If you or someone close to you has been affected by deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, you probably know that March is DVT Awareness Month. If not, there’s a chance that you don’t even know what DVT is, and you’re not alone. In fact, according to Clearing the Clot, about 74% of Americans have little to no awareness of DVT, even though around 900,000 Americans are affected by DVT each year…whoa. In an effort to help spread awareness, we are sharing 5 things that we think everyone should know about DVT, from what it is to how to prevent it.
What is DVT: DVT occurs when your blood cells stick together in a deep vein, forming a blood clot; these clots generally occur in the legs.
What are the causes: Clearing the Clot shares that anything that prevents your blood from circulating properly can result in a clot, which can lead to DVT. This includes traveling, injury, illness and pregnancy, as well as lifestyle factors including smoking, obesity, and more.
What are the symptoms: Symptoms may include swelling in the foot, ankle or leg, cramping, warm skin, discomfort or severe pain, and red or discolored skin. Surprisingly, almost 50% of people with DVT don’t experience any symptoms.
What are the risks: DVT is a serious condition because blood clots in your veins can break loose and get lodged into your lungs, blocking blood flow; this is called pulmonary embolism, or PE.
How to prevent DVT: Healthy circulation is the key to preventing DVT. Maintaining healthy blood pressure, staying active, drinking plenty of water, and wearing compression legwear (especially if you are sedentary) are all great ways to combat DVT. Additionally, take any blood thinners that your doctor prescribes if you’re having surgery to lower your chance of developing a clot afterward.
We hope that we’ve answered some of your questions about DVT! If we missed anything, leave us a note in a comment below, and help us spread the word this DVT Awareness Month.
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