Leg Blood Clots
Blood clots in the leg can turn into serious health complications if not properly addressed. Blood clots are the body’s natural defense against injuries, but internal clotting in the veins can turn problematic if these clots break loose into the blood stream. In the worst cases, leg blood clots can ultimately lead to catastrophic strokes or fatal embolisms. This is why it’s important for people who are at risk of leg blood clots to understand the symptoms and treatments of their conditions. Are you or a loved one at risk of leg clots? If so, read on to learn more about the warning signs and treatment options.
Leg clots are a form of deep-vein thrombosis, a condition diagnosed when clots form in the deep veins of the arms or legs - but most cases of DVT occur in the legs. People who have deep-vein thrombosis may experience a tightening of the legs or leg cramps similar to a Charlie horse. The affected leg may become swollen or tender, and the leg may also be warm to the touch. People who experience these symptoms should talk to their doctors immediately. With early treatment, the potential complications that can arise from a leg blood clot are greatly minimized.
Blood thinners are the primary treatment for people who have blood clots in their legs or elsewhere in the body. Contrary to their colloquial names, blood thinners don’t actually thin the blood - they simply prevent the blood from clotting. By administering blood-thinning medications such as Warfarin, Pradaxa and Xarelto, doctors can keep blood clots from getting worse while allowing the body to break them down naturally. Warfarin is the most tenured of the blood-thinning medications, and it works by blocking the use of Vitamin K in the body’s clotting process. Other medications have different properties in how they work and how they’re administered.
The use of medical compression stockings can also help to prevent blood clots. People who’ve just had surgery are more prone to clotting, which is why surgery patients are usually given compression stockings to wear immediately after their procedures. Compression stockings can be purchased at most drug and medical supply stores.
Another key to avoiding blood clots in the legs is to not spend too much time sitting. Doctors recommend for people to get up and walk around at least once every two hours, and people who’ve had blood clots should be on their feet hourly. People who take long road trips or plane flights should plan out breaks to get up and stretch their legs. Also, leading a sedentary life is a huge risk factor for leg blood clots. People who exercise regularly and don’t spend too much time watching TV are much less likely to suffer from serious clots.
Blood clots in the legs can be dangerous, but they’re treatable when caught early. Leg blood clots also don’t usually occur without increasingly noticeable symptoms. Talk to your doctor if you have more concerns about possibly having an undiagnosed blood clot.