Prevention of Deep Vein Thrombosis & Pulmonary Embolism

Symptoms and Signs of Deep Vein Thrombosis (Blood Clot in Leg)

  • Swelling, usually in one leg
  • Leg pain or tenderness
  • Reddish or bluish skin discoloration
  • Leg warm to touch

The symptoms of a blood clot may feel similar to a pulled muscle or a “Charlie horse,” but may also differ in that the leg may be swollen, slightly discolored, and warm. Contact your doctor if you have these symptoms, because you may need treatment right away.

Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism (PE; Blood Clot that Travels to Your Lungs)

  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Chest pain-sharp, stabbing; may get worse with deep breath
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Unexplained cough, sometimes with bloody mucus

Go to an Emergency Department immediately to be diagnosed and treated

Practical Steps to Keep DVT Risk Low

  • Ask your doctor about need for “blood thinners” or compression stockings to prevent clots, whenever you go 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
  • Do heel toe exercises or circle your feet if you cannot move around
  • 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

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