While most people who develop a deep vein thrombosis, or blood clot, have risk factors such as genetic predisposition, family history, high blood pressure, or diabetes, it can occur in people who are perfectly healthy and who have no family history. There are certain lifestyle factors or things that you may do every day that may raise your risk for a blood clot in your leg or elsewhere in your body. Here are three unusual things that may heighten your risk or even cause a deep vein thrombosis and what you can do about them:
Stopping Aspirin Therapy
If you take aspirin on a regular basis to prevent a cardiovascular event or if you take it to manage chronic pain, do not stop taking it abruptly. Aspirin is a powerful anticoagulant, or blood thinner. Aspirin diminishes platelet aggregation, which means that it causes your blood platelets to become less sticky.
This is a favorable effect in people who have risk factors for blood clots, strokes, or heart attacks because it keeps the blood thin. When you stop aspirin therapy, platelet aggregation increases, which subsequently makes your blood thicker and more susceptible to clots.
If you don't have high blood pressure, a personal or family history of deep vein thrombosis, a history of heart attack or stroke, or diabetes, your doctor will probably tell you that it is acceptable to stop taking aspirin if you choose to. If, however, you have any of the aforementioned conditions, it may not be advisable to stop taking aspirin.
Not Making Ankle Circles
Air travel can raise your risk for developing a blood clot in your legs. The higher altitude and prolonged sitting time can allow blood to pool in your legs and ankles, which can heighten your risk for a deep vein thrombosis.
If you have scheduled a vacation and are anticipating a long flight, make little circle motions with feet while your sitting in your seat. This will help improve the circulation in your legs and help prevent the blood from pooling in your legs. In addition to exercising your ankles while seated, getting up and walking around the plane will also help improve your circulation during the flight.
Dehydration can also raise your risk for developing a deep vein thrombosis in your leg. Drinking plenty of non-caffeinated beverages, preferably plain water, helps to promote optimal circulation, while helping to keep your kidneys and cardiovascular system working as they should. If your body becomes severely dehydrated through either excessive sweating, persistent diarrhea, or prolonged vomiting, you may be at risk for a dangerous cardiac arrhythmia.
When your heart beats abnormally, your blood doesn't circulate throughout your vasculature as it should, which can predispose you to blood clot formation. Keep in mind that while coffee and colas are mostly water, they contain caffeine, which is a urinary stimulant. This means that these beverages will increase urinary frequency, which may also lead to or even worsen existing dehydration.
If you have risk factors for developing a deep vein thrombosis, visit your doctor on a regular basis. If you develop symptoms such as pain, redness, swelling, or increased warmth in your calf, seek emergency medical treatment as soon as possible. Early intervention will help ensure that the blood clot doesn't break off and enter into your circulation, which can then pose a danger to your heart and lungs.
For more information, contact Elite Vein Centers or a similar organization.