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.
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- 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.
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
- Leg paralysis
Blood Slows: Moderate Risk
- Older than age 65
- Trips over 4 hours by plane, car, train, or bus
- Active cancer/chemotherapy
- Bone fracture or cast
- Birth control pills, patch, or ring
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Pregnancy or recently gave birth
- Prior blood clot or family history of clot
- Heart failure
- Bed rest over 3 days
- Genetic/hereditary or acquired blood clotting disorder
Blood Flows: Average Risk
- Younger than age 40
- No history of blood clots in immediate family
- No conditions or illnesses that heighten clotting risk
Practical Steps to Lower Your Risk for a Blood Clot
- Ask your doctor about need for “blood thinners” or compression stockings to prevent clots, whenever you are admitted to the hospital
- Lose weight, if you are overweight
- Stay active
- Exercise regularly; walking is fine
- Avoid long periods of staying still
- Get up and move around at least every hour whenever you travel on a plane, train, or bus, particularly if the trip is longer than 4 hours
- Point and flex your toes and make circles with your feet if you cannot move around while sitting for prolonged periods to get your blood circulating
- Stop at least every two hours when you drive, and get out and move around
- Drink a lot of water and wear loose fitted clothing when you travel
- Talk to your doctor about your risk of clotting whenever you take hormones, whether for birth control or replacement therapy, or during and right after any pregnancy
- Follow any self-care measures to keep heart failure, diabetes, or any other health issues as stable as possible
Visit the BlackDoctor.org High Blood Pressure center for more articles.