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    Tips to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

     It first starts out as a simple sore calf muscle that you ignore and decide to take that trip outside the country with swollen legs. You would never think it would lead to a life-threatening condition, would you? After the trip, you schedule an appointment to see your doctor for the persistent pain and sluggishness in your leg that you've developed over the trip and you find out that you have large blood clots in your leg. You're immediately hospitalized for the condition and, two days, later you're struggling to breathe and experiencing excruciating chest pains. Unfortunately, the blood clots formed in your leg have broken off and traveled to your lungs, blocking off the much needed blood, oxygen and nutrients. This condition is called pulmonary embolism and is very life-threatening.

    After the incident, you do some research and discover that even if you belong to the young or middle aged group bracket you are still vulnerable to deep vein thrombosis or DVT. The chances of getting DVT will increase from a number of risk factors, including taking certain medications, immobility that allows blood to pool in your veins due to prolonged sitting, standing, pregnancy, surgery or trauma such as a car accident, and conditions that increase blood clotting like cancer and autoimmune disorders.

    Weeks or even days before the fatal pulmonary embolism breakthrough, symptoms may appear, but it is typically misinterpreted as a minor leg sore. Even if deep vein thrombosis is difficult to recognize we need to emphasize education and prevention methods and hope that these measures can help you avoid life-threatening conditions.

    Make a habit to review the medications you are given such as birth control pills which regulate ovulation and may increase the risk of blood clots. If a person is worried about blood clotting risks, it's best to talk to your physician about non-hormonal contraceptions like the barrier method or copper IUD. Just recently, the FDA announced that testosterone products, like prednisone and other steroidal medication, can raise the risk of getting  DVT at high doses.

    It is also extremely useful to understand your family medical history and genetics because it is important to know your strengths and weaknesses on a more molecular level to avoid easy injuries and sicknesses. It has been said that your risk increases 50 fold if a person has two or more siblings with DVT. Research even shows obesity, which increases blood pressure in the pelvis and legs, and being tall ( > 6 feet), which requires a longer travel time up the veins against the force of gravity, are also risk factors for DVT, among other things.

    After being hospitalized, be watchful for the occurrence of DVT especially post-surgery where general anesthesia is involved because it temporarily widens the veins which allows blood to pool and possibly clot.

    Do not ignore the signs of deep vein thrombosis in the legs, such as pain that feels like a pulled muscle, abnormal swelling and leg discoloration (a blue and red discoloration). If the following signs are present, it is best to visit a medical professional for pulmonary embolism: shortness of breath, chest pain, unexplained coughing especially with blood and rapid heartbeating.

    Disclaimer: This article should not be construed as medical advice. Please contact a licensed physician for a proper diagnosis of your specific case.

    Benefits of Leg Compression

    Leg compression is specialized apparel that will be worn from the foot up to the knee or higher. There are also special designs for leg compression apparel that come in the form of tights or pantyhose that can reach up to the waist; other designs include sleeves or footless socks that stretch from the ankle to the knee. Leg compression apparel are specialized garments that have gradient pressure which means the firmness in the foot area is tighter and gradually loosen up toward the knees and thighs. If compression apparel is correctly fitted, it can reduce swelling and also improve blood circulation of the lower extremities like the legs and the feet.

    Compression apparel help with venous leg conditions when they are worn; ideally, should worn daily and eventually removed during the night before going to sleep. When alternative treatments are not suitable for patients, then they can turn to leg compression apparel which can be worn for years and even for life.

    Millimeter of mercury or mmHg is used to measure the pressure of leg compression apparel. Generally, leg compression apparels are available in a range of 8 to 40 mmHg, but for most patients it is recommended to use up to 20 to 30 mmHg compression apparel. It is recommended that you get a proper diagnosis from a trained medical professional if you decide to use pressures above 20-30 mmHg because it may instead deter blood circulation if it is too tight. They come in a variety of colors and patterns to suit the demand of the users' personal taste and lifestyle on a daily basis.

    To ensure you receive the proper leg compression, it is best to accurately measure the ankle, calf and thigh circumference because if it's too tight the compression apparel will begin restricting normal and healthy blood flow and too loose compression apparel will have no pressure on the affected area.

    Wearing compression on a regular basis can improve stagnant blood flow and encourage lymphatic drainage in the muscles. Aside from injuries or medical issues, compression apparel can also improve athletes' competitive performance by reducing lactic acid build-up in the arms and legs, and speed up recovery time after a high-impact workout or intense game.  Even if your not involved in heavy activities such as hiking, running, snowboarding, weight lifting, or playing sports, compression apparels are great for idle work like when traveling, sitting at a desk, or standing all day - such is the life of your everyday businessman, doctor, nurse, retail worker, or if you're pregnant. It is considered a conservative method for treating disorders such as Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI), lymphedema, Post-Thrombotic Syndrome (PTS) and prevent blood clots from forming in the lower extremities.

    Although compression apparel can't eliminate varicose veins completely, it can help alleviate the discomfort and pain related to the underlying vein disease. If you've experienced this issue before, you may also feel the sensation that your legs have become lighter from the reduced stress as a result of wearing compression sleeves or socks. It encourages blood flow back up to the heart due to graduated compression which means more pressure is applied on the ankle and foot, decreasing as you go up the leg.  Another benefit of leg compression is its affordability and convenience; if you don't have the time or money to spend on expensive massages or medical procedures, compression apparel may be your best solution. It not only stops the deterioration of varicose veins, it minimizes bruising and prevents blood clots from forming, especially after surgery, and even adds the benefits of leg warmers.

    Disclaimer: This article should not be construed as medical advice. Please contact a licensed physician for a proper diagnosis of your specific case.