DVT - Stop the Clot, Spread the Word

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that develops in the deep veins, usually in the legs. Adults over the age of 60 are at greatest risk for DVT – and not just during air travel. DVT is a concern for anyone who is stationary longer than four hours at a time, on prolonged bed rest or who has recently had an injury or surgery.

Dr. Paige Parker with Catawba Valley Family Medicine-Viewmont explains, “Veins return blood to the heart and when a clot breaks loose and goes to the lungs causing a blockage, it is called pulmonary embolism (PE). PE is a big deal because it’s the number one cause of unexpected death.”

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), DVT kills more people each year than motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer and AIDS combined. Dr. Parker encourages patients to prevent DVT by knowing their risk factors and learning about tips for prevention.

DVT Risk Factors - The more risks you have the higher the danger.

  • Sitting for long periods of time (long car ride or plane trip)
  • Prolonged bed rest
  • Injury or surgery (especially orthopedic)
  • Cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Heart failure
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • A pacemaker or catheter (tube) in a vein.
  • Prior deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism
  • Family history of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Inherited blood-clotting disorder

Preventing DVT

  • Move around as soon as possible after being confined to bed, such as after surgery, illness, or injury
  • If you’re at risk for DVT, talk to your doctor about:
    • Graduated compression stockings (sometimes called “medical compression stockings”)
    • Medications (anticoagulants) to prevent DVT
  • When sitting for long periods of time, such as when traveling for more than four hours:
    • Get up and walk around every 2 to 3 hours
    • Exercise your legs while you’re sitting by:
      • Raising and lowering your heels while keeping your toes on the floor
      • Raising and lowering your toes while keeping your heels on the floor
      • Tightening and releasing your leg muscles
    • Wear loose-fitting clothes
  • Reduce your risk by maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding a sedentary lifestyle, and following your primary care provider's recommendations based on your individual risk factors.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Parker or any of the providers at Catawba Valley Family Medicine-Viewmont located at 1205 North Center Street, Hickory, NC 28601, please call 828.324.1699.