March is DVT Awareness Month – High Risk Groups

March is DVT Awareness Month. We have discussed DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) many times and it is such an important topic, it is time to review again. Your veins are thin-walled blood vessels that carry oxygen-depleted blood from the tissues back to the heart and lungs to be re-oxygenated. In order to move the blood back up against gravity, the calf muscles in the leg squeeze the deep veins to move the blood back to the lungs and heart. The human body has three types of veins; Superficial Veins which are the veins that are close to the skin (the ones that you can see), Deep Veins which lie within the muscle structure within the body and Perforating Veins which connect the deep veins to the superficial veins. The veins contain one-way valves for the return of the blood back to the heart and lungs. When these valves do not close properly, stagnation of the blood can occur and a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can form, most often near a venous valve. The DVT can permanently damage the vein wall and valves with scarring or fibrosis, which can cause them to become incompetent, or non-working, resulting in reflux (backward) flow of blood and venous congestion. The DVT can break loose and become a life-threatening Pulmonary Embolism (PE).

Compression socks and stockings work as a secondary pump and along with the calf muscles to close the venous valves, assisting to move the blood back to the heart and lungs. There are many ways to develop a DVT, but we can take many steps in helping prevent DVTs, especially when we travel, whether by airplane or by a long car or truck ride.

It seems natural for the average airline passenger has greater concern about the airline crashing than about developing a life threatening DVT, that is likely due to knowledge of DVTs, or more specifically, our lack of it.  While the chances of developing either of these conditions is very small, some people when they fly or take long car or truck trips, may be more prone to developing a DVT than others.

High Risk Groups Include:

  • Frequent Fliers
  • Truckers
  • Older people (over 60)
  • Pregnant Women
  • Those who have recently had surgery
  • Women who are taking oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy
  • Travelers with medical conditions which would predispose to develop a blood clot (cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or family history of DVT)
  • Young, healthy, & athletic

Happy Man Wearing Compression SocksThe picture to the right represents one of our many clients. He is in his mid 60’s and is preparing to go on an airplane trip which is not a long haul…the trip may only last 3 hours, but what he is doing may save his own life. A study by Aviation Health Institute has shown that 17% of DVTs occurred in association with short flights. A British newspaper published findings that the occurrence of DVT in short-haul flights was more prevalent than expected…4.3% of 568 passengers developed clots which were detected by ultrasound. Two of the passengers actually developed a pulmonary embolism. This has led the researchers to hypothesize that blood clots develop in the first 2 to 3 hours of flight and become larger and more dangerous with longer flights. Not all blood clots are symptomatic and some small ones do resolve on their own.

athletic3The picture to the left represents a group of individuals who you would not normally associate with developing a DVT; the young, fit and healthy. Again, these individuals may actually be helping to saving their own lives by wearing support socks during outdoor activities and during air travel. Athletes and especially endurance athletes show a high incidence of developing a DVT. This may be due to their efficient cardio system pumping blood more slowly. It has been claimed that up to 85% of flight DVT victims fall into the athletic category. One study has shown the near elimination of DVTs in the young, fit and healthy category when they wear compression hose or support socks. Many athletic teams require their members to wear compression socks when they fly.

There are several things you can do to assist in preventing DVTs:

  • Wear compression socks or hosiery
  • Flex your foot and calf muscles while seated every half hour
  • Don’t sleep when flying
  • Keep hydrated with electrolyte-balanced solutions and or water.
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Get up and walk once an hour ensuring you flex your calf muscles
  • Choose an aisle seat if possible, more easily facilitating movement
  • Do not allow the front of your seat cushion to cut into the back of your knee
  • Check with your health care practitioner to determine if he/she has additional recommendations

All these can be discussed with your physician; wearing properly fitting support hose or support socks may be a very effective preventive measure.

Know the Risk factors of DVT

Know the Symptoms of DVT and if these develop seek medical attention immediately.

Call one of SupportHosePlus.com’s Certified Fitters for assistance with selection and sizing of support hose or support socks for assisting you in the prevention of DVT, especially during travel.

Happy & Safe Travels!

Vanda

March Is DVT Awareness Month-Remain Vigilant for DVT

Last week I told you that DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) can present itself with minimal symptoms. This week I would like to tell you a story that really happened and how easily it is to convince yourself that a DVT is simply something that will go away.

This story is about a female. She is in her 40’s, apparently healthy with no chronic health conditions, and very active. She got up one morning and went to make coffee. All of a sudden she felt as though she had been hit by a truck. She felt light headed and had waves of nausea. She thought she had food poisoning or sudden onset of flu. Her right calf was painful and swollen.

