To an ancient human, the possibility of blood clotting is a boon, helping survive the trauma and deep wounds. For a modern man who can enjoy all the benefits of modern medicine, it can turn into a disease, because 15% of people have increased blood clotting, which in the future may result in blood clot formation or, in medical terms, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. The condition in which the blood clot partially or completely blocks the blood flow through the deep vein can cause many troubles.
Venous thromboembolism is the third most common cardiovascular disease. The first place is taken by ischemic heart disease, followed by stroke.
Why does there suddenly appear a dangerous blood clot in the body?
This happens when the blood becomes viscous, when the blood flow is slowed, or the integrity of the vascular wall is violated. Nevertheless, the latter condition is not necessary; sometimes a blood clot is formed in normal vessels. Blood flow in the limbs is always worse than in other parts of the body. If a person leads a sedentary lifestyle, is overweight and has someone in the family who suffered blood clots, he or she should be ready to face this condition, as well. In addition, there are people who have a genetic predisposition to high blood clotting.
Lower leg veins suffer most often. The most dangerous are the blood clots formed in the large veins, such as the iliac, femoral, popliteal. A large clot is the most dangerous one, it can greatly harm the body and even lead to death. However, its size is not the most important indicator. A more important thing is the structure of the clot – the most dangerous have a non-uniform structure and are loosely attached to the vessel walls. They may break off any moment –the so-called floating blood clots. The slightest push – and the blood clot immediately gets into the pulmonary artery through the venous bed. Pulmonary artery blockage means certain death. This is the main cause of postoperative mortality. Cancer patients as well as those who have undergone orthopedic surgical intervention risk 2-3 times more than other patients due to the fact that they need longer bed rest.
Do medicines help?
Within a few postoperative weeks, while there is a high risk of blood clots, doctors are fighting for the patients’ lives. Now, according to the new treatment standards, patients are urged out of bed the next day after the surgery – of course, health permitting. Bed rest has been decreased. Elastic bandages have become mandatory. The most interesting thing is that these simple changes have resulted in patients’ health improvement and reduced postoperative mortality.
After the invention of anticoagulants – drugs that thin the blood – the situation has improved. You only needed to monitor blood parameters constantly, which was not always possible or convenient, because there was a risk of bleeding. However, most importantly, these medicines helped well. Modern anticoagulants are based on direct thrombin inhibitors for acute deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism treatment, as well as the prevention of DVT and PE recurrence. Their intake does not require constant blood tests, which is convenient for both the patient and the doctor. They ensure a lower risk of bleeding and a higher survival rate.
Is there any prevention?
There are methods of prevention. This is especially important for women. If you have any gynecological problems, do the ultrasound of the veins – then there is a great chance to stop the development of the pelvic veins thrombosis. In addition, if you feel that the legs began to swell and it is difficult to get up in the morning, you need to consult a specialist immediately. If you have swelling and varicose veins, wear special hosiery; this also applies to pregnant women. Women should also give up high heels or wear them less often. A universal tip for everyone – move more and monitor your weight. Another good rule: drink more fluids, especially in hot weather.