Dr. Oz and Blood Clots, October 31, 2013
Last week Dr. Oz captivated his audience during a role-playing feature– addressing Blood Clots (called ’ DVT’ or deep vein thrombosis by medical professionals.) For those of you seeking medical information regarding blood clots, their causes and their prevention, here is the BIG picture.
Three Factors (Virchow’s Triad) affecting your Risk for DVT
1. Decreased Blood Flow Movement (medically called ‘Venous Stasis’)
- Situations that result in immobility: prolonged bedrest, post-surgery, prolonged sitting, long airline or car trips or sedentary lifestyle. Compression stockings and ankle movement in these situations, help blood to return to the heart, preventing pooling and clots.
2. Increased Clotting Tendency (‘Hypercoagulability’) either Genetic or Temporary
- Inherited or ‘genetic’ factors. Examples of this are Factor V Leiden, Antiphospholipid antibody, and approximately seven other bodies clotting factors with abnormal test values – in patients with certain medical histories. (Interestingly, 5% of the population carry one copy of Factor V Leiden mutation.)
- Tempoary conditions. Cancer, chronic illnesses, obesity, pregnancy and dehydration are examples of conditions that may cause the blood to clot more easily. Hormones such as those in oral contraceptives, estrogen replacement and testosterone increase one’s risk for blood clots
- Injuries such as falls, blunt trauma, etc. may cause vessel wall injury causing sites for clots to adhere to a vessel wall.
What Measures Should I Take To Avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Stay mobile. On long flights or car rides, ‘pump your ankles’ and/or move around intermittently to work the calf muscle. (Long flights of 6 hours or more increase DVT risk to 1%.) Drink fluids, avoiding alcohol when traveling. Wear compression stockings. During pregnancy consider discussing with your physician, the use of compression stockings. These may provide prevention benefit both during and especially after delivery (50-60 if 100,000 women develop blood clots post-partum.)
Understanding your family medical history and alerting your physician of a suspected clotting disorder in the family history, may help one avoid unnecessary risk. Of course, follow post-op instructions and always exercise caution to prevent traumatic injury and seek medical attention when it does occur.