DVT

  • 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.

  • How to Get Ready for Surgery: 10 tips for an easier procedure & recovery

    Surgery is something many of us take for granted, but it’s also one of the more expensive and risky components of healthcare. With over 50 million inpatient procedures performed every year in the US alone, studies suggest that most of us will undergo not just one, but MULTIPLE invasive procedures during our lifetime.

    Alexander Graham Bell said, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” This wise advice can make both the surgery itself and its subsequent recovery quicker, more effective and less painful.

    Last year I underwent an emergency surgery and learned firsthand what happens when you don’t have that chance to prepare for what you’re about to get into. As a result of entering the procedure uneducated about its details and naïve about the recovery thereafter, the experience was a difficult one.

    As in my case you can’t always know when a hospital stay or surgery may be in your future, but you can prepare for scheduled procedures to make your overall experience a little easier. Here are 10 tips to set up your surgery for success:

    BEFORE YOUR PROCEDURE

    Be a know-it-all

    Learn as much as you can about your condition and suggested surgery. Patients who are informed about their procedure are often more satisfied with its results. Plus the more you know, the more confident and comfortable you’ll be. Meet the members of your medical team and ask them questions about all parts of your surgery – everything from possible complications and risks to healing time. If any part of your team or procedure makes you nervous, do the research to see if there’s a better physician of facility for you.

    Rejuva healthy surgery knowledge

    Consider your blood clot risk

    Surgery can increase the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). These complications occur with a blood clot forms in the deep vein of a limb and can be life threatening if the clot breaks loose and travel to your lungs, brain, or heart. Factors such as smoking, age, weight, and some medications can increase DVT and blood clot risk. Review your current medications with your doctor prior to surgery and ask about suggested means of prevention. Many physicians apply “intermittent pneumatic compression devices” to the legs of patients at the conclusion of surgery to help combat post-surgical DVT risk. They’re inflatable, fit around your legs, and are intermittently inflated and deflated with pressure to keep your blood flowing away from your feet & towards your heart. Anti-embolism socks are also commonly suggested for post-surgical patients as another minimally invasive means of preventing blood clots during recovery.

    rejuva anti embolism socks for DVT prevention

    Come clean

    Tell your doctor about any and all medications you may be taking – including supplements. Most assume supplements like daily vitamins, fish oil, and Echinacea are exempt from this (and up to 70% of people don’t mention it to their doctor for this reason) but they’re not. Some can increase bleeding risks, affect anesthesia & interact with other meds. Your doctor may recommend stopping the supplement a week or two before your procedure to avoid complications.

    rejuva supplements before surgery

    Arrange for helping hands

    If you’re like me, one of the last things you like doing is relying on others for help. But in the case you’re recovering from surgery, it’s one of the kindest things you can do for yourself. You’ll probably be drowsy right after surgery and tired for a few days thereafter while your body recovers. You’ll also be achy and may have difficulty moving around. As you recover, allow your body time to be still and ask for help from family and friends. Whether they bring soup, help you complete things you can’t yourself, or even just offer a needed hug, don’t feel guilty. Pushing your body to do things that hurt or will only delay recovery & increase your risk of complications.

    Rejuva help after surgery hug

    Hit the grocery store

    Before leaving for the hospital, stock your fridge, freezer, and pantry with plenty of healthy foods and drinks to tide you over while homebound recovering. Depending on your surgery, you may have dietary restrictions in the weeks immediately following your procedure. Ask your doctor & research foods that fit within your recovery guidelines so you’re prepped with stress free meal options after surgery. Some of my recovery meal favorites are soups, whole wheat bread, herbal tea, fruit, fresh greens, and smoothie ingredients.

