deep vein thrombosis

  • DVT Awareness Month – The Ins and the Outs of Deep Vein Thrombosis

    DVT Awareness Month – The Ins and the Outs of Deep Vein Thrombosis

    DVT Awareness

    Were you or someone you love diagnosed with Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?

    If so, it can help to hear about the experience from a fellow survivor. To facilitate this we asked our REJUVA team member, Stacy, to share the details of her own DVT story and what she learned along the way. Read on for more about her story + top tips for navigating the physical & emotional components of recovery.

    Meet DVT Survivor, Stacy

    blood clot age

    I have come to know this phrase all too well. As if suffering a blood clot at the mere age of 20 wasn’t enough to make me feel like a walking dinosaur, family, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers were sure to remind me. The fact is, DVT can occur at any age and not one single individual is “too young” as they say. I mean honestly, who ever feels that they’re just the right age for such an injury? So chin up… you’re not alone and even more so, here at RejuvaHealth we’re the last ones that will throw you a dowdy pair of compression stockings and say problem solved.

    What is DVT?

    Let’s start with a quick overview of what DVT is and the risks that pose a problem to all walks of life, young and old alike. DVT is a medical condition that arises from the clotting of blood, usually in the calf or thigh, but can also occur in the pelvis area. The clotting of a deep vein extremity is particularly scary because there’s not always a lot of warning and the severity can escalate pretty quickly. This is why it’s especially important t to take care of yourself and listen to your body. A slight pain in you arm or leg may seem like nothing at first and you’ll initially think to just shake it off, however, don’t let such conditions prolong. Rather, take the initiative for further examination, as this little precautionary check-up could save your life.

    blood clot skin temperature

    What does it feel like?

    Stepping outside of the medical aspect, you may wonder what it feels like. You can read all about the signs and symptoms with a quick Google search, but I’d love to share those “feelings” on a more personal level. The pain experienced is often at first localized, but may progressively expand into other areas. Pain and swelling in the area is common, and some people, like myself, notice a drastic difference in the temperature of the skin to the touch. For example, my leg was significantly warmer near my pelvic region and ice cold at my toes. In the beginning, my leg felt as though I had merely pulled a muscle, but within a couple of hours, I had lost the ability to fully extend it and walking felt as though I was dragging an anvil. It was clear something wasn’t right and that’s the point at which I decided to seek medical attention. I would advise against following in my footsteps! Get help before it becomes a bigger problem.

    After the diagnoses, I felt like the nine days I spent recovering in the hospital had aged me 50+ years. I was released on July 3rd and tormented with the idea of celebrating the 4th in a swimsuit, as the battle wounds left on my belly from the Lovenox shots weren’t all that appealing. Not only did I feel physically a mess, but my spirits were also rattled. I was prescribed blood thinners, not knowing if I’d ever stop taking them, and was destined to draw blood every week to keep track of my INR (International Normalized Ratio), or as I like to refer to it, the rate at which I bled. In addition to this, I was on a restricted diet, and for the first time in my life my doctor told me to stay away from greens and cranberry juice. Yes, you read that correctly! As it turns, high levels of Vitamin K can alter the way warfarin works, making it difficult to effectively prevent blood clots. It took a while to get used the changes, but eventually I found a happy medium, where I could still get a taste of my all time favorite Brussels sprouts, and also test within range on my weekly INR.

    warfarin vitamin k

    What are some of the things about DVT recovery people don’t talk about?

    A part from the lifestyle changes mentioned above, I also noticed some interesting changes in my body. While taking warfarin I gained some weight, which mostly was attributed to the change in my diet and the inability to workout given the injury. In the search for recipe ideas, I came across “The Coumadin Cookbook,” which I thought worth sharing as it helped keep me on a more healthy diet.

    I also noticed my hair consistency changed, and it regrettably wasn’t for the better. I noticed I lost larger than normal amounts in the shower and in my brush. My hair was thinning right before my eyes, and it was alarming, as no one had mentioned this side effect of warfarin. Are you experiencing something similar? There are many different thickening agents out there, and while I encourage you to do your research, I found the brand Nioxin was what I preferred, as the minty smell wasn’t overpowering.

    One weird, but also really interesting observation was that the pain in my leg was significantly affected by the weather. If a drastic change in the weather was on the upcoming forecast, I’d feel incredible amounts of pressure near the site of my clot. I had brought this up with several different doctors, but none of them had ever heard of anything similar from other patients. Seeming I had gone mad, I turned to DVT support groups online, like Dailystrength.org, and found that just like me, other people were discovering anomalies happening in their own bodies, many of which were also unexplained by their physicians.

