currently browsing February 2016

What do compression stockings do?

If you suffer from venous disease and have symptoms such as varicose veins or spider veins, one thing your doctor may prescribe for you is compression stockings. Compression stockings help to improve blood flow by gently squeezing your legs, moving blood up the leg through the veins1. When working correctly, compression stockings help to prevent swelling, and may be used as a preventive measure against blood clots, especially if you have recently had surgery or an injury which forces you to be less active2. Stockings can also help when you are experiencing aching in your legs. There are many different types of compression stockings, with different pressures (ranging from light to strong), lengths, and colors. If you are using compression stockings, there are some things you need to watch out for when you take the stockings off each day. Check to see if there are any open sores, red spots, puffy areas and swelling, or anything that does not appear to be normal. Additionally, seek medical care if there is any numbness or tingling in your legs that does not improve when you remove the stockings3. If these issues are recurring, you may need to seek an alternative to compression stockings. Alternatives to compression stockings Another option that is often recommended is a pneumatic compression device. These include an air pump and inflatable sleeves, gloves, or boots in an effort to improve circulation. This option is especially suited for those who are unable to wear compression stockings because they have difficulty getting them on and off. This is more common among those who are elderly, as they are more likely to simply not be strong enough to put the stockings on5. One other option is a Velcro-based compression wrap, which are similar to compression sleeves, but with several Velcro wraps which tighten on the leg. Compression stockings typically use a compression style which maintains pressure to the body part... Read more

Common Symptoms of DVT

DVT: What is Deep Vein Thrombosis? Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in a deep vein that typically forms in the leg and is at risk for breaking off traveling to the lungs and causing pulmonary embolism (PE). This is a very serious condition and should be treated immediately. Clots can also be found in the arms, but are more common in the legs, and usually only one, not both5. DVT rarely occurs in children, but the risk increases significantly over the age of 401. Be alert to possible symptoms and call your doctor as soon as possible if you experience these symptoms. DVT can be a symptom of other conditions that affect how your blood clots and you should consult your doctor for an accurate diagnosis. Because a deep vein thrombosis (blood clot) can break off and travel to your lungs, you should be aware of the warning signs of a pulmonary embolism (PE). This is a life-threatening condition and quick treatment could save your life or reduce the likelihood of future problems. Warning signs of Pulmonary Embolism (PE): Chest pain: often feels worse if you breathe deeply or cough Coughing up blood Rapid pulse rate Feeling dizzy or fainting Sudden shortness of breath or rapid breathing If you smoke, are over 60, overweight, and you sit for long periods of time (on a plane, at your desk, confined to bed or had recent surgery, etc.), your risk for blood clots is higher. Symptoms of DVT Common symptoms of DVT are: Leg swelling, with tenderness, possible discoloration and a feeling of warmth to the touch Pain that starts in your calf and can feel like cramping or soreness Veins you can see that seem to be bulging If you experience discomfort or any of these symptoms appear suddenly, it’s time to pick up the phone and call your doctor. Testing2 and Treatment of Deep Vein Thrombosis... Read more

What should I do if I have a blood clot?

When doctors talk about blood clots, they can be referring to either deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE). Estimates state that DVT affects up to 900,000 people each year in the United States1, while being responsible for up to 100,000 deaths2. Given the high incidence rate, it is likely that you or someone you know will suffer from a blood clot. It’s important to know how to recognize the symptoms of a blood clot, and what to do in the event that you suspect you may be suffering from a blood clot or DVT. Initial Diagnosis If you are suffering from DVT, symptoms might include pain in the affected area, usually your legs. This often can feel like a pulled muscle. This will usually be accompanied by discoloration in the tender area, swelling, and a feeling of warmth to the touch3. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should contact your doctor right away so that he or she can diagnosis it as a blood clot. Do not self-medicate, as if you are incorrectly diagnosing your problem, any medications such as a blood thinner can have other, adverse effects on your body. In a pulmonary embolism, the clot travels through the heart to the lungs. Among the symptoms are a shortness of breath, chest pain, and coughing, often with bloody mucus. PE is often fatal. Treatment of blood clots If you have seen your doctor and confirmed that you have DVT, there are various treatment options that your doctor may recommend, depending on the location of the clot and your individual health4. You may be prescribed an anticoagulant, which is medicine that can prevent clots from forming; or thrombolytics, which is medicine that dissolves blood clots. In certain cases, you may need to have surgery, which may include thrombectomy and/or placement of a stent. Because of the various treatment options, it is important to see your doctor... Read more

What are the risk factors for venous disease?

Venous disease occurs when veins become damaged or abnormal due to impairment to the flow of blood1. Common forms and symptoms of venous diseases are varicose veins, spider veins, leg swelling, or leg pain. Venous disease can also cause deep vein thrombosis (DVT), also known as a blood clot. Venous disease is typically a long-term condition, not one that comes on suddenly without warning. Risk factors There are many different risk factors for venous diseases. Among them are older age, a family history of the condition, obesity, pregnancy, as well as sitting or standing for long periods of time in a state of inactivity2. Women are more likely to suffer from venous disease, which may be related to levels of progesterone2. Additionally, smoking can be a risk factor, as well as having cancer. While many people do not suffer from recurring symptoms and blood clotting after initial successful treatment, that is not always the case. Some studies suggest that patients that have had previous superficial vein thrombosis (a type of blood clot) are four times more likely to develop DVT or have a pulmonary embolism (PE)3. Symptoms of venous disease are numerous, and are usually related to your legs, as that is the most common area for venous disease to develop4. In terms of painful symptoms, your legs may have a dull aching or cramping, which gets worse when standing and feels better when the legs are elevated. From a superficial standpoint, you may develop varicose veins or ulcers on the legs5. Your legs may also feel abnormally warm to the touch. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, especially in conjunction with the common risk factors, it is important to see your doctor immediately for a correct diagnosis. Prevention of venous disease If one or more of the risk factors is relevant to you, leaving you concerned about venous disease, there are several things you can do... Read more