Preventing Blood Clots
A blood clot can be very serious or even deadly. When a blood clot forms in a vein, often in your leg, it is called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). When a blood clot travels from a vein in your leg or other parts of the body to your lung, it is called a pulmonary embolism.
Who is at risk?
People who sit still or have to lie down for long periods are more likely to be at risk for a DVT. This includes:
- People who travel often, especially on long flights or car/bus rides
- People who are older than 40
- Women who take birth control pills
- People in the hospital for surgery or who are confined to their bed for more than two days
- Women who are pregnant or have just had a baby
- People who have had a stroke
- People who are receiving treatment for cancer
- People who’ve broken a leg or another bone
- People who’ve had a blood clot in the past
- People with a history of a clotting disorder
What are the signs and symptoms of a blood clot in either a vein or in the lung?
People who may have a DVT might feel or see:
- Leg cramping or skin that is tender to a light touch
- Warm skin
- Redness of the skin
- Pain near the vein
- A vein that looks blue
People who may have a pulmonary embolism may:
- Have a hard time breathing
- Feel chest pains
- Feel lightheaded
- Feel their heart beating hard or fast
- Cough up blood
How can I prevent blood clots?
- During long flights or car rides
- Get up and walk around once per hour
- Flex your feet or squeeze your toes for 15 seconds every hour
- Wear compression stockings
- Take blood thinners prescribed by your doctor