| Aleksandra Bakmaz |
BERLIN (dpa) – When most people think of thrombosis they think of compression stockings and swollen legs. Few realise that a potentially deadly complication can be a pulmonary embolism – early diagnosis and treatment can prevent it.
What might at first simply feel like aching muscles can be thrombosis. Prolonged back pain, swelling and red discolouration are also symptoms of the dangerous disease of the blood vessels.
Anyone who thinks they have those symptoms should go to the doctor immediately, said Robert Klamroth of the Society for Thrombosis and Haemostasis Research (GTH) in Berlin ahead of the first World Thrombosis Day on October 13.
Untreated, thrombosis can quickly lead to a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.
Thrombosis occurs when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel. If it is diagnosed in time, the patient can be prescribed an anti-coagulant, which should reduce the clot.
“The risk of the clot reoccurring is greatest in the first few weeks, so patients should continue to take the anti-coagulant for three months,” said Klamroth.
Compression therapy and exercise can also help recovery. Failure to exercise after an operation or a long-haul flight can also increase the risk of suffering thrombosis.
Stefanie Reich-Schupke of the German Society of Phlebology (DGP) said that changes in hormone levels, such as during pregnancy or among women who take the pill, also increase the risk. Overweight and elderly people are also more likely to suffer thrombosis.
But preventive healthcare can reduce the risk of thrombosis. The most important measure is to take regular exercise.
“Take the stairs instead of the lift, the bike instead of the car or walk instead of taking the bus,” said Andreas Tiede, professor of haemostasis at the Hannover Medical School (MHH) and a GTH board member. A diet rich in fibre and plenty of fluids is also important for good circulation.
Around 100,000 people die every year in Germany as the result of thrombosis, but in spite of that few recognise the symptoms.