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Blood Clots and what we should know about them

January 30, 16:49

Thrombosis is a medical term for blood clot. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs in one of the large veins, usually in your legs, Cleveland Clinic reports. DVT can cause pain and swelling in the area where blood clots form. The area might also be reddened and feel warm to the touch. The most common complication from DVT is pulmonary embolism (blockage), which occurs when a clot or part of a clot breaks off and lodges in the lungs. Symptoms of pulmonary embolism include shortness of breath and sudden pain in the chest that gets worse when you breathe deeply.

Ways to avoid DVT include:

Quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly.

If you are on a long flight, or if you sit for hours, wear compression stockings and get up and move around or perform stretching exercises.

Physicians prescribe blood thinners to some DVT patients to prevent future clotting. Warfarin or Coumadin is a type of blood thinner that has been used for decades, but frequent blood tests are needed to monitor dosage.

Vascular medicine specialist Natalie Evans, MD, said, “Patients should talk with their doctor or pharmacist…to learn about potential interactions with foods and drugs.”

The Vitamin K found in greens and other foods can interfere with Coumadin’s effects. There’s a long list of foods that you should eat only in moderation while you are on the drug.

Cranberries and cranberry products like cranberry juice can intensify Coumadin’s effect, so it’s best to avoid them while you are on the drug.

Newer blood-thinner medications, including rivaroxaban (Xarelto), apixaban (Eliquis) and dabigatran (Pradaxa), can be used for DVT prevention and do not require frequent blood tests, making them more convenient.

These new-generation blood thinners also may have fewer negative interactions with foods and other drugs. However, they are also more expensive than warfarin, and a specific antidote, in cases of bleeding, is not available. Patients should talk to their physician about the risks and benefits of taking these medications.

If you’re taking blood thinners, participating in high-impact sports can lead to potentially dangerous bleeding. 

While you are on blood thinners, there’s always a danger from cuts or bruising, even in going about your everyday activities like shaving or gardening.

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