Deep vein thrombosis, abbreviated as DVT, is a multicausal disease. It appears to be a common problem among the aging adult population. Characterized by the development of blood clots in the deep veins of the leg, DVT, can really get serious, if not treated on time. The condition usually affects the thighs and lower legs, but in some cases can also affect other parts of the body. The initiation of treatment at the right hour is essential to prevent fatal reactions. DVT is the third most common form of cardiovascular disease after a heart attack and stroke. Advancing age appears to be the most potent risk factor for the development of DVT. Adults aged 60 years and above are at an increased risk of developing the condition. As the life expectancy rate will increase, the world will also witness a rise in the cases of DVT. Furthermore, your loved ones are susceptible to develop other medical conditions such as COPD, acute infections, congestive heart failure, and atherosclerotic vascular disease, which may further increase their risk of developing DVT.
The most common sites of deep vein thrombosis remain the lower legs and thighs, but as already explained, in some cases the blood clot may also form in other parts of the body. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, states that blood clots occurring in the thighs are most likely to break loose and travel to the lungs, giving rise to a condition known as pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolism, also requires prompt treatment, failure of which may result in incurable consequences. Dealing with this day out and being careful not to irritate the condition any further can cause strain on you, as the caregiver. Here are some great books to help you now.
Statistics show that DVT, is a common problem, claiming millions of lives each year. According to the data presented by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, estimates that as high as 900,000 Americans each year develop deep vein thrombosis; of these, 60,000 – 100,000 die as a result of the disease.
Deep vein thrombosis is different from the blood clot that forms in the superficial veins, which is sometimes also referred to as superficial thrombophlebitis. This condition is, however, less dangerous than DVT and does not affect the lungs. Superficial blood clots are often successfully treated with NSAIDs, warm compresses, and bed rest.
Here are six risk factors that have been for the development of DVT in the elderly (aged = 65 years). These include:
A prior complaint of DVT
Edema of the lower limbs
Paralysis or paresis of lower limbs
Acute heart failure
In addition to the above-mentioned risk factors. Several studies have also confirmed lung fibrosis, as one of the contributory factors for DVT. Furthermore, recent research trials have also given the following risk factors for DVT.
Arthritis– osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
Causes of deep vein thrombosis
Advancing age is one of the biggest causes of deep vein thrombosis. Research has shown that elderly aged more than 85 years are at an 80 fold increased risk of suffering DVT, as compared to their younger counterparts.
Symptoms of deep vein thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis, in the initial stages, often does not produce any symptoms. So, as caregivers, you need to understand, that DVT would not give any warning signals before its development. Also, what is more, alarming is the fact, that signs and symptoms are when the clot has traveled to the lungs. This becomes a dangerous situation, indicating the need for prompt action. Here is a list of symptoms, that one needs to be aware of, in order to recognize the disease at an early stage. Furthermore, if your loved ones have the habit of sitting for long periods or is obese, then it is all the more necessary to check for the following signs:
Experiencing pain or some sort of tenderness in the leg during standing or walking
The affected area has discoloration along with swelling
Heartbeat is rapid
Pain in the chest while breathing
Sudden onset of cough
Difficulty in breathing
However, as already explained, your loved ones with deep vein thrombosis, may not always exhibit the above-mentioned symptoms. And, even if they do, the symptoms can more often be with the onset of other common diseases. In many cases, symptoms often develop when the clot has traveled to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism. In such cases, the symptoms would include:
Pain in the chest
Shortness of breath
Sudden onset of chest pain
Coughing up blood
Sweating and lightheadedness
Preventing Deep vein thrombosis
In order to prevent DVT, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining ideal body weight and exercising regularly forms an important part of preventing DVT. Making changes in your lifestyle would work best in preventing the onset of DVT. Your loved ones are also expected to quit smoking and keep themselves hydrated as much as possible.
Treating Deep vein thrombosis
The use of anticoagulants forms the primary line of treatment for DVT. For this, oral warfarin and intravenous heparin remain the first choice of drugs. With advancements in the medical industry, oral anticoagulants have treated more acute cases of DVT. These drugs are more useful for your loved ones, who live in remote areas, where medical facilities are scarce.
Take-home tips for caregivers to help their elderly
It is a well-known fact that advancing age is one of the biggest risk factors for the development of DVT. Coupled with immobilization, inactivity, and other disease conditions, The chances of DVT increases to a great extent. Therefore, in order to ensure the proper mobilization throughout the day, we need to encourage our loved ones to move around after every 30 minutes of sitting. In addition, there are certain tips for the caregivers, to take care of their loved ones with DVT.
You need to make your loved ones sit in a way that facilitates proper blood flow to the lower part of the legs.
Never place pillows under the knees, so as to avoid a sharp curve from forming.
While resting, the feet should be raised and a footstool can help with this.
Remind your loved ones to move around every 30 minutes. And teach them some simple exercises which they can do while sitting.
Remind them to move their legs in regular intervals to facilitate proper blood flow.
It can be prevented, but only if you and your loved ones know what to look for. Some of the symptoms might seem obvious, but others can easily be mistaken for others – and you should always know what to look for if you have your family’s best interests at heart. Go to your doctor for regular check-ups and scans to make sure your general health is in tip-top shape; keep an eye on the contraindications and side-effects of all prescribed and over-the-counter medications you take to know if DVT can be a potential worry; exercise regularly and follow a healthy, natural diet overall – your body will thank you!
It can be difficult to attend to your loved one with DVT, but it’s not impossible. With the right knowledge, you can do this. Don’t forget about taking care of yourself and keeping your business going while you are caregiving. I’m here to assist you on this journey, schedule your planning session with me so we can look at how to keep your life and your business running smoothly.
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