DVT Awareness Month is March
As some of you know I suffered a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) which split off to lodge Pulmonary Embolisms (PE) in both lungs. I am not looking for sympathy but it is important to know about both. The continuing care I require is not typical either so I will not dwell on it other than to say I just couldn't handle Coumadin, the major blood thinner and anti-clotting drug until recently. It is the major ingredient in D-Con by the way. The experience has changed my life.
Anyhow DVTs and PEs have to do with the venous part of the vascular system which returns fluids. It is ying to the yang arterial system that pumps blood out.
- 5 times as many people in the US will suffer DVTs as will strokes or heart attacks this year.
- PEs will kill more people than breast cancer and AIDS combined this year.
- 39 percent of in-hospital deaths will result from PEs.
DVTs can strike people of just about any age and even in excellent physical condition and often without warning. In my case I woke up one morning to find my leg about 5 times normal in size. In my case it was not especially painful but DVTs can be. Some risk factors?
- Aging of course although they are showing up in greater numbers among kids that play video games and surf the net rather than play outside.
- Sitting for long periods of time. Those like me who lived on airplanes were at special risk but people who sit all day in an office chair without moving around are too.
- Risks increase with being overweight or obese.
- Overall sedentary lifestyle.
- Women on replacement hormonal therapies and birth control seem to be at higher risk as are those post pregnancy.
- People recovering from surgery or bleeding injuries are at risk.
- Those with a family history of DVTs and PEs may have a higher risk.
What can you do? First go online and learn more about DVTs and PEs. There are a number of sites that will walk you through a survey. Talk to your doctor. And...
- Get up and walk around during breaks and at lunch. If you are on a long airline trip get up and walk when you can.
- Invest in an ergonomic chair that fits you, is comfortable, and does not cut off circulation to your legs. If you are an employer, get good adjustable chairs for your people. You may have to pay a few bucks but this all gets expensive in terms of medical treatment, tests, and loss of work productivity.
- Wear support stockings---especially when on a flight. Guys you can get them in dress colors or white. I wish I had known about them and had been told they could help. They are hard to get on but so comfortable once in place.
- Many doctors will now script for self-injecting blood thinners and anti-clotting agents for people taking long international flights.
- Hospitals have caught on and will generally administer blood thinners for those staying more than a day or so. If you find yourself in the situation and are not getting them, ask for them.
- Get to an ER if you suspect you are having a DVT.
As mentioned, my recovery is not typical and may never be resolute. Most people recover more or less completely with some period after requiring blood thinner therapy. There is a possibility a leg or arm that has suffered a DVT may never shrink back to its original size though.
Last edited by sdsester; 03-14-2012 at 01:24 AM.