How To Prevent Blood Clots Naturally
Blood clots can wreak havoc on your health. Fortunately, there are several simple lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of clots.
Though blood clots can be beneficial and prevent excessive bleeding, some can have devastating effects on your health. Blood clots located in the legs, lungs, and brain often require medical attention.
Learning to identify blood clots and their symptoms means knowing when it’s time to seek help. In the meantime, you can reduce the risks of blood clots naturally by making simple lifestyle changes.
The Basics About Blood Clots
If you get a cut or a scrape, these gel-like clumps of blood may form to seal the injured blood vessel and staunch the bleeding. These small clots are beneficial and can prevent excessive blood loss.
However, some clots may develop in your veins, even if you haven’t been injured. Clots can also grow, constricting your veins and resulting in a buildup of pressure. The decreased blood flow can damage your circulatory system.
Symptoms of blood clots include chest pain, an elevated heart rate, lightheadedness, vision changes, difficulty speaking, swelling, pain, and redness. You may also experience difficulty breathing and numbness or weakness in your face, arms, or legs.
If a clot develops in your deep veins (known as deep vein thrombosis, or DVT), you may experience swelling, pain, and redness. The clot can even break off, enter your bloodstream, and travel to other parts of your body. When this happens, it can cause life-threatening complications like stroke and pulmonary embolism (PE). That’s why it’s important to see a doctor if you believe you have a blood clot.
Risk Factors of Blood Clots
While anyone of any age may be affected by blood clots, the following are at a higher risk of developing blood clots:
Individuals with a family history of blood clots and
Women who are pregnant
Those who have cancer or are currently receiving cancer treatments
Anyone who has recently been hospitalized or undergone surgery
Preventing Blood Clots
The best way to prevent blood clots is to maintain a healthy lifestyle that prevents blood from pooling in your veins. These include:
If you spend a large portion of your day sitting, try to stand up and move every thirty minutes to encourage blood flow. Staying sedentary for an extended period allows blood to pool, leading to an increased risk for clots.
When traveling, pay careful attention to how long you’ve been sitting. The CDC advises that long-distance travelers, or those traveling for more than four hours at a time, move their legs frequently and take breaks to walk around every two to three hours to improve blood circulation. If you are on a long flight and unable to walk around, try flexing your ankles, stretching your calves, and pulling your knees to your chest in your seat.
Pregnancy is associated with hormonal changes that raise your risk of developing blood clots. So, if you’re pregnant, incorporating movement into your day is even more essential. Walking will force your leg muscles to contract, improving blood circulation and reducing your risk of clotting.
Not only can physical activity reduce your risk of obesity and diabetes, but it can also reduce your risk of developing a blood clot. Exercising is one of the best ways to improve circulatory system health. Walking for just 30 minutes a day will improve your blood flow and reduce your risk of clotting. Similarly, regularly jogging, swimming, and biking will help promote healthy blood circulation. Something as simple as performing leg and foot exercises to improve blood flow can help, too.
Obese individuals have a higher risk of clots as the additional weight increases pressure within the veins. By losing weight — and maintaining your new, healthy weight — you can reduce that pressure and lower your risk of clots.
Drinking water should be a top priority every day, as dehydration can lead to dizziness, fatigue, confusion, urinary tract infections, kidney failure, seizures, and hypovolemic shock. Dehydration can also result in thicker blood and, therefore, an increased likelihood of clots.
Between the dehydrating air on planes and the extended time spent sitting, long flights are a recipe for disaster if you don’t hydrate properly.
Elevating Your Legs While Sleeping
Sleeping is essential for your health and well-being, but sleeping for seven to eight hours each night means you spend nearly a third of your day sedentary, which can result in clot formation. Keeping your feet raised as you sleep will improve your circulation.
You probably already know that your diet can affect everything from your weight to your life expectancy. What you eat can also affect your circulatory health.
Try to reduce your consumption of animal fats, as these are known inflammatories that can negatively impact your cardiovascular health. Instead, consume natural blood-thinners, like cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, and cayenne peppers, to reduce your risk of blood clots. You can also incorporate moderate amounts of grape juice and red wine into your diet. Consuming kiwis and virgin olive oil can also prevent blood clot formation.
Receiving Treatment in Austin, Texas
Even if you make all of the above lifestyle changes, there’s still a chance you’ll develop blood clots, especially when you factor in family history. If you notice any symptoms of a blood clot, seek treatment as soon as possible.
In Austin, Texas, you can visit one of Center for Vein Restoration’s convenient locations to receive state-of-the-art vein care. Schedule a consultation with Doctor Aditya Gupta, MD, RPVI, DABVLM, at Center for Vein Restoration’s NW Austin or SW Austin location today. Dr. Gupta is board-certified in venous & lymphatic medicine, internal medicine, and physician vascular interpretation.
11111 Research Boulevard, Suite 400
Austin, Texas 78759
7900 Farm to Market Road 1826, Building 1, Suite 170
Austin, TX 78737