings after surgery.

DVT can be experienced by young and old alike. A DVT can also be caused by obesity, heredity, pregnancy, an injury (such as an athlete might experience) or stand/sitting for long periods of time (students, airline passengers and long distance drivers). Some occupations (such as mechanic) may lend themselves to putting employees at risk of DVT because of confinement. There is no warning of a DVT. If a blood clot forms, your leg will be painful or feel very hot to the touch. Your Physician can do a Doppler test on your appendage which will detect the blood clot. If you are susceptible to a DVT, wearing of support stockings can reduce the risk.

Your heart is a one way pump in getting blood from the heart to your entire body. Your veins have one way valves which together with your muscles help the one way flow of the blood supply. When these valves do not close properly, a blood clot can form. Compression stockings work in conjunction with the valves in helping the valves close correctly and help eliminate the possibility of clot formation.

It was seven years ago that a news correspondent, David Bloom, was covering the Iraq invasion and his death was caused by a fatal blood clot. What seemed like dangerous assignment dodging bullets and explosions ended in death not by anything we would have thought, but by a pulmonary embolism caused by a DVT. Pulmonary embolisms take more lives each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined! Protect yourself everyday! Drink plenty of water, and take hourly breaks to walk and stretch your legs. If you feel short of breath, or feel unusual swelling and warmth in your legs, especially after surgery or long distance travel, call your physician.

Remember, being compliant with wearing your Jobst, Mediven, Sigvaris, or Juzo compression stockings and support hose is the key to keeping your legs and body healthy.


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One Response

  1. […] hope you will take time to read our previous news letters about DVT and prevention – –A DVT Can Strike Young and old Alike and Federal Awareness Campaign.  […]

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