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?
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.