Up to 30 percent of patients who are seriously ill with COVID-19 are developing dangerous blood clots. These clots are causing death from thromboembolic events in the legs, lungs, and other organs. As the the nation’s leader in providing the latest vein treatment procedures, we are encouraging others to be aware of the symptoms of blood clots, as well as take preventative measures to reduce their risk for serious health complications.
“The presence of blood clots is not surprising at all,” said our Co-Founder, Dr. Yan Katsnelson, “a decrease in basic activities like walking slows the circulation of blood, especially in the legs. Sluggish blood flow can lead to increased clotting in any person, whether they have COVID-19 and are hospitalized; or are healthy and staying home.”
Blood Clots and Inactivity
While blood clots can help to prevent blood loss that is caused by injury, they can be dangerous if they form when no injury has taken place. Immobility can cause the blood to collect in the lower part of the legs. Swelling, heaviness, leg pain, and cramps can be symptoms of superficial venous insufficiency – a serious condition that blocks blood circulation to certain veins in the legs.
If left untreated, venous insufficiency can increase the risk for developing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in the deep veins. This condition can be fatal if the clot breaks free from the leg veins, travels through the heart, and lodges in the lung arteries. This complication, called Pulmonary Embolism (PE), causes between 100,000 and 180,000 deaths in the United States per year.
While blood clots can form anywhere within the body, they most commonly develop in the legs and can contribute to the development of varicose or spider veins. Varicose veins are often a sign of venous insufficiency. The most common causes of venous insufficiency are chronic inactivity, obesity, and heredity.
“When you’re resting or sitting for a long period of time, blood clots can develop in your legs, especially if you have varicose or spider veins.” Dr. Katsnelson said. “But there are things you can do to easily prevent blood clots before they have the chance to develop.”
Read more: WebMD on “Blood Clots and COVID-19”
Tips for Preventing Blood Clots While at Home
Dr. Katsnelson recommends a variety of simple methods to help promote circulation and help prevent blood clotting.
- Keep walking, even inside your home, and get your 10,000 steps in – use the app on your mobile phone to help you keep track.
- Do not add extra salt to food, keep sodium intake to less than 2 grams per day.
- Elevate your legs for 15 minutes several times a day while sitting or lying down.
- Wear compression stocking or tight leggings. Use compression bandages if the swelling increases.
- Consult your physician whether a mild blood thinner such as baby aspirin is appropriate for you.
If your symptoms of swelling or pain do not improve, our vein specialists are available to take calls and provide video consultations. Appointments (either virtual or in-person visits) can be scheduled to rule out DVT or venous insufficiency.
“We are here to help people avoid serious health complications, especially during the pandemic.” Katsnelson said. “We observe CDC and state sanitary guidelines in all of our offices. Staff and patients must wear masks while present in any of our clinics.”
To address the increased number of venous problems, we have re-opened all of our locations, which are staffed with physicians, ultrasound technologists and medical assistants.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us at 888-768-3467.