Deep Vein Thrombosis

What Is Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a serious condition that occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in the body.  This condition typically occurs in the lower legs or thighs and can induce leg pain or swelling, but some people with DVT never experience any symptoms.  If the blood clot in the vein breaks loose, it can travel throughout the bloodstream and end up in the lungs, which can cause a pulmonary embolism (a condition that blocks blood flow).  

Signs Of Deep Vein Thrombosis

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) states that only 50% of people with DVT experience symptoms.  If you do experience DVT symptoms, common ones can include:

  • Cramping pain in the affected leg (most common cramp is in the calf)
  • Swelling in the foot, ankle, or entire leg that is affected
  • Skin over the clot turns a pale, reddish, or bluish color
  • Unexplained pain in the foot or ankle
  • An area of skin that feels warmer than surrounding areas
What Causes Deep Vein Thrombosis

DVT is caused by a blood clots, which prevent blood from circulating or clotting properly.  The reason for the clot is most commonly an injury to a vein, but it can also result from taking certain medications, surgery, or a sedentary lifestyle.  Other common reasons for blood clots include:

  • Prolonged bed rest (long hospital stays or paralysis that cause the legs to remain still)
  • Pregnancy (increased pressure on the veins in pelvis and legs can increase the risk of clotting)
  • Obesity (pressure on the legs increases when you're obese or overweight)
  • Smoking (affects proper blood clotting and can impair circulation)
  • Oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy (both can increase the blood ability to clot)
  • Genetics
  • Blood-clotting disorder (some people have disorders that make their blood clot more easily)

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies

It should be noted that certain natural remedies or alternative treatments may not work if you are taking blood thinners.  Certain dietary recommendations or herbs may interfere with the medication and cause you to have an adverse reaction.  Consult your doctor if you take blood thinners and want to experiment with natural remedies.

  • Ginger is an excellent spice to cook with, but it also possesses powerful medicinal properties.  Working to break down the fibrins that cause DVT, ginger helps to create smooth movement of blood.  Nutritionists have claimed that drinking two to three cups of ginger tea daily can contribute to healthier blood flow.  It also helps decrease plaque build-up in the arteries, which can inhibit proper blood flow. 
  • Vitamin E is a natural blood thinner, which is why many nutritionists encourage people with DVT to consume vitamin E-rich foods.  Vitamin E is present in olive and soybean oils, but you can also find it in leafy green vegetables (spinach & kale), almonds, tomato, broccoli, and kiwis.  Keep in mind that you shouldn't eat large amounts of leafy green vegetables if you take blood thinners.  The reason for this is because these vegetables contain vitamin K, which can lower the effects of the medication.
  • Since a sedentary lifestyle is a possible cause of DVT, make it a point to get moving.  The best fitness plan for people with DVT includes a combination of aerobic, resistance/strength training, and flexibility exercises.  Exercises like squats, walking, lunges, or cycling help to strengthen the knees and legs are beneficial for anyone with a history of clots.  If you sit at a desk for work, take regular breaks to stretch, walk around the office, or engage in squats near your desk. 
  • If you experience swelling from DVT, it can be beneficial to wear compression stockings, which help to decrease pressure, swelling, and pain in the affected area.  It is equally important to keep the affected leg elevated, while applying moist heat to relieve the pain.  Compression stockings typically go up to the knee and are readily available, either online or in store. 
  • Cinnamon has natural anticoagulant properties, which are attributed to coumarin, a compound that acts as a natural blood thinner and helps to lower blood pressure.  The blood-thinning properties of cinnamon may help manage blood clotting for people with DVT because cinnamon is an anti-clotting agent.  Drinking cinnamon tea is a great way to absorb the health properties. 
  • The use of tobacco products or electronic cigarettes are serious risk factors for DVT, especially if you are overweight or have cardiovascular issues.  If you cannot quit on your own, consider joining a support group or trying hypnosis or meditation that is geared toward overcoming addictions. 
  • Cayenne pepper is known to be a natural blood thinner, which may benefit people with DVT.  The active compound, capsaicin, in cayenne pepper helps to encourage smooth circulation, while also preventing blood clots.  Aside from this ability, cayenne pepper can help to normalize blood pressure levels and reduce LDL cholesterol, which can cause blood clots. 
Things you should eat
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Leafy Greens (spinach, kale, chard, & collards)
  • Shiitake & Maitake Mushrooms
  • Raw Cacao Powder
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, & raspberries)
  • Raw Honey
  • Green Tea
  • Garlic
  • Mustard Greens
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Bell Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Kiwis
  • Walnuts
  • Oregano
  • Avocado
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