     

    AFTER SURGERY

    Keep it under control – pain management

    As your anesthesia wears off, you may begin to become aware of pain or pressure where you were operated on. This can worsen with movement and time, depending on the medications prescribed. Communicate openly & often to your nurse, physician, and team about your pain and ask for more medicine if you need it. This can help keep you more comfortable, promoting your ability to sleep (a critical component to healing). Before discharge, ask about at-home pain management options and fulfill the prescription within the hospital pharmacy (if available). If in-hospital fulfillment isn’t an option, ask a loved one to pick it up for you so you have it as soon as you’re home.

     

    Take advantage of different temps

    Consider supplementing any oral pain medications with hot and/or cold therapy. Personally, I’ve found it to help immensely in my own recoveries & suggest it highly. You can purchase a hot/cold pack from virtually any pharmacy. Some of my favorites can be used in both directions – just microwave it to use as a hot compress or throw it in the freezer for a cold pack. If you don’t have the time or budget to buy one, use a bag of frozen vegetables for cold (my favorite are corn or peas) or a washcloth warmed under hot water.

    rejuva cold hot therapy after surgery

    Keep it moving

    Once you’re allowed to resume more regular eating and drinking (most surgeries require no food or drink for a period of time before going under the knife), be proactive about hydration. In addition to ridding you of any post-surgery cottonmouth, drinking plenty of water will help flush medications through your system, promote healthy circulation, and encourage recovery. Complement this with light walking (once your doctor allows it) & graduated compression socks for added circulation-enhancing & recovery benefits. Like the anti-embolism socks your medical team may have you wear immediately after surgery, graduated compression socks can help blood move upward from the limbs and back to your heart to prevent the risk of post-surgical DVT. Just don’t wear the anti-em socks you may have received in the hospital once you’re back home. Many people assume they offer the same function but they actually don’t. Anti-em are designed specifically for immobile, bed-ridden patients while graduated compression socks are for active patients, who will be moving, sitting, and standing.

    rejuva compression socks after surgery

    Consider what’s comfy

    Depending on your surgery you may have difficulty moving around while recovering. You may also need to access incision sites for cleaning & care. Wear loose-fitting, breathable clothes that allow you to relax comfortably and easily reach wounds. If you can, also pack these in a bag with you to put on once discharged for travelling home from the hospital. Be patient with your body if you experience post-surgical swelling – not only at your incision points but in your abdomen and face as well. Different anesthesia and medications can cause temporary bloat. This should return to normal within a few days and plenty of hydration.

    rejuva comfortable clothes after surgery

    Practice patience

    Remember, a surgery involves literally cutting up your body. Being unable to participate in your normal routine can be frustrating, but your body went through a major trauma & needs time to recover. Instead of resenting your body for not being 100%, thank it for all that it does do properly. Consider practicing a gratitude exercise. Start by picking 3 things you. Whether the effortless beating of your heart, the natural rhythm of your breathe, or even the ability to see your surroundings with crystal clear vision, focus on those 3 things. Say them aloud, write them in a journal, or repeat those gratitudes in your head. You are what you think you are. So think health, and the body will follow.

    rejuva gratitude healing from surgery

    Have you had surgery? Share your tips by commenting below or emailing talk@rejuvahealth.com.

  • Compression Stockings 101: Q&A with a Vein Specialist

    So you have to wear compression socks or stockings? You’re not alone. Thousands of people have been in your shoes. And yet despite this – support legwear remains a topic clouded by confusion & misinformation. Who should wear it? What’s it used for? And how do you know which garment’s right for you?

    All too often, we hear stories of doctors giving the compression suggestion with no guidance beyond that. Is that something you experienced? If so, he probably scribbled an illegible suggestion on a pad & sent you on your way with little beyond that. Suddenly, in simply trying to follow his orders, you’re confronted with an overwhelming array of options, sizes, support levels, and styles.

    Or maybe a doctor didn’t tell you to wear compression. Maybe you’re healthy & think compression isn’t something you need. Do you ever travel? Sit or stand for long periods? Considering becoming pregnant? Or have a family history of varicose veins? If so, then compression may be something you should consider.

