Women often take on the world. They are successful at being a wife, mother, and/or business professional. As they take care of anything and everything, they often forget to take care of one thing – themselves. This can be devastating because as much as they want to continue to help everyone, they end up not being able to because of health issues.
One of the most serious health concerns for women is blood clots. One in four people die of blood clots each year. While blood clots can’t always be avoided, it is possible to prevent them in some situations. The following are some of the threats that can lead to serious blood clots.
What Are Blood Clots?
Blood clots can lead to:
- Heart attacks
- Venous Thromboembolism
Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) is a medical condition in the veins that causes blood to stop moving. In a condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT), the clot moves towards the lungs and becomes stuck there. This can be fatal.
The good news is you can prevent some blood clots and reduce the risk of them.
Medications such as birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy that contain estrogen put women at an elevated risk for blood clots. Women’s risk of getting a blood clot is five times higher than those who don’t take medication with estrogen in it.
Women who have a family history of blood clots are at more of a risk of suffering from them. Being overweight and smoking can also increase your chances.
Pregnancy and Birth
Pregnant women are at an outstanding risk of blood clots. During pregnancy, blood gets thicker, which makes clots more likely. Actually, pregnant women are 10 times more likely to suffer from them. This lasts until six to eight weeks after giving birth.
Those who have suffered blood clots in the past are more at risk for reoccurrence of them when pregnant or after giving birth, so it’s important to speak to your doctor about it. It’s also important to move around often when you’re pregnant to prevent blood clots. Walking around once every hour or more can reduce your risk for them.
As you age, your risk for blood clots increases. When older women take estrogen-based hormone replacement therapy, they increase their risk of blood clots by two or three times.
It’s important to avoid hormone replacement therapy with estrogen if you have a history of blood clots. If you must, speak to your doctor about it. Many doctors will keep an eye on it and recommend at least 30 minutes of walking a day and avoiding sitting for long periods of times. There are also medications that can be prescribed, which will thin the blood to reduce the risk of blood clotting.
Getting an Assessment for Blood Clots
Doctors have an assessment they can give you to figure out your risk for blood clots. You will need to answer all of the questions truthfully, so you can have all of the information possible to reduce your risk.
Preventative treatment is available. Blood thinners can be prescribed and there are all compression stockings that can be worn to decrease your risk of blood clotting. These preventative steps only decreases your chances of blood clots, they don’t eliminate the risks.
You should know the symptoms of a blood clot, in case you ever suffer from one.
- Swelling is typical with a blood clot and will usually only occur in the extremity where the blood clot is such as in one leg or arm.
- Pain and tenderness are common. Some people describe it as having a Charley horse.
- Skin will turn red or blue, as if it is inflamed or losing circulation.
- The extremity is unusually warm.
Many people suffering from a blood clot say it feels as though there is a pulled muscle or Charley horse in the arm or leg. The difference with blood clots is that it swells, discolors, and becomes warm to the touch.
Be sure to keep these risks and symptoms in mind. You may not be at risk now, but you may later in life. Knowing about it can save your life. Share it with friends and other loved ones to ensure they can also prevent life-threatened blood clots.