By afternoon she was obviously limping, overwhelmingly fatigued, and sweating (she thought she possibly had a fever from the flu). She passed out on the couch telling her son she just need to rest and would go the doctor the next day if she was not better. Then she passed out in the bathroom, but was sure it was a really bad flu bug. By the end of the day she was able to eat a bowl of soup and keep it down. She was certain she was now on the mend.

The next morning she was still tired; she thought it was just post flu. Her real problem was now her calf. It was now warm, swollen, and painful. She thought she had pulled a muscle while walking the dog. The pain in her calf kept her up that night.

On the third morning, when she flexed her foot it caused pain. She got on WebMD and self-diagnosed herself as having an inflammation of the calf muscle. She decided to go to the urgent care center and told her husband to go on and do what he needed to do. After accessing her health status, the physician at the urgent care center did an ultrasound to rule out a blood clot. To his (and her) surprise there was a blood clot in the calf.

DVT formation SupportHosePlus.com

Now she remembered pulling that calf muscle about 6 months earlier, but assumed it was from turning or twisting on ice while running or walking the dog. The “pulled muscle” had seemed to resolve in a couple of weeks. The physician thought that was probably when the blood clot formed and labeled the blood clot as idiopathic because her only risk factor was a longstanding prescription for low-dose birth control pills. Because she was stable, she was sent home on Coumadin and Heparin.

The internist she saw a few days later thought the “flu like symptoms” she experienced were warning signs of a pulmonary embolism (PE). She had probably thrown a clot from the calf when she got up that first morning.

She will now be wearing her support stockings for at least one year, remain super-vigilant for DVT, and will never allow any type of hormone therapy. All of our support stockings and support socks are specially priced off of the manufacturers suggest retail price.
This lady was very fortunate. She had passed out twice oblivious of what was going on. She could have easily died from the PE. Know the symptoms of DVT and PE.

Signs and Symptoms of DVT

  • Pain in the leg or pelvis region
  • Tenderness and swelling of the leg
  • Discoloration of the leg (reddish)
  • Areas of the leg or pelvis region that feel warm to touch
  • Whole leg swelling

Signs and Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism

  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Chest pain-sharp, stabbing: may get worse with deep breath
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Unexplained cough, sometimes with bloody mucus

Similar scenarios have happened to athletes when they have experienced injuries. It could happen to anyone! If you suspect a DVT see your physician. If you suspect a PE get medical attention immediately!

Vanda

March is DVT Awareness Month – Symptoms of DVT

This month is DVT Awareness Month and we have been addressing different aspects of this malady. This week we are looking at symptoms of DVT. While most victims of DVT
(Deep Vein Thrombosis- blood clots in the deep veins) are 60 years or older, DVT can strike anyone – young or old – athlete or sedate – especially if they have risk factors. DVT is the silent killer and may present with minimal symptoms. Age, family history, obesity, immobility, pregnancy, recent surgery or injury to the hips or knees, contraceptive pills, and hormone replacement therapy are some risk factors that make a DVT more likely to occur.

Signs and Symptoms of DVT

  • Pain in the leg or pelvis region
  • Tenderness and swelling of the leg
  • Discoloration of the leg (reddish)
  • Areas of the leg or pelvis region that feel warm to touch
  • Whole leg swelling

Symptoms of DVT can be similar to other conditions, like a pulled muscle or “Charlie horse” and can delay diagnosis. Some people may have no symptoms.

Blood clots are more common in the left leg, possibly because the femoral artery in that leg passes anterior to the vein, and may compress the vein. Symptoms of a DVT from travel do not always develop immediately after travel, but more likely within three days of arrival at your destination.Symptoms may not manifest themselves for up to two weeks after a long trip

Potential complication of a DVT is the possibility of a Pulmonary Embolism (PE). A PE happens when a piece of the blood clot breaks off and travels through the bloodstream and becomes lodged in the lung.

Signs and Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism

  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Chest pain-sharp, stabbing: may get worse with deep breath
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Unexplained cough, sometimes with bloody mucus

If you suspect a pulmonary embolism, call 911 or go to the nearest ER. Having this knowledge could save your life!

If you have associated risk factors, or want to help prevent the risk of developing a blood clot, it is important to wear gradient compression hose especially during travel due to prolonged immobility. Stockings also help to relieve swelling, pain and post thrombotic syndrome (PTS). PTS is a late complication of DVT in which signs and symptoms may include pain, edema, hyperpigmentation and skin ulceration. DVT treatments include anticoagulant medicines and surgery. If you want to help prevent the occurrence of a DVT you should look at your risk factors, exercise your legs, wear loose-fitting clothing, keep hydrated with water and wear graduated compression stockings.

