Clotting is necessary to prevent excessive bleeding. Naturally, the body will form clots to plug any holes in the blood vessels which usually happen after accidents or trauma.
Some people have a genetic condition where they can’t clot and can often bleed to death from a simple cut. This is called Hemophilia and is very rare.
All the blood from the body and especially the lower limbs returns to the heart before it’s sent to the lungs to pick oxygen.
Clots which commonly form in the calf muscles of the legs( Entumbwe) will move to the heart( sometimes getting bigger along the way ) and block the vessels in the lungs causing Pulmonary Embolism. This is because blood vessels get bigger as you move from the legs upwards and the heart is like a big muscular blood vessel. Only the vessels of the lungs become small on this journey of the clot.
- Improve blood flow in your legs to avoid stasis. If you sit for long periods of time or are traveling for more than 4 hours, get up often, every 45-60 minutes and move around if possible. If not, do leg exercises or stretches by raising your legs on your toes and tightening the calf muscles.
- If you get any swelling, tightening, redness, pain especially out of proportion in the calf muscles after no trauma or even mild trauma and in ONE leg, see your doctor immediately.
- Ambulate as soon as possible after surgery and for some surgical conditions, blood thinners or drugs to prevent clots will be prescribed for you.
- Wear loose comfortable clothing.
- Avoid smoking.
- Avoid alcohol and medicines that will make you sleepy while on long trips as they can prevent you from moving around.
- Wear compression stockings if you have a high risk.
- Get an annual general check up and more often if you have diabetes, hypertension, cancer, heart disease and a family history of clots or sudden death.
Dr. Guloba Umarashid
Health Centre Services