Blood Clots: Try These Strategies to Prevent the Formation of Blood Clots
Understanding Blood Clots
When a blood vessel develops a leak through a cut or other damage, your body sends platelets and other substances (clotting factors) to the area to form a gel-like clot that helps plug the wound and prevent excessive blood loss.
You see this when bleeding slows or stops after a cut breaks the skin. Ideally, clots dissolve, and normal blood flow resumes through the vessel once the wound heals. But clots can form on the inner walls of blood vessels in response to weakened or damaged areas in veins or arteries.
For instance, fatty deposits (plaque buildup) related to elevated cholesterol can cause clots. In addition, leg veins weakened or damaged by increased pressure (venous insufficiency) or varicose veins may also form clots.
These types of clots may not dissolve naturally, leading to various health complications.
What happens when a Blood Clots doesn’t dissolve?
Health complications related to a blood clot include impaired circulation leading to pain in the affected area, often the legs. You may also notice tenderness, redness, or warmth at the site of a clot.
Sometimes a clot grows large enough to block blood flow completely and may cause a heart attack or stroke.
A clot can also break away from its original site and travel through the bloodstream to another area. A clot that lodges in the lungs can cause a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. This is a significant risk related to clots that form in the deep veins of the legs (deep vein thrombosis).
Preventing Blood Clots:
Medical conditions that increase your risk of clot formation, such as peripheral artery disease or venous insufficiency, require medical attention.
Treatment to prevent clots may include medication, angioplasty, or other minimally invasive therapies to widen narrowed vessels and restore normal circulation.
Otherwise, you can decrease your risk by developing habits that promote healthy circulation and keep your blood vessels strong and functioning normally, including:
- Exercising regularly
- Managing your cholesterol
- Losing excess weight
- Avoiding prolonged sitting
- Drinking adequate fluids
- Stopping smoking
- Monitoring your salt intake
- Wearing loose clothing
Prolonged sitting increases your risk of developing a clot in the leg veins, including traveling or sitting for hours at your desk.
Try standing, stretching, or taking a quick walk break every hour or so at work. When traveling by air, get up and move around or straighten your legs and flex your ankles repeatedly to help restore blood flow. Opt for periodic rest breaks when traveling by car to stretch your legs.
It’s also important to manage conditions such as diabetes and elevated blood pressure that affect the elasticity and strength of your blood vessels.
Schedule an evaluation at Frontier Medical Care today for more tips on preventing blood clots and information about minimally invasive treatments that restore healthy circulation. Call the office or request an appointment online.