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.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

World Thrombosis Day – October 13th

Last year we told readers about the first World Thrombosis Day. The effort continues this year with the second annual WTD scheduled to take place on October 13th (the birthday of Rudolf Virchow, the German physician who pioneered the pathophysiology of thrombosis).

The goal of this educational campaign is to raise awareness about blood clots and to reduce the number of undiagnosed cases. Community events, lectures, health fairs, and scientific meetings will help spread the word around the world about this preventable condition.

Here’s a quick review of thromboses, a.k.a. blood clots. A blood clot in a deep vein is known as deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. 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. When that happens the DVT becomes a venous thromboembolism, or VTE. The embolism (a blood clot that has “broken free”) could then travel up through the legs, back to the heart and then to the lungs where it blocks some or all of the blood supply to the lungs. This is called a pulmonary embolism, or PE, and it can often be fatal.

To learn more about this common—and commonly overlooked—medical condition, go to www.worldthrombosisday.org. There you’ll find facts about VTE, as well as personal stories of blood clot survivors and their families.