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Blood Clots: Who Is at Risk?
4 Feb. 2016

blood clotsFew people know that the formation of blood clots is not a pathological process, but a natural defense mechanism running constantly in the body in order to prevent blood loss and infection of an injury in all kinds of cuts, wounds, scrapes and other tissue damages. From time to time, small blood clots dissolve and form again and that is OK. The problems begin when these blood clots become attached to the walls of a weakened (for various reasons) vein. They cluster together like a snowball and form a bigger blood clot (thrombus), sort of a ‘plug’ in the blood vessel, interfering with the blood flow. So, a dangerous condition called vein thrombosis progresses. Once a blood clot breaks loose, it can reach the heart and other blood vessels with the flow of blood. If it gets into the brain, it provokes a stroke; if it gets into the vessels of the lungs, pulmonary embolism can develop.

Risk groups
The following groups of people are at higher risk of thrombosis:

• People suffering from cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis, heart failure or high blood pressure.
• Those who lead sedentary lifestyle and those who have to lie for long periods of time. Mainly it’s those who have had a surgery and the longer the bed rest lasts, the higher the risk of thrombosis is.
• People with a history of deep vein thrombosis.
• Those who have received hormone treatments.
• Women taking contraceptive pills that can increase blood clotting.
• People with some inherited blood disorders that make the blood thicker and thus more likely to form clots.

Prevention
Here are the main rules that can help to avoid this dangerous condition and prevent its complications:

• Avoid sitting in one position for long periods of time – make breaks, stretch your legs, walk, do simple exercises;
Quit smoking;
• Walk the stairs, it’s very helpful;
• If you have varicose veins, you should wear compression garments;
• Start moving after a surgery as soon as possible;
• Control your weight, since extra pounds put added pressure on the veins;
• Know the symptoms of thrombosis.

If there is a high risk of thrombosis, proper and effective medicinal prevention should be carried out. Thus, indirect anticoagulants such as Coumadin (warfarin) prevent the formation of blood clots; they are usually administered when there is an increased risk of thrombosis in patients with implanted prosthetic valve, chronic cardiac failure with affected valve leaflets as well as on the third day in those after acute thrombosis.

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