    What’s the deal with compression stockings?

    rejuva compression socks

    Lastly, I can’t talk about DVT without mentioning, drumroll please… the dreaded COMPRESSION STOCKINGS! On top of all the physical and emotional changes, you’re forced to change your wardrobe and it isn’t quite that easy. No matter where you live, compression stockings don’t ever seem to fit in with the summer or winter fashion trends. However, I want to send along encouragement, because I found that compression stockings were my saving grace. As much as I absolutely despised the look and feel of the orthopedic ones I originally owned, they kept my Post-Thrombotic Syndrome (PTS) to a minimum and had me on the road to recovery, with a reduced chance of developing a new clot. And hey, that’s the whole reason our Founder, Kelsey, created RejuvaHealth. To help you find fashionable compression stockings that make you feel GREAT, as well also help combat leg pain and fatigue. So don’t be a stranger, we have several different options that will get you through a hot summer day or provide a little extra warmth on a cold winter night.

    Whether you need some style advice, or have a specific question about the fit, reach out to us - we’re all here for you. We also enjoy sharing war stories and hearing more from our fellow DVT-ers personal experiences. Until next time – take care of those legs.

  • Simply Sore or Something More? 4 Conditions Affecting Leg Health

    Have you ever noticed your shoes fitting more tightly if slipped on later in the day? Or looked at your legs in the mirror and done this?

    Sometimes your gams simply may not look or feel as good as you want. A salty dinner, prolonged sitting, a long day on your feet ... occasional tweaks to diet or route can leave you feeling temporarily puffy or sore.  But if it happens often, it may also be the sign of a larger medical problem. If your legs fall into the "repeat offender" category, keep reading. We’ve rounded up some of the more common causes of leg swelling & pain, as well as tips and treatment info, to help you get informed.

    1. TIRED, ACHING LEGS

    Quick Facts

    • What happens - Legs feel sore after long periods of either sitting or standing.
    • Worsened by – a sedentary lifestyle, long periods of sitting or standing, age, diet, smoking, obesity
    • Improved with - exercise, diet improvements, not smoking, graduated compression stockings

     

    RejuvaHealth-Alleviate-Tired-Aching-Legs

    The Full Scoop

    Do you sit or stand for long periods of time and find that your legs hurt or feel extremely sore? You may have tired, aching legs syndrome. You’re not alone though – over 60% of adults regularly experience leg aches, and for many of them the pain is so intense that it interferes with their daily lives. The root of the issue is poor leg circulation. These aches occur as a result of your body’s constant fight to push blood up to the heart while sitting or standing. Normally your lower muscles help force the blood upwards by squeezing your veins, but if you don’t change position there’s not much you can do.

    Luckily, as long as your leg aches aren’t the result of an underlying condition (consult your physician if you’re worried), there are some simple solutions. The first is to punctuate your day with small 5-10 minute breaks. If you’re standing, rest your legs for a bit. If you’re sitting, take a short walk around the office or peddle your legs in your chair like you’re riding a bicycle. The second is to wear compression stockings. Graduated compression legwear is tight at your feet and ankles and looser as you move up, which helps squeeze the blood upwards throughout the day. If the pain is almost unbearable, rinsing your legs in cold water can provide you some relief by causing the vessels to shrink and pulling the blood into your core. Maintaining a diet that is balanced and low in saturated fats can also help to ensure your vessels remain unblocked and elastic. Try your best to keep cholesterol at a low, but don’t completely cut it out – in small amounts it helps your body deal with changes in temperature.

     

    2. VARICOSE VEINS

    Quick Facts

    • What happens - swollen veins, often in the legs which cause pain and discomfort
    • Worsened by - age, sex height, pregnancy, standing for long periods of time
    • Improved with - sclerotherapy, varicose vein lotions, graduated compression stockings

     

    RejuvaHealth-Prevent-Varicose-Veins

     

    The Full Scoop

    It’s amazing just how prevalent venous disease is – in fact, it affects approximately half of the U.S. population. The root of this problem lies in the valves within leg veins. These tiny but powerful mechanisms operate one-directionally; opening to let blood through & closing as blood pumps upward towards the heart. When standing for long periods of time, prolonged pumping against gravity can begin to impair the valve's functionality causing blood to pool in the lower extremities & veins to stretch and become enlarged. When this happens, the valves relax and can’t completely close. The heart has to work harder to circulate the blood in one direction…and more blood continues to collect. It’s a vicious cycle! This venous insufficiency (weakened valves) often results in bulging, twisted veins in the legs, also called varicose veins. Circulating blood becomes even more difficult during pregnancy because there is twice the amount of blood in your body. We’ve even heard stories of pregnant women with varicose veins all they way to their abdomens. Chronic venous insufficiency, in which the valves are damaged or dysfunctional, usually follows deep vein thrombosis and other related conditions.

