The Straits Times - Mind Your Body: "Blood clots in the veins can be fatal"

28th October, 2016
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Blood clots in the veins can be fatal

Prolonged sitting during travel or video gaming can cause venous thromboembolism

1. What is Venous Thromboembolism?

A venous thrombosis is the blockage if a blood vessel by a blood clot, or thrombus. 

A subset of VTE is a deep vein thrombosis, where blood clot that forms is found in a vein deep in the body, usually in the legs. 

An embolism is what occurs when the thrombus dislodges from where it was formed and travels in the blood before becoming stuck in a narrower blood vessel elsewhere in the body. 

Embolisms are dangerous and can be fatal. 


2. What are the symptoms of VTE?

VTE is a silent killer and the symptoms are non-specific. 

Common symptoms of deep vein thromboisis of the lower limbs include pain, swelling and redness of the affected limb. 

Patients affected by pulmonary embolisms can experience shortness of breath and giddiness. 


3. What are the risk factors for VTE?

VTE is most often due to secondary causes that result in long-term immobilisation. 

Age is a risk factor as well and family history of VTE.


4. How is VTE treated and what are the chances of receovery?

- Avoid prolonged immobilisation and dehydration

- For more serious cases, hospitalisation and preventive measures such as blood thinning medication or calf pumps are used. 

Blood thinners, also known as anticoagulants, work by breaking up blood clots and preventing new ones from forming. 

Calf pumps improve blood circulation in the legs through compression in the legs, which squeezes blood in the veins back up the leg and thus prevents clotting. (MedicFlow Mini and MedicFlow Plus)




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