October 27, 2021

Improving Circulation After DVT | DVT Recovery & Treatment

Help avoid a DVT and improve circulation in your legs. Learn all about how to reduce your risk of developing deep vein thrombosis.

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Home / Living with Diabetes / Improving Circulation After DVT | DVT Recovery & Treatment

5 Simple Steps To Improve Circulation in Your Legs

Typically, it doesn’t take too long to recover from deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Many people bounce back from this condition in months, if not weeks. However, up to 50 percent of those who have experienced DVT go on to develop long-term complications. Making matters worse, people with diabetes may have a heightened DVT risk.

Whether you’re concerned about the possibility of developing a DVT or are already dealing with one, this article can help. The team at US MED will review what you should know about DVT, how to live with it, and how to lower your risk.

DVT 101

While the name “deep vein thrombosis” may sound intimidating, this condition isn’t tough to understand. “Thrombosis” is just another word for a blood clot, so this term refers to clots in large blood veins, like those found in the legs. Some common DVT symptoms are swelling and pain in the leg in question, though these symptoms do not accompany all DVTs.

About 1 in 1,000 people deal with a DVT annually. Along with diabetes, risk factors include:

  • Excess weight
  • Tobacco use
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Cancer treatment
  • Rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions

If you suspect you have a DVT, there are a few methods used to diagnose this condition. You may go through a “D-dimer” test (a blood test for loose blood clot pieces), an ultrasound scan. Another diagnostic method for finding DVTs is a venogram. When running a venogram, doctors inject dye into the foot and take X-rays to see if a blood clot blocks it.

DVTs carry a handful of complications. Most notably, these clots can break off and get stuck in your lungs, which is known as a “pulmonary embolism.” This complication is a medical emergency, which can result in anything from lung damage to death. Other complications may include swelling, pain, and redness/open sores.

DVT Treatment Methods

If you are diagnosed with a DVT, you’ll likely receive blood thinners or anticoagulants. These drugs can prevent further DVT growth while preventing additional clots from forming. In many cases, you’ll be able to stop taking blood thinners after three months or so, but this may vary based on your likelihood of developing another DVT.

Blood thinners can come with problems of their own – namely, the possibility of uncontrolled bleeding. If you notice excess bruising, nosebleeds, or low blood pressure/stroke symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.

Living a healthy lifestyle after recovering from a DVT is also a great way to lower your chances of having another clot. Generally speaking, it’s good to get active again as soon as you can. Additionally, avoid sitting for extended periods, try to manage your weight, stay hydrated, and consider the use of compression stockings.



DVT Prevention

Even if you haven’t had a DVT before, it’s easy to be concerned about the possibility of developing this condition – especially since diabetes is a risk factor. Fortunately, there’s a productive way to deal with these concerns – that is, focusing on prevention strategies.

Extended travel can play a role in the development of DVT. Instead of eliminating travel from your life, consider taking these common-sense precautions:


1. Take A Break

If possible, it’s a good idea to stretch your legs regularly. Every hour or so, get up for a short walk.


2. Take A Drink

Dehydration is a risk factor for DVT development, so don’t ignore your thirst! Drink plenty of nonalcoholic liquids like water and tea.


3. Don’t Take A Drag

Smoking isn’t exactly common on airplanes and trains these days. Even if you’re driving, though, try to avoid tobacco – it can contribute to blood clots and DVT.


4. Take It Off

That is to say, take your belt off. After all, tight clothes and crossed legs can restrict your blood flow.


5. Take Another Break

Can’t get up from your seat? Do ankle rolls, flex your toes, and put your legs up when you have a chance.

Keep DVTs Under Control

Whether you’ve personally experienced one or not, a DVT can be a significant cause for concern. However, by lowering your risk of developing a DVT or taking common-sense steps to treat this condition, you can continue to live a healthy and satisfying life.

Do you want to learn more about managing diabetes and related conditions? Take a look at US MED’s regularly updated blog!

Shirley DeLeon Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist

Medical Review by Shirley DeLeon, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist

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