Possible DVT, Embolisms Need Immediate Attention

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Dr. Thomas Wright of the St. Louis Laser Lipo and Vein Center discusses Jerome Kersey, former NBA player, who died from a blood clot at the age of 52, as well as provides information on other vein issues, risks, prevention, and treatments.

It was recently reported the Jerome Kersey, a former NBA play, died from a blood clot that traveled from his leg, lodged in his lung and caused a pulmonary embolism. He was just 52 years old.

In other recent news, several well known athletes have also suffered from vein related issues, including:

  •     Mirza Teletovic of the Brooklyn Nets was diagnosed for blood clots in his lungs
  •     Anderson Varejo, Cleveland Cavaliers center, suffered a similar condition as Teletovic
  •     Tennis superstar Serena Williams experienced a pulmonary embolism following surgery on a her foot
  •     Rebekah Bradford, Olympic speed skater suffered from blood clots in 2012
  •     Tomas Vokoun, former Florida Panther Goalie suffered from blood clots in 2013

All of these cases were athletes who by their very professions need to be very healthy to be at the top of their games. If these people are susceptible to blood clots and the possibility of even more dangerous conditions, the average person should be aware of the dangers that can come from blood clots, DVT and pulmonary embolisms.

Blood clots in the leg can be very serious. Should the clots dislodge and travel to the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism, death is a possible consequence as in the case of Jerome Kersey.

The embolism is often caused when people develop DVT — deep vein thrombosis. This is a condition where a blood clot forms in a deep vein, most often in the lower leg.

Risk Factors for DVT

Deep vein clots can occur if there is damage to a vein’s inner lining, if the blood is thicker than normal, or if blood flow is slow.

There are several risks for DVT including:

  •     Untreated varicose veins
  •     Immobility
  •     Trauma
  •     Genetics that cause clotting disorders

DVT Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

The symptoms of DVT can include redness and swelling in the calf or thigh. This area may also ache or experience tenderness. Unfortunately, if the clot is small, it may not present any symptoms and a pulmonary embolism would be the first sign of DVT.

DVT is easily diagnosed through an ultrasound of the vein, which will measure the blood flow and identify the clot or clots.

Treatment of an identified DVT should begin immediately to reduce the risk of an embolism. Usually the treatment plan includes a blood thinner such as Heparin or Warfarin.

During the course of treatment, patients will also be advised to elevate the leg, wear compression garments and use a heating pad.

In rare, more serious cases, a vena cava filter may be implement in the affected vein to prevent any clots from reaching the lungs.

DVT Prevention

If you are at risk for blood clots, it is important to start a preventative course of treatment under the supervision of your physician. Depending on your individual circumstance, you may be prescribed certain medication. Additionally, there are other steps you can take to alleviate your risks, including:

  •     Increase your intake of fiber
  •     Add Vitamin C to your diet
  •     Wear compression stockings, especially when traveling when you will be sitting for long periods of time
  •     Lying horizontal can reduce pressure. Elevating the feet is also encouraged
  •     Don’t delay treatment on varicose veins

Remember, Varicose Veins greatly increase the risk of blood clots. Varicose Veins are linked to 18 fold increase in risk in superficial phlebitis, according to a study published by Dr JJ Guex in 2006. Furthermore, according to Annals of internal medicine study in 2013, 25% of all superficial phlebitis is associated with a deep phlebitis or DVT and 2% risk of Pulmonary Embolism PE. Thus, Varicose Veins are a significant treatable risk factor for DVT and must be treated as soon as possible.

About Dr. Thomas Wright

Dr. Thomas Wright is the medical director at the St. Louis Laser Lipo and Vein Center. He is a leading expert in vein disease and DVT and holds certifications in venous disease treatment from the American Board of Phlebology. He also holds other professional affiliations with organizations such as the American Medical Association and the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

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Dr. Thomas Wright
Laser Lipo And Veins
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