How can you avoid deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and maintain healthy veins?

Written by: Mr David Greenstein
Edited by: Jay Staniland

Deep vein thrombosis is a very serious condition, but fortunately quite rare. Generally, if you have a healthy lifestyle with healthy veins, your risk is low. Unfortunately, some patients have a predisposition to getting deep vein thrombosis. If you have a family history of deep vein thrombosis, you should consult your doctor because you may need a blood test called a thrombophilia screen to assess that.

One of the most common questions a doctor is asked, is the risk of deep vein thrombosis on long-haul flights. A flight more than three and a half hours is defined as a long-haul flight. To those patients, the best recommendation is to wear flight socks, drink plenty of fluid, and exercise on the flight by moving your toes, twisting your ankles, getting up from the seat, and stretching your legs.

These exercises often encourage the flow within the deep veins and reduces the chances of developing a DVT. It doesn't eliminate it but it certainly reduces the chances. If you’re unwell, you should make sure you drink plenty of fluids as sticky blood can lead to a DVT.

Losing weight and avoiding obesity will also minimise your risk of DVT.


How can you maintain healthy veins?


The best advice for maintaining healthy veins is once you have varicose veins, you should get them treated properly the first time. If treated badly, they are likely to come back and therefore you need to see a specialist vein surgeon who can assess your veins appropriately and offer you the most thorough treatment, treating all underlying causes of varicose veins. Unfortunately, keeping fit doesn't stop the veins deteriorating, as it is possible to see varicose veins in athletes who are very thin and with minimal body fat.

Once you have varicose veins, wearing compression stockings and maintaining good skin care with moisturising cream is very important. Resting your legs when appropriate is also useful but again, it’s not an easy thing to do if you have a busy lifestyle.

Overall, my summary for maintaining healthy veins is once you’ve developed varicose veins, you should consider getting them treated at an early stage.

You could also consider wearing compression stockings but many patients don’t want to wear stockings every day for the rest of their lives.

To make an appointment with a vascular specialist, click here.

By Mr David Greenstein
Vascular surgery

Mr David Greenstein is a foremost consultant vein surgeon. Based at the British Varicose Vein Centre at the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth, London, he is known for his friendly and approachable manner. He has an interest in the modern management of venous disease, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and the swollen leg.

Mr Greenstein offers pioneering laser treatment for varicose veins, thread veins, and leg ulcers including VNUS treatment and ClariVein treatment, as well as venous superglue and infra-red assisted sclerotherapy, and has published numerous peer-reviewed articles on venous disease and varicose veins treatment. He also has an interest in pelvic venous congestion syndrome, and has recently been involved in pioneering new treatments and pathways in deep vein thrombosis (DVT) management using thrombolysis and intravenous stents, aimed at returning the leg to normal size and function.

He regularly organises workshops and is a member of the European Venous Forum Faculty. Mr Greenstein graduated at Leeds University in 1989, and has since trained in a number of major vascular units in Nottingham, Sheffield and Adelaide, Australia.

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