British Heart Foundation: Understanding blood clots
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Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Julie Jennings – an independent occupational therapist – cautioned that “not everyone will experience DVT symptoms”. But, if you do, you should seek emergency care. This is because a DVT can lead a pulmonary embolism, the NHS warned, which can be life-threatening. Jennings pointed out the “key warning signs” of DVT, which includes an “unusual and sudden swelling in the arm or leg” that is “usually on one side”.
Moreover, there may be “cramping pain, soreness or tenderness, and a feeling of warmth in the affect area”.
Jennings added that skin may change to a “pale, reddish or blueish colour”.
“The symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include chest pain when coughing, sudden shortness of breath, fast heartbeat, sweating and feeling faint or dizzy,” Jennings stated.
“If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important that you get medical help immediately and don’t wait for them to go away by themselves.”
How to minimise the risk of DVT and a pulmonary embolism
Jennings pointed to that a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of a DVT, and subsequently, a pulmonary embolism.
“This is because blood circulation decreases when we are sedentary for long periods of time,” Jennings explained.
To counteract such a risk, the best course of action is to “try to be as active as possible”.
Jennings recommended incorporating a daily walk, yoga, or seated exercises into your routine to boost circulation.
Moving your body will also lead to additional benefits, such as improving muscle strength and making you feel more energised.
“The ideal exercise is a combination of stretching, which activates the muscles and stimulates blood flow, and aerobic exercise,” said Jennings.
The latter, aerobic exercise, makes your heart and lungs work harder thereby assisting blood circulation.
“Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing and drink plenty of water,” Jennings added.
“It’s also a good idea to elevate your legs at the end of the day to prevent fluid from pooling around your ankles.”
Jennings strongly recommends trying to maintain, or aim for, a healthy weight, and to incorporate movement into your day-to-day routine.
For those who would like more support when it comes to a healthy diet and an exercise regime, Jennings suggests speaking to your GP.
“Smoking also has a variety of health risks, including restricting blood flow and increasing the risk of clots,” Jennings added.
It is for this reason that all smokers should seriously consider giving up in order to protect their health.
Smokers can contact local stop smoking services for free or call the free Smokefree National Helpline on 0300 123 1044.
“It’s never too late to quit and there is so much useful advice available on the internet to help you,” Jennings said.
Julie Jennings is an Independent Occupational Therapist at HSL Furniture.
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