Thromboses detected too late can threaten life
The number of thromboses and the associated complications in the form of a pulmonary embolism has risen in recent years, according to the German Society of Angiology / Society for Vascular Medicine (DGA). Sitting for hours, for example on rail or air travel, is a clear risk factor here. However, various measures can minimize the risk of thrombosis. Endangered persons should definitely take appropriate precautions to avoid potentially life-threatening consequences.
Formed by the blood clotting, which is supposed to protect the body from bleeding as a protective mechanism after injury, lumps in the blood (Greek thrombos = graft or lumps), these clots can lead to clogging of the blood vessels. Such vascular occlusions are referred to as thrombosis, in particular the veins are affected according to DGA. If the blood clots in the deep leg and pelvic veins show up, this can quickly become life-threatening.Painful, thick calves may indicate a thrombosis
Threatening pulmonary embolism in a thrombosis
Because part of the clot dissolves in one of the deep leg and pelvic veins, it is transported with the bloodstream through the heart into the lungs. Here, the clot for breathing closes vital veins and leads to life-threatening pulmonary embolism, according to the DGA. The pulmonary embolism is the third most common leading to death cardiovascular disease in Germany after the heart attack and stroke. The main risk factor for a thrombosis is the age, according to the news agency dpa, citing DGA expert Holger Lawall. From the age of 60, the probability of thrombosis increases significantly. In addition, people with varicose veins, lung or heart disease and smokers and obese would have an increased risk of thrombosis. In case of lack of exercise, such as after prolonged bed rest, the risk of thrombosis is also increased. This applies equally to people who have recently undergone surgery. Last but not least, hormonal changes such as in pregnancy or birth control pills would lead to increased blood clotting and thus an increased risk of thrombosis.
Long bus, train and air travel a risk
Long flights, trains and bus travel are quite dangerous for patients with an already high risk of thrombosis, since sitting with angled legs also slows down blood flow. For this reason, according to the statement of Professor Tomas Jelinek, Medical Director of the Berlin Center for Travel and Tropical Medicine (BCRT), persons of risk groups should first of all talk to their doctor about a sensible provision, according to the "dpa". However, the thrombosis risk is "otherwise not as high on long flights or rides as we thought a few years ago," the expert continues. Nevertheless, it would not hurt to occasionally move your legs, to wiggle your toes or to tighten your calf muscles. The alternation of muscle tension and relaxation helps the veins to transport the blood against gravity back to the heart. Also, "special travel stockings made from a denser nylon fabric could help with blood flow, and they also have the" nice side effect of not swelling the feet, "cites the" dpa "Professor Jelinek.
Discuss prevention with the doctor
According to the experts, an increased fluid intake in the sense of a reduction in the risk of thrombosis is useful because the blood is kept liquid. However, alcohol is counterproductive because it spreads the vessels and consequently the blood in the leg veins collapse. For long-distance travel, patients with a high risk of thrombosis may also receive individually adapted compression stockings or preventive medicines. However, the experts strongly advise against self-imposed prevention such as Aspirin. Also, because the blood-thinning effect of the painkiller aspirin on the veins show almost no effect and therefore the drug offers no help in thrombosis prevention, so Professor Jelinek.
Thick legs and feet a warning signal
According to the managing director of the German Vein League, Petra Hager-Häusler, the risk of thrombosis is additionally increased in comparison to the "dpa" after injury or illness on holiday. "Anyone who has had an accident on vacation or has become ill should speak with the attending physician about thrombosis prophylaxis before returning home", Hager-Häusler is quoted by the "dpa". Otherwise, unprepared people would also have an increased risk, for example, after pneumonia or broken legs. Signs of thrombosis can be symptoms such as swollen ankles or thick leg, calf pain and a reddish or bluish discoloration of the skin. However, "the signs are often not clear," which is why "many sufferers initially do not notice anything," according to Holger Lawall. Also, stopping back pain may be related to thrombosis.
Apply compression stockings and remedies consistently
According to the experts, if there is evidence of thrombosis, medical attention should be sought promptly, as early treatment significantly reduces the risk of serious complications in the form of embolism. "Around one-third of patients with deep vein thrombosis suffer from pulmonary embolism," Lawall reports to dpa. With timely diagnosis, the clot can be prevented from growing by means of blood thinners and gradually dissolved by the organism. However, the treatment usually takes several months, because in the period while the body tries to dissect the blood clot, the risk of a renewed thrombosis remains high. Given the blood-thinning effects of the drugs, the risk of unwanted and potentially dangerous bleeding in the body must also be considered. Compression stockings and bandages are also an important part of the therapy. By applying pressure on the veins they help the venous valves, which prevent the flow of blood in the veins, in their work. Consistently wearing the compression stockings and taking the tablets is the best protection against a relapse, so Holger Lawall.
100,000 thrombosis deaths annually
"In Germany alone, around 100,000 people die each year from vascular occlusion due to thrombotic diseases," reports the DGA on the occasion of the campaign for the education and prevention of vascular diseases. Across Europe, more than 500,000 deaths a year are reported. "That's more than traffic accidents, AIDS, breast and prostate cancer together," says the DGA. With this year's campaign, doctors and the general public should be given a broad explanation of thrombosis and pulmonary embolism (VTE) "in order to raise public awareness for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of this disease." (Fp) proof: Rainer Sturm / pixelio. de