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WorldThrombosisDay280 karma

First of all, thank you for that very important question. This is based on my experience and my own protocol after a conversation with my doctor.

Definitely keep blood flow stimulated, which means don't live a sedentary lifestyle.

Make sure to get up and stretch often, especially when you're traveling. Think when you're driving to work, long distance, air travel. Make sure to not sit in one position for long periods of time.

I like to get up about every 90 minutes and one of my favorite exercises that I can do seated are called ankle clocks. I turn my ankles in circles forward and backward. I also write the alphabet forward and backward with my big toe--it's a big time blood stimulator.

Nearly 80% of the American population is said to be chronically dehydrated. Staying hydrated is so important.

WorldThrombosisDay207 karma

That's a great question. Thank you for asking. Does it frighten me less? Yes it does frighten me less. That is solely based on what I have been through in my life. I learned how short life really is when my single parent mom dropped dead right in front of me when I was only 20 years old from a sudden death pulmonary embolism (PE). I was immediately on my own. My wife also died of brain cancer in 2013. With the help of grief counseling and post-clot PTSD counseling - as well as my faith - I learned that truly you have to live every day like it's your last.

We are all going to die, and while we can extend our lives by following certain protocol - whether it's blood clot prevention, early cancer screening etc. There's no point in my dwelling on it and being consumed by anxiety every day. A day wasted is a day you will never get back. Once I put all of those together, I sort of lost my fear of dying. That has helped me emotionally big time. As far as that's related to blood clots, I honestly don't think I'll ever suffer an abnormal blood clot again because I'm aware, I'm educated, I live preventive, and that's how I choose to live my life.

I have good insurance and I've been lucky to have the same doctors for a while, and I know this is not always the case. I recommend people always advocating for themselves.

WorldThrombosisDay117 karma

That any one can get a blood clot and that they do not discriminate. Blood clots can be fatal - instantly, in some cases. But we can reduce the risk by following self-protocol like reducing or eliminating risk factors, being aware of symptoms, understanding your family history, etc. Know that blood clot trauma can cause emotional pitfalls like anxiety and post-clot PTSD. If people were more aware of the emotional impact, they would be more prepared for it and be able to seek support.

Two statistics that really stand out to me are following. Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a collective term which includes a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) that leads to a PE (pulmonary embolism).

Half of VTE patients experience ongoing psychological distress related to their blood clotting event.

1 in 5 VTE patients will experience mental health problems requiring an antidepressant, anti-anxiety medication, or counseling within the first five years after diagnosis.

These are studies from the National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA). Self-care is so important. People need to know to not be afraid to ask their doctor for a counselor referral.

WorldThrombosisDay27 karma

I've had six blood clots, and some have been very different. My first deep vein thrombosis (DVT) I realized that something was wrong when I looked down at my foot and it was purple. I knew that purple was bad because when my wife was dying from brain cancer, parts of her body were turning blue. I knew this wasn't good and I immediately took myself to the emergency room. The next three DVTs were all classic "charley horse" symptoms which felt like a muscle cramp. My leg was swollen and they made me limp, but I knew the symptoms and I took myself into the doctor within 24 hours each time. I knew I needed to immediately been seen. The blood clot in my groin that has been there for 10 years and dissolves gradually, I don't think I've ever felt it. I didn't know it was there until they did an ultrasound for a DVT and they happened to see it.

When I had my pulmonary embolism (PE), the only symptom I had was like someone was sticking me below the right rib cage with a butcher knife. Extreme pain. I had no shortness of breath, coughing, or rapid heart rate. No other common symptoms, but it was only the pain. Since it was below my rib cage, I thought I had pulled a muscle, but when it felt worse I eventually went in to the doctor.

Here is more on signs and symptoms: https://www.worldthrombosisday.org/issue/vte/

WorldThrombosisDay19 karma

That's a really good question, but that invokes a very long conversation rather than a simple answer. I have had experience with both. My mom was dead immediately from a blood clot, whereas it took my wife five months to die from brain cancer. Death is not easy either way, but it would depend also for myself if I was suffering a lot. I would rather have a quick exit than suffer. During those five months with my wife, that brain cancer really did a number on her and it was a really hard thing to watch. It really depends on the diagnosis, I think. That's a hard one.