DVT can be caused by prolonged periods of sitting
Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is a blood clot that forms within a vein deep inside the body, usually in the leg. According to Foxnews.com, approximately 2 people out of every 1,000 develop DVT, and men are more likely to have recurring clots. Some of the risk factors for developing DVT include obesity, high blood pressure, prolonged inactivity, recent surgery, or hereditary blood clotting disorders. There are several natural ways to treat and prevent DVT.
1. Try compression stockings. These specialty stockings, which are worn from the foot to just below the knee, are designed to apply gentle pressure to the lower legs. This pressure helps regulate blood circulation to prevent the blood in your legs from pooling and clotting. Pressure also helps reduce swelling associated with deep vein thrombosis. MayoClinic.com recommends wearing compression stockings daily for at least a year, to prevent and correct clotting issues.
2. Consider supplementing with Ginkgo biloba. This natural herb is believed to thin the blood, thereby increasing blood flow and helping to prevent clots. “Because of this, ginkgo has been used in the treatment of a variety of conditions including blood flow disorders like thrombosis and Raynaud’s phenomenon, and in the treatment of problems associated with memory and concentration, likely caused by decreased blood flow to the brain,” says Nicole Nisly, MD, with UI Hospitals and Clinics Complementary and Alternative Medicine Clinic. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting supplementation with ginkgo biloba, especially if you are already taking a prescription blood thinner such as aspirin or warfarin, as you may run the risk of thinning the blood too much.
3. Watch your intake of Vitamin K. If you’ve been diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis and are currently taking a prescription blood thinner, you should be careful not to consume too many foods rich in vitamin K. This is because the vitamin helps the blood to clot, which may counter the effects of any drugs or other blood-thinning supplements you may be taking. Try to keep your diet consistent and limit adding too many vitamin-K rich foods such as canola and soybean oils and leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
4. Exercise. One of the primary causes of deep vein thrombosis is long periods of sitting still. To keep the blood flowing throughout your body, try to work in short periods of activity throughout your day. “If you work at a desk or computer for long periods of time, getting up and walking around every few hours is important to stimulate your leg muscles,” says Suman Rathbun, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City. Dr. Rathbun continues, “Exercising the calf muscle a few times per day can be helpful in keeping blood from stagnating in the veins.” Try calf raises or flexing and pointing the feet to stimulate the calf muscles.