Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT, also known as Venous Thrombosis, is a blood clot usually occurring in a large vein of a lower leg, pelvis, thigh or arm.
DVTs may develop after prolonged bed rest (hospitalization after an operation), long plane or car trips. Diabetes is a risk factor that may increase the likelihood of DVT development.
Deep Vein Thrombosis Symptoms
Blood clot symptoms are as follows:
- Red patches
If not treated in time, DVT can travel to your lungs through your blood vessels to cause pulmonary embolism. This condition is fatal and can damage your lungs.
However, if the clot doesn’t move, it can become big. This could block the normal blood flow and damage the veins. The affected area may hurt, swell, and change color.
Relationship Between Diabetes and DVT
If you have diabetes, the sugar is not used for energy, it rather builds up in your blood stream causing changes in your blood and arteries leading to formation of blood clots. Thus, diabetes is one of the risk factors that can increase your chances of developing DVT. Blood clots and deep vein thrombosis increase the risk of developing heart disease and stroke in people with diabetes. Other risks are damage to the kidneys, nerves and eyes.
People with diabetes have elevated levels of fibrinogen that pose a strong risk factor of developing CVD. High levels of fibrinogen make the blood sticky thus resulting into clots.
Complications of DVT
DVT can lead to life-threatening complications. If you see any DVT signs and symptoms, contact your doctor immediately. The doctor will examine you and conduct a few tests that are required for DVT diagnosis.
Some of the complications are as follows:
At times, the blood clot can break and travel through the bloodstream to cause embolism. It can reduce or block the flow of blood in a blood vessel. Depending on where the embolism is present, it can cause a stroke, heart attack, lung damage, or even death.
Once you have had an experience with DVT, you may develop phlebitis or thrombophlebitis, which makes your veins extremely sensitive to pressure and hard to feel. If the leg is affected with thrombophlebitis, you may feel pain and cramps, especially while walking or flexing your foot.
Precautions to Avoid DVT Complications
- Healthy Lifestyle – Exercise and Diet
Exercise regularly, at least for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Engage in a lot of physical activities like walking, stretching, etc. If you are travelling, make sure to keep your legs elevated every 30 mins.
Indulge in healthy eating. Include green vegetables, whole grains, fruits and fish in your diet. Use less of processed foods; eat less of fried foods, grill or broil them. If in doubt about your diet, talk to your doctor.
Avoid Bad Habits
To minimize your chances of DVT, you need to control your blood sugar levels and your blood pressure. These good habits can save you from DVT complications:
- Minimize your alcohol intake
- Kick your smoking habit
- Eat only healthy snacks
- Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water
- Do not skip any meals
- Regularly monitor your blood sugar and blood pressure
- Proper Foot Care is Essential
If you are travelling or if your job demands you sitting for long hours, to avoid foot injuries or any kinds of blisters, cuts, and swelling, you should wear copper compression socks.
Wear shoes that fit correctly and consider diabetic shoes. Talk to your physician about copper compression socks to help prevent blood clots. These special socks help blood circulation by squeezing the veins in your legs to move the blood back towards your heart.
You can reduce the risk of DVT by following these tips:
- Get up and walk around every 30 mins or an hour
- Exercise while you sit. Simply raise and lower your heels keeping your toes firm on the ground. Then, keep your heels on the ground and lift and lower your toes. Next, lift your foot and draw imaginary circles with your toes then do it the other way around. Next, lift each leg and straighten it.
- If you are hospitalized, discuss DVT prevention plan with your doctor.
Regular doctor visits are a must to manage diabetes to minimize your risk of developing DVT. And if you’re a diabetic patient and is pregnant than you must consider a gestational diabetes diet plan from your family doctor.