British Heart Foundation: Understanding blood clots
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Although a certain amount of blood clotting is necessary to prevent excessive bleeding, clots that don’t dissolve naturally can cause problems. This is because the clots can travel to vital organs potentially leading to medical emergencies such as strokes and pulmonary embolisms. However, there are ways to lower your risk of blood clots.
According to Purolabs nutritionist, Stephanie Baker, taking a certain supplement could achieve this.
Speaking with Express.co.uk, she recommended Coenzyme Q10 as an effective way to prevent clotting.
She explained: “Coenzyme Q10 (or CoQ10 for short) is a very powerful and highly underrated antioxidant.
“We produce this nutrient endogenously (the body makes it), however our body makes less as we age.
“As we reach middle age, supplementing with CoQ10 is one of the most beneficial ways to tackle inflammatory oxidative build up in our blood vessels, which is one of the leading causes of blood clots.”
Other supplements to prevent clotting
She also championed the use of magnesium and omega 3.
“Magnesium is a vital mineral to help reduce the risk of blood clots as it relaxes (dilates) the arteries, helps to lower blood pressure, and stimulates the heart to pump blood,” she said.
“Omega 3 is a natural anticoagulant and antioxidant and is well known for its anti-blood clotting benefits.”
Other ways to reduce your risk of blood clots
Ms Baker added: “Regular movement is key when it comes to reducing the risk of blood clots.
“Inactivity causes blood to collect in your lower limbs and lead to clotting, so make sure if you’re sat at a desk all day that you take short regular breaks to move and stretch your legs.
“Loose fitting clothing to promote blood flow and compression socks or stockings help to stop blood from pooling in your legs.
“Although odd for spectators to watch, occasionally raise your legs several inches above your heart to help support blood flow.
“What makes blood clots so dangerous is the potential consequences if the clot ‘breaks free’ and travels through the blood, which is known as an embolism.
“If the embolism ends up in your lungs, brain or other vital organs, it can be fatal. “
Symptoms of a blood clot
Blood clots can cause deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is when a clot is found deep in an artery.
Common signs of DVT are:
- Throbbing or cramping pain in one leg (rarely both legs), usually in the calf or thigh
- Swelling in one leg (rarely both legs)
- Warm skin around the painful area
- Red or darkened skin around the painful area
- Swollen veins that are hard or sore when you touch them.
Ms Baker commented: “Blood clots can also present as blood in the urine, a red or blue ‘tinge’ in the lower legs, trouble breathing and visibly swollen veins.
“If you have any of these symptoms it is advised to seek a healthcare practitioner for further advice.”
If you experience breathlessness or chest pain alongside other symptoms, the NHS advises going to A&E immediately.
Those who are more at risk of DVT include those who:
- Are over 60
- Are overweight
- Have had DVT before
- Take the contraceptive pill or HRT
- Have cancer or heart failure
- Have varicose veins.
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