Tuesday, March 11, 2014

DVT: symptoms to look for and step toward prevention

Last week we described what DVT is and who is at the greatest risk for getting one. Now let's look at the most common symptoms to watch out for.

In most cases, the affected area-- usually in the leg-- will be painful, swollen or tender, with a redness or discoloration of the skin. Even a muscle cramp that feels especially sharp and painful can be an indication of DVT. DVT is a medical emergency, so any symptoms should be regarded as a DVT until proven otherwise, especially if someone is in a risk category. 
It's important to note that about half of the time, DVT has no symptoms at all.

The good news is that DVT can be prevented! And because DVT can occur with little or no warning, the best action to take is prevention. Without preventive treatment, for example, up to 60 percent of patients who undergo total hip replacement surgery may develop DVT. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following tips for DVT prevention: 
  • Understand your level of risk, and talk to your doctor about DVT, especially if you're in a high-risk group.
  • Maintain a healthy weight, eat a healthy diet and don’t smoke.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Move around as soon as possible after surgery, illness or injury. Even passive movement helps.
  • When traveling or sitting for more than four hours get up and walk around every few hours and exercise legs while sitting.
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol or caffeine.
To find out more about DVT symptoms and prevention, go to www.stoptheclot.org.

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