How to Naturally Prevent Blood Clots
There is no sugar-coating it: blood clots are serious business.
Whether they are in your legs, or somewhere potentially deadly like your lungs, blood clots are something you want to be aware of, and know the warning signs of. By being aware of blood clots, you may be able to prevent them from becoming major problems. You may even be able to prevent them from happening in the first place!
If blood clots are a concern of yours, read on to find out ways that you can prevent them.
What are Blood Clots?
Most people hear the word “blood clot” and immediately think of danger. While that is sometimes the case, some blood clots are surprisingly good for you.
As shared by the Mayo Clinic, blood clots “are gel-like clumps of blood” that have left the liquid state. In this state, blood clots can actually be beneficial, as it means they are “form[ing] in response to an injury or a cut, plugging the injured blood vessel, which stops bleeding.”
However, people are right in thinking that the word “blood clot” can also mean danger because, as the Mayo Clinic also states, “Some blood clots form inside your veins without a good reason, and don’t dissolve naturally. These may require medical attention, especially if they are in your legs or are in more critical locations, such as your lungs and brain.”
In short, it’s always better to err on the safe side and if you find yourself suffering from a blood clot, don’t wait to find out whether it’s a good kind or a bad kind — get yourself to a vein specialist ASAP.
Risks and Dangers of Blood Clots
Why is it so important that you don’t waste time when blood clots are involved?
For one, blood clots can get quite uncomfortable. Blood clots that happen in deep veins are called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). While DVT can happen without any symptoms attached to it, oftentimes people experience swelling, pain, and a redness of their skin. That may be enough to get you to the doctor, but if not, then the potential that the clot breaks off and travels to your lungs should be enough. When that happens, it’s called a pulmonary embolism, and you’ve got yourself in a life-threatening situation.
And what has the potential to put you at risk of blood clots?
According to the CDC, “blood clots can affect anyone at any age, but certain risk factors, such as surgery, hospitalization, pregnancy, cancer and some types of cancer treatments can increase risks.” Also, having a family history of blood clots can increase a person’s risk.
Thus, if any of these risks sound like they could be you, keep your eyes peeled for signs of a blood clot, including:
- Difficulty breathing
- Painful breathing
- Increased heartbeat
- Chest pain
- Weakness or numbness in face, arm or leg
- Difficulty speaking
- Vision changes
How You Can Prevent Blood Clots Naturally
Though there are no “natural remedies” for blood clots, there are some natural ways and lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of developing the clots.
Remaining sedentary for long periods of time can cause your blood to pool, which can lead to clots. Make it a point to get up every 30 minutes – 1 hour and move to get your blood flowing.
You don’t need to run 5 miles to keep your blood clots in check. Simply walking at least 30 minutes a day is a great way to keep your circulation moving.
Blood clots can happen due to weight gain, and the additional vein pressure that occurs with extra pounds on your body. By losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight, you alleviate some of that pressure on your veins and keep your clot risk lower.
If traveling, be extra cautious.
According to the CDC, “anyone traveling more than four hours, whether by air, car, bus, or train, can be at risk for blood clots.” In order to avoid these issues from happening, it is important you talk to a vein specialist if you think you’re at risk of blood clots. Additionally, take breaks during your travel to stand up and walk around to get your blood flowing. Stretch out your calves, flex your ankles and, as suggested by many airlines, pull your knees up to your chest and hold it there for around 15 seconds, repeating up to 10 times.
Staying hydrated is essential for a number of health reasons, but especially so when traveling. Flying is dehydrating due to the air on the plane, and that coupled with sitting for long periods of time when traveling can lead to blood clots.
If pregnant, keep moving.
Blood clots can be a result of the hormone changes brought on by pregnancy, so to help combat that, it is important to keep your leg muscles contracting to help blood circulate. The best way to healthily do this is by walking.
Keep feet raised when sleeping.
We hope you’re able to get a solid 7-8 hours of sleep a night, as it’s necessary for your health. However, that is time that you are sedentary and may suffer some clot issues. To help prevent that from happening, try elevating your legs while you sleep to keep your circulation going.
Watch for signs.
Be on the lookout for signs of blood clots that we mentioned above and contact your VCA vein specialist as soon as you feel something is wrong.