    Fortunately, regardless of your situation – there are people & resources to help. We teamed up with vein specialist Dr Bunke-Paquette, MD, FACPh to get her pro answers and insights to a few of the most common compression questions. Check out our exclusive interview & read on for some more of her  top tips and answers to our most commonly asked questions.

     

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    Click HERE to download a PDF version of this information. 

     

    Compression Stockings 101 - Tips from a Vein Specialist

     

    Who’s the pro? 

    Dr. Bunke-Paquette, MD, FACPh specializes in minimally invasive outpatient procedures for a variety of venous conditions. Board-certified & fellowship trained in Venous & Lymphatic Medicine, she was the first physician in the United States to complete fellowship training supported by the American College of Phlebology. In addition to directing her practice at La Jolla Vein Care, she’s a Volunteer Clinical Instructor of Surgery at UCSD School of Medicine, member of the Scripps Ximed Medical Group & VA Medical Center. Dr. Bunke-Paquette is also physician & scientist actively leading award-winning clinical research studies. For more information on Dr. Bunke & her practice, visit mailto:http://lajollaveincare.com/doctors/

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  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): What it is & what you can do to lower your risk

    Did you know March is DVT Awareness Month?

    Do you know what DVT even is?

    Rejuva-DVT-compression-stockings

    If not, you’re not alone. Many are shocked when they find out what this term means and even more startled when they learn how many people are diagnosed with this condition in their lifetime.

    DVT, a common term used to describe a blood clot occurring in one of the lower extremities, is a very serious matter that can lead to death if not treated promptly. Earlier this month, Melanie Bloom, national spokeswoman for the Coalition to Prevent DVT, went on the TODAY show to spark awareness and encourage education about the “silent killer” that took her late husband’s, NBC correspondent David Bloom, life in 2003. (Click here for a direct link to the clip which originally aired March 7, 2012). David, like many other victims of DVT, died unexpectedly after a blood clot in his leg broke off and traveled to his lungs causing a pulmonary embolism, or PE. Complications such as the one Bloom encountered take the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people every year. Most victims are often completely unaware of the havoc occurring within their bodies, thus explaining the coined term “silent killer.” This silent epidemic is quickly becoming widely publicized and shared by families & doctors aware of the deathly consequences associated with DVT or PE.

    Around 2 million Americans are diagnosed with DVT annually, while 300,000 of those die from pulmonary embolisms every year - that’s more deaths than AIDS and breast cancer combined!

    We want everyone to be aware of the risks and know what to look for. The statistic above isn’t meant to frighten you, but rather alert and educate you about DVT. We hope you will share the information with family, friends, and even enemies… because everyone deserves a chance against this “silent killer.”

    • People of all walks of life can develop a DVT - young, old, woman, man, fit or unfit.
    • More often than not individuals go without having any severely alarming symptoms. Be aware of unusual leg cramps or unexplained swelling.
    • Pulmonary Embolisms may be the most preventable cause of death in a hospital. What we do know for sure is that they are the leading cause of maternal death at childbirth.
    • DVTs most commonly occur in the legs; however, there are rare cases where DVT is diagnosed in the arms.
    • Regular movement or exercise can help lessen your chances of developing a clot. Stay active by exercising, or just walking.
    • Keeping blood flow moving will help eliminate your chances. On long drives or flights be sure to get up, stretch, and walk a few steps at least every hour.
    • Birth control and smoking do NOT go together. Smoking while on birth control greatly increases your chances of developing a blood clot.
    • Blood clotting disorders are often genetic. If someone in your family is prone to blood clots get yourself checked out as well. About 5 to 8 percent of America’s population has a genetic risk factor.
    • Drinking lots of water and maintaining a healthy weight is a very important step in lowering your risk. Compression garments can also help encourage blood flow & prevent DVT when worn properly.
    • Cancer patients and anyone who has recently undergone surgery are more likely than the average person to develop a DVT or PE during recovery.
    • One-third of people who have previously been diagnosed with a DVT or PE will develop another within the first 10 years following onset.