You should become familiar with the symptoms of DVT so you may be your own activist.

Save a friend or loved one – tell them about DVT!

Vanda
PS Since we have the medi sale on, I thought I would share with you some of our favorite styles

medi Sheer and Soft attractive in appearance – only you will know they are medical support hose

medi Comfort  durable, discreet and semi-sheer – easier to don (put on) and doff (take off) because of the latest knitting technology

medi forMen styled and sized for men – available in regular and petite (short) lengthM

March is DVT Awareness Month – Risk Factors

About 2 million people experience DVT each year. It can affect anyone (male or female),at any age without warning. Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism (DVT/PE) are often under diagnosed. They are  serious, but preventable medical conditions. It is to your advantage if you know DVT risk factors. Some of the factors you can change and some of them you cannot.

Following is a list of factors that increase the risk of developing DVT:

  • Injury to a vein, often caused by:
    • Fractures
    • Severe muscle injury
    • Major surgery (especially of the abdomen, pelvis, hip, or legs)
  • Slow blood flow, often caused by:
    • Confinement to bed (possibly due to a medical condition or after surgery)
    • Limited movement (a cast on an extremity to help heal a injured bone)
    • Sitting for a long time, especially with crossed legs
    • Paralysis
    • Sedate lifestyle 

      mediMaternity
  • Increased estrogen:
    • Birth control pills
    • Hormone replacement therapy, sometimes used after menopause
    • Pregnancy, for up to 6 weeks after giving birth
  • Certain Chronic medical illnesses:
    • Heart disease
    • Lung disease
    • Cancer and its treatment
    • Inflammatory bowl disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)
  • Other facts that increase the risk of DVT include:
    • Previous DVT or PE
    • Family history of DVT or PE
    • Age (risk increases as age increases)
    • Obesity
    • A catheter located in a central vein
    • Inherited clotting disorders
    • Varicose veins

The more risk factors you have, the greater are your chances of developing a DVT. Change the risk factors you can to give yourself a better chance of not developing a DVT. If you have a muscle injury or you are scheduled for surgery, discuss the option of wearing a 20-30mmHg support stockings or support socks to prevent the DVT. When Rod and I have surgery we discuss this with our surgeons and receive their approval to bring our own 20-30mmHg garments (which we know fit correctly) rather than wear their TEDS!

If you have a sedate lifestyle or sit behind a computer, get up and move around at least once an hour. WALK!! WALK!! WALK!! If you have surgery, get up and move as soon as your physician gives you permission. Sometimes that is even the same day as surgery. According to a study from Oxford University, patients recovering from surgery are at a high risk of DVT for much longer than previously thought. In this study, it was found the likelihood of a patient to need hospital treatment for a DVT was 70 time higher than the norm. For those who had day surgery, the risk was 10 times higher than the norm. The danger was highest in the third week post-op, but continued for around 12 weeks.

If you are pregnant, start wearing support hose as soon as you learn of your pregnancy (learning to put them on during your first trimester helps you to put them on in that last trimester) and continue to wear them for at least 6 weeks after delivery. Besides the hormonal changes going on, there is also the weight of the baby on the saphenous veins which can cause decreased blood flow and the risk of DVT. Maternity panty hose not only increase the flow of blood by using gradient compression, but also lift the baby up off the veins and to some degree help the back.

Help keep your friends or loved ones in good health, tell them about DVT and how to prevent in by wearing compression hose or compression socks.

Here are a few tips to help you and your loved ones stay healthy:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • If you smoke, quite. This is one of the greatest gifts you can give your loved ones.
  • Exercise your legs regularly when sitting or laying for long periods of time…This can be as simple as making figure 8’s with your feet or just walk for a few minutes.
  • When sitting, stretch you legs and change position frequently.
  • Take a deep breath frequently.
  • Elevate you legs whenever possible.
  • Be careful about chairs and leg rests that compress the calf or behind the knee.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol intake (it dehydrates the body).
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Wear loose, non-binding clothes when traveling.
  • If you have family members with multiple DVT’s and they have been diagnosed as having a clotting disorder, consider being tested yourself.
  • If you are having surgery, discuss the possibility of DVT with your surgeon. Many are pleased that you areIf you are having surgery, discuss the possibility of DVT with your surgeon. proactive.
  • If you are pregnant, wear compression stockings during your pregnancy and for 6 weeks postpartum.
  • Above all…wear compression stockings or compression socks to increase you circulation

Let’s all get out there and let our friends know about DVT,

Vanda