The Silent Killer In Your Veins

veinTennis star Serena Williams battled it and it was the recent cause of the untimely death of Heavy D. What exactly are blood clots, how can you prevent them, and what are the risk factors?

Currently, it is estimated that 25,000 people who are admitted to hospital die from preventable venous thromboembolism (blood clots in the leg and potentially fatal clots which travel to the lung) each year. This has led the Department of Health to make the prevention of this “silent killer” across the NHS a priority for the forthcoming years.

You can help prevent blood clots if you:

  • Wear loose-fitting clothes, socks, or stockings.
  • Raise your legs 6 inches above your heart from time to time.
  • Wear special stockings (called compression stockings) if your doctor prescribes them.
  • Do exercises your doctor gives you.
  • Change your position often, especially during a long trip.
  • Do not stand or sit for more than 1 hour at a time.
  • Eat less salt.
  • Try not to bump or hurt your legs and try not to cross them.
  • Do not use pillows under your knees.
  • Raise the bottom of your bed 4 to 6 inches with blocks or books.
  • Take all medicines the doctor prescribes you.

Risk Factors

Estimated risk for developing a DVT (blood clot in the leg) or PE (blood clot in the lung):

Blood Clots: High Risk

  • Hospital stay
  • Major surgery, such as abdominal/pelvic surgery
  • Knee or hip replacement
  • Major trauma: automobile accident or fall
  • Nursing home living