    Most of the time, varicose veins are reversible only with a visit to the doctor’s office. The most well known medical procedure is sclerotherapy, in which the doctor injects a salt solution into your varicose veins. The salt solution aggravates the lining of the blood vessels causing the walls to stick together and the blood to clot. This blocks off the vessel and the scar tissue eventually fades away. The side effects, which include minor itching for a couple of days and some bumpiness of the skin, are mild and fade away within 3-6 months.

    An interesting alternative to this sclerotherapy is varicose vein lotion that includes herbal extracts like horse chestnut seed or witch hazel. However, there is a bit of controversy surrounding these products – do they actually work? Studies have shown that the horse chestnut seed extract works, but many customers who use lotions with the substance have noted that while they have seen the appearance of their skin improve, it wasn’t a big difference and especially did not work well on the larger veins. If you’re more inclined to use a simple and foolproof approach, compression hosiery offers a great alternative. They force the vessels to shrink and valves to close, promoting healthy, unidirectional blood flow as well as pain reduction. Compression stockings, while they work therapeutically, are also a great aid in preventing varicose veins before they occur. A healthy diet and regular exercise is also essential for maintaining unblocked and elastic veins throughout life.

     

    3. EDEMA

    Quick Facts

    • What happens - swelling
    • Wornsened by - long periods of standing, physical inactivity, pregnancy, high altitudes, heat
    • Improved with - hydration, low-sodium diet, graduated compression stockings

     

    RejuvaHealth-Leg-and-Feet-Edema

     

    The Full Scoop

    How do we define edema? Well, it’s just a fancy word for swelling that takes place in the body. This swelling can occur for different reasons – allergic reactions, fracturing bones, eating lots of salty food, etc. Swelling that occurs in your limbs is known specifically as peripheral edema, and occurs in places like your arms, hands, but most commonly in the legs and feet. The severity of the swelling can vary depending on location.

    The lymphatic system in your body controls and drains non-blood fluid called lymph, which normally bathes your tissues to keep them healthy and rich with nutrients. In edema, the lymph builds up because it isn’t drained quickly enough…which can transform your ankles into CANKLES.

    Because the lymphatic system works in tandem with your blood’s movement, poor circulation often causes edema. For this reason (just as in leg aches and varicose veins), staying in the same position for long periods of time or being pregnant can make lymph pool in the ankles and feet. Swollen feet can also occur at high altitudes or on a hot day. Because your muscles naturally help move fluids in the body, being physically inactive can compound the effects of a slow-moving lymphatic system. A regular exercise regimen can work to strengthen muscles & improve the efficiency of fluid movement.

    Diets that are high in sodium and low in water often lead to more swelling and fluid buildup. When you eat lots of salt, your body tries to retain as much water as it can to compensate. This can lead to problems like ankle swelling, bloating and puffy eyes. (TIP: Never eat ramen before picture day!)  By constantly drinking water, your body can flush out excess salt and maintain healthy lymph. A diet that is full of vegetables with high water-content like cucumbers, spinach, and sweet peppers can also help you get hydrated without taking out a glass.

    In conjunction with a good diet and exercise, support stockings offer leg massages to promote fluid movement, which helps deal with amassed lymph and prevent the buildup from happening again. Looking cute while cutting down leg swelling? Yes, please.

     

    4. DIABETES

    Quick Facts

    • What happens - Veins harden and blood pools in lower legs
    • Worsened by - physical inactivity, high-sugar diets, smoking
    • Improved with - regular exercise, avoiding sugars

     

    RejuvaHealth-Diabetes-Swelling

     

    The Full Scoop

    Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the body has trouble processing sugars. One of the effects of diabetes is the hardening of veins and arteries, including in the legs. Because of this, the veins lose your elastic quality and struggle to push blood back to the heart. The veins can become partially or completely blocked, resulting in a higher likelihood of blood pooling and blood clots. Diabetes and deep vein thrombosis are closely related. Yikes! Hardening occurs faster when combine with physical inactivity and smoking.

