5 Everyday Things You Can Do To Prevent Blood Clots

Photo by: Gruff15 via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by: Gruff15 via Wikimedia Commons

by Jenny Hansen

Awhile back I wrote a post about the 5 important things you need to know about blood clots.

The biggest thing? ANYONE can get one.

Sedentary professions like office workers or writers are at a higher risk, but anyone can get one. This post is all about prevention.

I’ve had scads of blood clots (one in each leg [called bilateral DVT] and about 50 in my lungs [called pulmonary emboli]). I have a blood clotting disorder and my platelets really like to “get their love on.”

Below I’ve called out the most risky everyday behaviors that we all do so you can be aware of them. Perhaps you’ll even change a few.

#1 – If you sit, drive or fly for long periods wear compression hose!

I warn you, most of these are seriously unattractive, but they’re getting better. Compression socks/hose can be purchased in any medical supply store but now they’re also available on Amazon if you want them to come right to your door.

If I’m anywhere I plant to sit for awhile — work, conferences, out to dinner — I always have “toes to bellybutton” compression hose on. It’s too painful for me to sit or drive for more than 20 minutes without them.

(You SEE why you want to prevent blood clots?? They freaking hurt.)

Important note: If you’re traveling or having surgery, you need to increase your water intake before you do so — 90-100 ounces a day is the minimum. It’s not the TSA grope I dread when I fly, it’s the DVT prevention. (Click here for Bayard & Holmes’ advice on how to make those TSA gropes more exciting!)

#2 – Keep your feet up as much as you can.

I have a huge box of paper under my desk so I can put my legs up while I work. Most importantly, keep the back of your legs from pressing against hard edges. If factors like smoking, being on the Pill or sitting for long periods are part of your daily living, you are more likely to get a blood clot, so be sure to do this.

#3 – Exercise regularly.

Jump rope for a few minutes a couple times a day, walk for 15 minutes in the morning, bounce on a trampoline. I don’t care what you do, as long as you make the blood in your legs flow vigorously multiple times every day. Most people recommend taking a quick stroll every hour.

Your life is at stake here. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for your loved ones.

#4 – A glass of wine, particularly red, a few times a week is a good thing.

I’m not saying “booze it up,” especially if you have a problem with alcohol. But a periodic glass of red wine has been shown in studies to lower your cholesterol and inflammation and to prevent the development of blood clots.

Alcohol thins your blood, so I try to make sure I have a glass if I’m eating foods that are high in Vitamin K (which is primarily anything green).

#5 – Lower the levels of inflammation in your body.

This one’s a doozy and no one talks about it.

Chronic, low-level inflammation is one of the top ten causes of death in America and leads to the development of at least 7 of the other top 10 causes of death. Lowering your intake of processed food and refined sugars will decrease your inflammation, as will discovering and treating any food allergies you might have.

The most ironic thing is that leafy green vegetables, although they thicken your blood, also lower the inflammation in your body. Here are 8 additional lifestyle changes that will lower your body’s inflammation.

Last of all, here’s a bonus easy behavior change for the ladies:
Stop crossing your legs!!

I know, I know…It’s habit…it’s more lady-like. Who cares if it’s goint to give you a blood clot?

Maybe back in the day when people walked everywhere, women could cross their legs and dangle a high-heel from their toe, looking like Marilyn Monroe. Nowadays? Not so much. Most of us have very sedentary jobs where we sit down a lot. MUST you cross your legs too?

Are there other helpful behavior changes you know of that you’d like to share? What are your tricks for lowering inflammation in the body? Continue the discussion at the #SocialIn hashtag on Twitter or SocialInDC on Facebook!

~ Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 18 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.

When she’s not at her personal blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at JennyHansenCA or at Writers In The Storm.

© 2014 Jenny Hansen. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

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