    Number ONE point to be made: Don’t take pain in your legs lightly. If your legs are hurting or they just don’t feel right get to the doctors right away. Lastly, be more aware of your risk factors!

    For more information or resources visit the following websites by clicking on their titles:

    National Blood Clot Alliance - A nonprofit organization with whom we work closely.

    Stock up, save, and support a great cause! On purchases made between March 25th-31st, we’ll provide a 10% discount & also donate 10% to the NBCA in support of DVT awareness. Use coupon code DVTAWARE at checkout. More details available here.

    Coalition to Prevent DVT -

    Tune in this Saturday, March 24th to Peter Greenburg’s  weekly radio show to hear Kelsey, our founder, and the coalition’s spokeswoman, Melanie Bloom, discuss DVT, travel, and fashionable compression stockings.

    Clot Care -

    This website is a helpful resource that gives DVT patients and health care professionals access to information regarding anticoagulation therapy.

    Prevent PTS -

    An informational website for DVT survivors fighting Post-Thrombotic Syndrome (PTS).

    Venous Disease Coalition

    An organization dedicated to increasing public and health professional awareness of venous disease.

  • RejuvaHealth’s “Stop the Clot” Fundraiser: An Evening of Awareness & Fundraising for a Cause!

    Many people aren’t aware of how common, prevalent, and dangerous blood clots are. Believe it or not as many as $900,000 Americans suffer from a blood clot annually, with 1 of every 3 of those cases resulting in death. That’s 300,000 deaths in the U.S. alone every year.

    It’s easy to be unaffected by these numbers & think “those statistics won’t affect me”. In fact, I did just that! I never thought something like a blood clot would come my way - let alone in my early 20s. However, I’m living proof that these kinds of health challenges can affect anyone at any age.

    The good news is we can make a difference in these statistics.

    This year, we joined the crusade against clots by teaming up with the NBCA in support of their Annual Fundraising Campaign. The National Blood Clot Alliance is a wonderful organization formed around the mission to help prevent, diagnose and treat thrombosis and thrombophilia via research, education, support and advocacy.

    We kicked off our efforts locally by hosting an intimate “Stop the Clot” event on Friday, December 2 near our office in Orange County, California. Over 50 attendees joined us to bid on 70+ silent auction items & enjoy delicious drinks & hors d'oeuvres for the cause! Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we raised approximately $4,000 dollars by the end of the evening, which was upped to over $9,000 at night’s end thanks to a “match” $5,000 gift from a donor.

    Of course, this wouldn’t have been possible without the gifts of our generous donors. Special thanks to the below companies for their contributions! Friends of RejuvaHealth be sure to check out their websites and stores, and take advantage of many of the amazing products they have to offer:

     Stop The Clot Sponsors: 

     The Thrive Showroom  www.thriveshowroom.com

    Gianetta www.gianetta.com

    What a Dish Catering www.whatadishoc.com

    Hurley  www.hurley.com

    YogaWorks - Mission Viejo Studio  www.yogaworks.com

    Papyrus - Mission Viejo Mall Store www.papyrus.com

    Brighton - Mission Viejo Mall Store www.brighton.com

    Courtesan Studio  www.courtesanstudio.com

    Sherri Sieb Photography www.sherrisiebphotography.com

    Healthy Surprise www.healthysurprise.com

    Beth Wilkinson, Hair Stylist www.thesalon1.com

    Burke Williams, Mission Viejo location www.burkewilliams.com

    BOOM www.boommovement.com

    Ladera Flower Shoppe www.laderaflowershoppe.com

    Pages of Tyme Scrap Booking www.pagesoftyme.com

    And many more (if we accidentally missed you, let us know so we can add your site)

    And our heartfelt thanks to all the amazing friends & family that attended to support our efforts! If you’re interested in learning more about the cause & our fundraising campaign be sure to check out our page at www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/kelseyminarik.

    And lastly ... some photos from the event!

    xo, Kelsey

     

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