    Both Type 1 (genetic) and Type 2 (acquired) diabetes patients experience this discomfort in their legs, and this can be alleviated with – you guessed it – compression stockings.  They will do some of the work in forcing the blood through your hardened veins and arteries. Another way to reduce pooling of the blood is to elevate the feet to a height above your head while you’re sleeping to lessen the resistance of the fluid going from leg to heart. Lastly, since Type 2 diabetes is preventable, having a diet that has a low glycemic index (which basically means it doesn’t affect blood glucose levels) will greatly increase your chances for better health and happiness later in life. Some great superfoods for diabetics include kale, whole grains, berries, and sweet potatoes. A delicious and diabetic-friendly Mediterranean lunch is hummus, turkey, tomatoes, cucumbers, low-fat feta, and olives rolled up in a whole-grain wrap!

     

    The common remedy across all of the above conditions? You may have noticed … 1) a healthy diet, 2) regular exercise, and 3) compression legwear …. All contribute to the prevention of many health issues. Whether seeking to stop swelling, avoid achiness, combat diabetes, or fight unsightly veins, proactively incorporating these three things into your daily life can maintain a healthy heart and blood vessel system.

    Still unsure whether leg health is something that should be of concern to you? Try this brief self-test. If you check “YES” to any of the below, compression may help.

    RejuvaHealth-venous-insufficiency-graduated-compression-support-stockings

  • Curious about Deep Vein Thrombosis, DVT Symptoms, & DVT Treatment? Here's the 411!

    What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?

    Deep Vein Thrombosis (also known by its acronym, DVT)  is the term typically used for a blood clot that occurs deep inside the body, usually in the lower extremities. A DVT is most often classified by a blood clot found in the legs that affects the larger veins, generally between the thigh and lower leg. This type of circulation blockage is very serious and, if left untreated, can lead to more dangerous health complications.  One such example is a pulmonary embolism, which is when a blood clot breaks off and travels to the lungs causing a life threatening blockage in the main artery or one of its branches.

     

    Be Aware: DVT Symptoms

    The growing number of individuals affected by DVT each year is becoming alarming. Because of this, it is especially important that we know & recognize deep vein thrombosis symptoms before this “silent killer” has a chance to attack. Review the common signs & symptoms below and be on the lookout; these quick facts may help alert you if something is not right.

    • Leg pain & tenderness (similar to that of a Charley Horse)
    • Noticeable swelling in the affected leg
    • Leg that is warm to the touch
    • Skin discoloration of the affected area
    • Leg fatigue

     

    Risky Behavior: Are you at Risk?

    Noticing changes in your leg behavior may help save your life! Be proactive and see a doctor right away if you suspect a DVT! Several of our team members were lucky enough to catch their DVT’s before more serious complications set in; because of this we want everyone to be conscious of conditions & behaviors that could elevate your chances of being diagnosed with a DVT. Take a look at the National Blood Clot Alliance: Stop the Clot’s detailed risk factors page, which rates your risk and offers practical measures to help lower your chances.

     

    Tackle it: DVT Treatment

    After reading about all the risks factors, we KNOW you’re going to shape up and take precautionary measures to better protect your health. However, if a DVT does occur don’t be alarmed; there are several steps doctors can take in order to achieve their main goal - tackling your blood clot! Deep vein thrombosis treatment varies according to each person’s needs, but here are a few steps that doctors often take:

    • Prescribe anticoagulant medications (a.k.a. blood thinners) to help keep the clot from growing or moving, & new clots from forming.
    • Suggest elevation of the legs to reduce swelling.
    • Recommend wearing compression stockings, which can help remedy leg discomfort and the latter onset of Post-Thrombotic Syndrome, or PTS.

     

    Take Home Lesson: Who’s getting an A+?

    Precautionary steps to improve the wellbeing of your legs can have a huge impact on your overall health, so take a stretch break from your office chair, kick the bad habit, and wear compression stockings. All of us at RejuvaHealth are rooting for you! Whether you’re new to compression or an old pro, we can all benefit from sharing our experiences and learning from each other, so take a look at our "how to" section or become more involved as a RejuvaHealth fan- we’re in this together!

     

     

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