Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is caused by a blood clot (thrombus) that forms in one or more of the deep veins, usually in your legs. DVT causes leg pain, swelling, but it can also occur without manifesting any symptoms. Because it can partially or even completely block blood flow to the heart, it can be very life-threatening. It can damage the one-way valves in your veins and even travel to major organs and cause organ failure, pulmonary embolism, and in worst cases, death.
Statistics say that 1 in 10 people die from deep vein thrombosis complications. The risk of DVT is increased in inactive people who have a sedentary lifestyle. The blood clots are usually caused by anything that prevents blood from normally circulating or clotting, such as certain types of injuries, medication, smoking, excess weight, surgery, and lack of movement.
DVT can occur with no noticeable symptoms, but there are a few warning signs you can notice with the naked eye. If you have any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately!
An active lifestyle is all you need in order to prevent blood clots from forming deep in your veins. Stay hydrated and take walking breaks during your trips or other sedentary activities you might have, such as binge-watching TV. Walk every single day as much as you can in order to reduce the risk of DVT. Don't smoke, maintain a healthy weight, and talk to your doctor, making sure that the medication (including birth control pills) you might be on, doesn't increase the risk of DVT.
People who were diagnosed with sever DVT should take it easy and only do light physical activities, like walking, doing household work, etc. Follow doctor's order and only do what they allow you to do. A blood clot is of great stress to your body and it needs time to heal and recover, so take time off from work, only move as much as you need to, and be patient.
However, people who want to prevent DVT, have a mild form of DVT, or those who’ve just experienced DVT should exercise regularly. Being active will definitely not make things worse, but only improve them. Each individual needs a personal exercise plan, but it is best to start with some strength training.
For example, for a leg with DVT, arm and trunk exercises are recommended, while for an arm with DVT doctors recommend trunk and leg exercises. Wear compression socks at all times, in order to benefit from compression therapy, recovery functions and protection. And if you want to do some weightlifting, go easy and don’t lift anything that feels too heavy to you.
Lifting weights could actually help produce "valsalva maneuver", which reverses venous blood flow from your lower extremities towards your feet. So, you can do some lifting, including compound movements such as deadlifts, bench presses, front squats, etc. However, don’t start lifting without properly warming-up first! You can perform the exercises below as your warm-up before lifting, and even do them on a daily basis in order to maintain proper flow and movement in your legs.
Dynamic Hamstring Stretch
Alternating Leg Switch
Chair Leg Extended Stretch
Crossover Reverse Lunge
Remember to breathe as you exercise and make sure that you are hydrated. Don’t forget to wear compression socks or stockings as you perform these exercises, even during your lifting or cardio session. They are recommended for running, weightlifting, travel flights, hiking, recovery, and so many other active and sedentary activities as well.
Compression socks not only protect you against DVT on a daily basis, but enhance your lifting and cardio performances by distributing consistent pressure over the calves. They improve blood flow and promote adequate circulation by elevating oxygen levels. By removing lactic acid and flushing toxins, they speed up the recovery process. In addition, they also ensure a pain-free workout and pain relief post-workout by reducing fatigue, cramping and soreness.
Follow these steps and perform these light exercises everyday in order to prevent DVT from occurring. Don’t smoke, exercise regularly, stay hydrated, maintain a healthy weight, and lose the short and tight socks in the favor of compression socks, which are especially designed to aid your active lifestyle and prevent DVT.
Stay active and be healthy, because health is happiness!
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