Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Athletes and blood clots

In our last post we told you about World Thrombosis Day, and before that we talked about the effect of athletic activity on veins. Now we take a look at the topic of athletes and deep vein thrombosis, or DVT.

Deep veins are located under the muscle and connective tissue layers in the legs. A blood clot in a deep vein—known as deep vein thrombosis, or DVT—can be dangerous because the high pressure in the system could cause the clot to break free from the vein wall and enter the blood stream. The DVT could then travel up through the legs into another part of the body such as the lungs, where it would become a pulmonary embolism (PE).
DVT or PE symptoms are often misinterpreted as something less serious. A blood clot in the leg may feel like a “Charlie horse,” shin splints, or a twisted ankle. Symptoms from PE are often attributed to a pulled muscle in the chest, asthma, or a “touch of pneumonia.”
In half of DVT and PE cases, no symptoms present at all—but both conditions are medical emergencies. Any of these symptoms should be regarded as a DVT or PE until proven otherwise, especially if someone is in a risk category (including whether there is a history of blood clots in your family).

Remember, being active and fit does not prevent someone from developing blood clots. Athletes, coaches, and trainers should be aware of these risk factors:
·       Traveling long distances to and from a sports competition
·       Dehydration (during and after a strenuous sporting event)
·       Significant trauma
·       Immobilization (in a brace or cast)
·       Bone fracture or major surgery
·       Family history of DVT or PE
·       Presence of an inherited or acquired clotting disorder

Treatment of blood clots depends on many variables, including your health background and the extent and location of the clot. And, of course, prevention is the best medicine. Go to our latest issue of Vein Health News to learn more.

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