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Monday, February 18, 2008

How can I protect myself from further deep vein thrombosis?

"I am a 54 year old female in excellent health, or so I thought! until last year when out of the blue I developed deep vein thrombosis the day after a flight from Auckland to Nelson. I do not come under any of the risk factor categories for DVT, took the pill for about 6 months 34 years ago, never taken HRT, I have walked most days for the last several years and eat a healthy diet, I have never been overweight. My cholestrol levels have always been very good. My blood pressure is excellent.

The only possible answer I can come up with is maybe I was dehydrated on that day. I have just come off Warfarin and at this stage have not yet had a thrombophilia screen but that should happen in the next few weeks.
So now I am wondering what I can do to protect myself in the future as I can't see how I can change my diet or lifestyle as I feel I have been doing, for many years, all the things they recommend. I have been doing lots of reading trying to figure out what I should do, if anything, that will help to prevent it happening again. I have started taking a magnesium supplement and am now wondering if Vitamin E is something to consider. I have spoken to my doctor about this and he feels Vitamin E is probably a good thing to try."
Gary Moller comments:
As I understand it, one of the theoretical requirements for a blood clot to develop is some kind of lesion or roughening of the blood vessel wall that allows a blood clot to attach to and develop. In a healthy athlete, such as a cyclist, this may be a lesion of the blood vessels where they kink at the knee or groin. This lesion may be caused by the thousands of repetitive and rapid leg flexion and extensions that occur in training and competition. In a healthy 50 year old, the mechanism may be similar; but different: The lesion may be from the first stages of atherosclerosis (double-click the word for its meaning) where there is a gradual buildup of plaque on the inside of the vessel wall. This is a point of turbulence and attachment for a blood clot.

As you will gather from my earlier article on the subject, sitting and standing for an hour or so may be all that is required to stress the blood which may increase its tendency to clot. Combined with a very sluggish flow and possibly dehydrated and cold (cold makes blood thick and sticky) and the scene is set for a deep vein thrombosis.

Ongoing prevention
with regards to nutrition is to focus on what is known to be good for the heart and the circulation. This includes attempting to prevent further plaque development and to possibly even reverse the process.
  • Take 1,000 mg of Lysine, 1,000 mg of vitamin C, 1,000 mg of natural vitamin E and up to 6,000 mg of fish oil or flax oil per day. Choose naturally derived vitamins at every opportunity.
  • You could add specially formulated tissue salt preparations that contain minerals for circulation, including magnesium, instead of that mineral on its own. I recommend Active Elements 3.1 and Active Elements 4.3
  • Include brightly coloured berries, fruits and vegetables daily and consider adding a further source such as the Nutra-Life Load Up Fruit and Vegetable concentrates.
  • Follow a heart healthy diet. A good place to begin is this E-Pub by Dr Blazey
  • Exercise daily. Walking 20-30 minutes before breakfast and during oyur lunch break is great. You could try aquajogging and even exercise on a lymphasizer.
  • Do not sit or stand for long periods without getting up and walking about. Do not sit with your legs crossed. Do not sit on chairs that leave the legs hanging, placing pressure on the underside of the thighs. Do not wear clothing that constricts the legs, such as socks that have tight elastic bands.
  • Wear compression stockings, preferably ones that extend from the toes to above the knees whenever in at-risk situations such as flying or traveling more than an hour by car.
  • Keep hydrated but do not overdo the water. Just enough to do the job.
  • Keep the legs warm. Cold blood is like cold gravy. Gravy flows best when warm.
  • Stressed? Then go do something relaxing like a long warm bath and a loving massage.
This might seem like a bit much; but let's call it comprehensive and thorough. The cost is minimal in comparison to the enormous cost and potential catastrophe if DVT is suffered again. Be very thorough for at least the first three months and preferably six months or even the whole year. As time passes, you can ease up and relax a bit on the supplements but keep the exercise and diet side going for good.

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