Signs and symptoms of blood clot in leg...
Even with the best preparation, blood clot formation in the deep veins of the legs is always a possibility. Below is a list of the most common symptoms associated with an acute DVT. Stop and seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the following:
· Sudden onset leg pain. This will usually begin as a dull ache which can progress to more intense pain.
· Leg cramping, e.g. “a charlie horse.”
· Sudden onset fatigue and heaviness of the legs.
· Bluish or reddish discoloration of the skin. This can occur in large patches or as isolated spots.
· Unusual skin warmth.
Also note that it’s possible to form a blood clot without experiencing any symptoms whatsoever. This is known as a silent clot. This is the single biggest reason why the preventative measures detailed above are highly recommended while traveling. This holds especially true for individuals at higher risk.
Blood clots are avoidable, and vein problems shouldn’t interfere with your travel plans. If you’re in good overall health, simply take proper precautions and chances are that you’ll be fine. If you’re at high risk of clot formation, however, it’s best to seek professional advice before long distance travel. Contact the Advanced Vein Center today at (724) 987-3220 to book an appointment.
Why are blood clots such a big issue? How exactly are they life threatening?
Let’s be clear. Clotting is a protective response which prevents you from excessive blood loss in the event of a cut or other trauma. Unless you’ve got a clotting issue like hemophilia, it’s something that happens in just the right amount, whenever you need it.
Sometimes, however, the clotting response itself can create problems. When blood slows down in the larger veins of the body large clots may form. These are known as thrombi (singular = thrombosis), and most often occur in the leg veins.
These blood clots most often dissolve on their own, but not always. In rare instances they can break loose and become what is known as a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). If such mobile clots make their way to into your organs severe damage is possible, particularly if this happens in the lungs. This is known as a pulmonary embolism (PE), and the results can be life threatening.
Every year in America, the Centers for Disease control (CDC) estimates that between 70,000 and 90,000 adults die of pulmonary embolism. Many more experience clots which don’t result in PEs, but it’s still not something to toy around with.
Theoretically anyone can develop a DVT or PE. In practice, however, one or more of the following apply to most patients who end up with one.
● A family history of DVT or other pathological blood clot formation
● Being 40 years old or older
● Smoking cigarettes or other tobacco use
● Obesity, as defined by a Body Mass Index (BMI) of greater than 30
● Having some forms of cancer or a past history of cancer
● Being pregnant or having a recent history of being pregnant
● Long periods of stasis… Including travel via plane, train, bus, or automobile.
Many large, high quality studies have shown that the risk of forming DVTs goes up dramatically with long distance travel. Specifically, this refers to trips lasting longer than 4 hours. This happens as a direct result of not moving the legs for extended periods of time.
The good news is that this is entirely preventable.
Proven blood clot prevention tips
According to the CDC, the following are relatively foolproof methods of avoiding dangerous clotting events while traveling.
Move around every 60 minutes.
Minimal activity is all that’s required, so long as you’re getting up out of a seated position and moving your legs. Walking up and down the plane or bus aisle is enough to keep blood circulating, avoiding stasis.
The same applies while driving. Make sure to take several brief stops to stretch your legs. Walking to and from a rest stop bathroom is more than sufficient.
Remember to stretch.
Simple stretches, whether done standing or seated, can also help greatly. Again, this minimal effort will drastically reduce your chances of forming unwanted clots.
The following stretches fit easily into any travel plan.
· While seated or standing, place either leg directly in front of you. Flex the toes up, then point them forward, working the ankle through its full range of motion. Do this 10 times in both directions.
· While in the above position, roll the ankle around in a circle. Preform this 10 times in each direction.
· While seated, pull your knees up to your chest. Hug them for about 15 seconds, then go back to neutral. Repeat this motion 10 times.
· If you have enough room, simply stretch your legs out in front of you.
· While seated or standing, alternately press the heel and ball of the foot against the ground. Aim to work the large muscles of the thigh (quadriceps) and calf muscles. Repeat this simple exercise any number of times throughout the trip.
Massage both legs
Pack a tennis ball or a specially made hand massage device with you. Whenever you get the opportunity, manually massage each leg for about a minute, hitting both the thighs and calves. This may seem a bit odd, but according to phlebology experts it’s an outstanding way to prevent clot formation.
Compression Stocking can make a big difference
Wear high-quality, prescription compression stockings when traveling long distances. These should be thigh high, graduated compression stockings which provide more compression towards the feet than at the thighs. Avoid cheap drug-store varieties, which do little to nothing to prevent blood clots.
Skip the tight clothing.
Your compression garments should be the only tight article of clothing you wear while traveling. Loose fitting clothing is not only more comfortable, but won’t restrict your lower body circulation.
Blood Clot Prevention While Traveling
Everybody loves a good vacation! Travel provides a welcome break from the routine and provides memories that will last a lifetime. For many, it’s a big part of living life to the fullest. Regardless of how you view travel, it’s not something you should shy away from due to medical problems.
However, if you’ve got chronic leg vein problems, getting there may not be half the fun. Chronic vein disease can be made worse by travel, but there are several simple steps you can take to avoid this. Of particular importance is the potential for blood clots.
Traveling is known to dramatically increase the chances of developing blood clots in susceptible individuals. Far from being just a nuisance, these clotting issues are a serious medical issue. In rare cases they can even result in death.
Taking the proper steps will free your mind to focus on your trip, not potential blood clots. But before we lay out an action plan let’s first let’s go over some basics.
Take a blood thinner medication when traveling if you’ve got a history of clot formation.
If you’ve got multiple clotting risk factors (see above) or a history of DVTs or PEs, talk with your doctor before travelling. It may be a good idea to temporarily put you on a prescription blood thinner. Take as directed, usually two hours before embarking on your trip.