Deep vein thrombosis, or deep venous thrombosis (DVT), occurs when a blood clot forms in one or more veins located deep inside your body.
These blood clots usually develop in the legs, but can occur in other areas also.A blood clot forms when blood does not circulate normally or clot properly.
Some signs and symptoms of DVT include swelling, cramping pain, the affected area feeling warmer than surrounding areas and a change in the color of the skin near the affected area. Most people do not have symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose the problem at the early stage.
DVT can be life threatening if a blood clot in your vein breaks loose, travels through your bloodstream and reaches the lung.
This can block blood flow in the lung, resulting in pulmonary embolism. Together, DVT and pulmonary embolism comprise a condition known as venous thromboembolism (VTE).
For preventing and treating DVT, you must be aware of the risk factors. These include having a blood-clotting disorder, obesity, pregnancy, an injury to your veins, surgery, some types of cancers and their treatments, heart failure, inflammatory bowel disease and family history.
Prolonged bed rest, taking birth control pills, smoking and older age also put you at a higher risk.
Once diagnosed with DVT, proper treatment and prescribed blood thinners are required. In addition, watch your diet, opt for a healthy lifestyle, exercise regularly and try some home remedies to help treat and prevent another DVT.
Always consult a doctor before trying any natural remedy to prevent spontaneous bleeding or hemorrhage, especially if taking antiplatelet or anticoagulant drugs.
1. Elevation and Compression
In addition to the prescribed medications, your doctor may also recommend elevating the affected leg and wearing compression stockings to help reduce symptoms of deep vein thrombosis like swelling and pain.
Wear compression stockings as recommended by your doctor. Make sure the stockings are fitted professionally. Also, the prescription should be reviewed every 3 to 6 months.
Elevate your leg whenever you are resting, at least 3 to 4 times a day for 15 minutes at a time to help relieve the pressure in the veins. When elevating your leg make sure you raise your foot higher than your hip.
2. Exercise Daily
Do regular exercise to lower your risk of blood clots and DVT. Moderate daily exercise helps improve blood circulation. It even helps fight obesity, one of the risk factors of DVT.
Instead of doing rigorous weight training, try to focus on walking and mild aerobic exercises.
Walk for 30 minutes or more, at least 5 times a week. Also, get up and walk around every 2 to 3 hours for 10 minutes.
Enjoy swimming, jogging, biking, and similar activities a few times a week.
Do simple foot and leg exercises for 15 minutes daily in the morning.
While sitting for a long period, exercise your legs frequently.
Consult your doctor to help prepare an exercise plan suitable for your condition.
Ginger also plays a great role in treating DVT. A natural salicylate, it can block vitamin K and thin the blood. It also boosts blood circulation in arteries and veins. Plus, it helps prevent high cholesterol, which can cause plaque buildup and inhibit circulation.
In a 2013 study published in the Thrombosis Research journal, researchers found that ginger is an effective antiplatelet and COX-1 enzyme inhibitor.
Drink ginger tea 2 or 3 times a day. To make the tea, boil 1 tablespoon of sliced ginger in 2 cups of water and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Strain, add honey for taste and drink it.
Chew some fresh ginger slices or add dry or fresh ginger in your cooking.
Alternatively, you can take ginger tablets, but only after consulting your doctor.
4. Cayenne Pepper
This natural blood thinner also helps in the treatment of DVT. The compound capsaicin in cayenne pepper promotes blood circulation and helps prevent blood clots. It also strengthens the arteries and capillaries.
Cayenne pepper also normalizes blood pressure and reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
In a glass of spinach juice, add ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder and salt for taste. Drink it once or twice daily.
Include cayenne pepper in your cooking or take a supplement after consulting your doctor.
You can even apply a cayenne pepper-based cream or gel on the affected area to get rid of pain.
Note: Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid eating cayenne pepper.
5. Eat Foods Rich in Vitamin E
Vitamin E contains antiplatelet and anticoagulant properties that help prevent blood clots. It inhibits platelet aggregation and antagonizes the effects of clotting factors.
According to a 2007 study published in the Circulation journal, vitamin E supplementation may reduce the risk of venous thromboembolism and those with a prior history or genetic predisposition may particularly benefit.
Eat vitamin E-rich foods like walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, olive oil, spinach, broccoli, and avocado.
You can even take a supplement, but only after consulting your doctor.
This wonderful spice also has blood-thinning properties and can help improve circulation. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, helps prevent blood platelets from forming clots. It also reduces the risk of plaque buildup in the arteries. Its anti-inflammatory property helps reduce pain and swelling.
Boil ½ to 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of milk. Add a little honey to taste. Drink it twice daily.
Another option is to take turmeric supplements, but only after consulting a doctor.