A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Thrombophlebitis
I had a question the other day about thrombophlebitis.
Phlebitis means inflammation of a vein.
This problem usually occurs in your extremities, particularly your legs.
If the inflammation is associated with the formation of a thrombus (a blood clot) in your vein, the condition is called thrombophlebitis.
Thrombophlebitis can be either superficial or deep.
It’s considered superficial if it affects a subcutaneous vein, one of the veins near your skin’s surface.
In superficial thrombophlebitis, the affected vein can be felt (it feels harder than normal), and may be seen as a reddish line under your skin, with localized swelling, pain, and tenderness to the touch.
If there’s widespread vein involvement, your lymphatic vessels (thin-walled vessels carrying fluid from your tissues to your bloodstream) may become inflamed.
Superficial thrombophlebitis is a relatively common disorder.
A superficial clot may happen because of trauma, infection, standing for long periods of time, lack of exercise, and intravenous drug use.
Pregnancy, varicose veins, obesity, and smoking increase the risk of superficial thrombophlebitis.
Thrombophlebitis may also be associated with environmental sensitivities or allergies.
Diagnosis is usually based on physical findings and/or a medical history indicating an increased risk.
Deep thrombophlebitis (known as deep venous thrombosis or DVT) affects your veins farther below your skin’s surface.
DVT is a much more serious condition than superficial thrombophlebitis because the veins affected are larger and located deep within the muscles of your leg.
These are the veins responsible for transporting 90% of the blood flowing back to your heart from your legs.
Symptoms of DVT may include pain, warmth, swelling, and/or bluish discoloration of the skin of your affected limb.
These symptoms are sometimes accompanied by fever and chills.
The pain is typically felt as a deep soreness and is worse when standing or walking and gets better with rest, especially with your leg elevated.
The veins directly under your skin may become dilated and more visible.
Any long period of immobility – whether from being bedridden or sitting during extended periods of travel – is a risk factor for DVT.
Any situation creating restricted blood flow – certain types of cancer, obesity, inherited clotting disorders, pregnancy, damage to your veins due to injury or orthopedic surgery, or anything else – can lead to DVT.
The primary risk associated with DVT is a sharp restriction in blood flow through your veins resulting in chronic venous insufficiency, a condition characterized by swelling, increased pigmentation, dermatitis, and ulcerations of your affected leg.
DVT can become life-threatening if a blood clot breaks off from the venous lining and travels through your bloodstream to your heart, lungs, or brain, where it may lodge in a blood vessel and cut off circulation to those vital organs.
If the clot blocks blood flow to your heart, the result is a heart attack; if it blocks the supply of blood to your brain, a stroke may occur.
If blood flow to your lung is blocked, the result is a pulmonary embolism.
However, despite its potential seriousness, DVT can be completely without symptoms.
Nearly half of all people who have it have no symptoms at all.
The reason or reasons for the formation of clots in the veins are often unknown.
In most cases, clots are probably the result of a minor injury to the inside lining of a blood vessel.
Platelets clump together to protect the injured area.
The result is a blood clot.
Other possible causes of DVT include abnormal clotting tendencies; poor circulation; certain types of cancer; and Behcet’s syndrome.
Factors increasing the risk of DVT include recent childbirth, surgery, trauma, use of birth control pills, and prolonged bed rest.
To deal with thrombophlebitis it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily as it hydrates body and brain cells, thins mucus, and flushes toxins.
*Alfalfa, pau d’arco, red raspberry, rosemary, and yarrow are antioxidant herbs improving blood oxygenation.
*Butcher’s broom improves circulation.
*Cayenne thins your blood, eases blood pressure, and improves circulation. It can also be combined with ginger, plantain, and witch hazel in a poultice and applied directly on the affected area.
*Ginger, skullcap, and valerian root dilate your blood vessels and help circulation.
*Hawthorn dilates your blood vessels, lowers cholesterol levels, and protects your heart.
*Olive leaf extract helps prevent infection.
*Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables; raw nuts and seeds; soybean products; and whole grains.
*Reduce your consumption of red meat. Better yet, eliminate it from your diet.
*Don’t consume any dairy products, fried or salty foods, or processed or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
*Get regular moderate exercise. Walking, swimming, and other exercise improve circulation and prevent sluggishness in the veins, lessening the tendency to form clots.
*Take alternating hot and cold sitz baths, or apply alternating hot and cold compresses using the herbs recommended above.
*Lie on a padded slant board with your feet higher than your head for 15 minutes a day. This is particularly helpful if you stand on your feet a lot.
*Ask your pharmacist about special elastic support stockings (anti-embolism stockings) to improve circulation.
*If you smoke, stop. Smoking constricts your blood vessels, resulting in poor circulation and weakened blood flow. This is especially important if you’re taking birth control pills.
*Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing that cuts off circulation, like girdles and knee socks with tight bands.
*If you experience a swollen, painful vein that doesn’t get better in 2 weeks, talk to a health care professional.
*If symptoms of pulmonary embolism develop, sit down at once and call for emergency help (if someone is with you, have that person make the call). Getting to an emergency room quickly is your best bet.
*If you’re confined to bed, move your legs as much as possible to counteract pooling of the blood in your veins.
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