Note: Do consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment of this condition. Use home remedies just as an adjunct treatment.
Deep vein thrombosis, or deep venous thrombosis (DVT), occurs when a blood clot forms in one or more veins located deep inside your body.
These blood clots usually develop in the legs, but can occur in other areas also. A blood clot forms when blood does not circulate normally or clot properly.
Some signs and symptoms of DVT include swelling, cramping pain, the affected area feeling warmer than surrounding areas and a change in the color of the skin near the affected area. Most people do not have symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose the problem at the early stage.
DVT can be life threatening if a blood clot in your vein breaks loose, travels through your bloodstream and reaches the lung.
This can block blood flow in the lung, resulting in pulmonary embolism. Together, DVT and pulmonary embolism comprise a condition known as venous thromboembolism (VTE).
For preventing and treating DVT, you must be aware of the risk factors. These include having a blood-clotting disorder, obesity, pregnancy, an injury to your veins, surgery, some types of cancers and their treatments, heart failure, inflammatory bowel disease and family history.
Prolonged bed rest, taking birth control pills, smoking and older age also put you at a higher risk.
Once diagnosed with DVT, proper treatment and prescribed blood thinners are required. In addition, watch your diet, opt for a healthy lifestyle, exercise regularly and try some home remedies to help treat and prevent another DVT.
Always consult a doctor before trying any natural remedy to prevent spontaneous bleeding or hemorrhage, especially if taking antiplatelet or anticoagulant drugs.
Here are some of the ways to help deal with deep vein thrombosis.
1. Elevation and Compression
In addition to the prescribed medications, your doctor may also recommend elevating the affected leg and wearing compression stockings to help reduce symptoms of deep vein thrombosis like swelling and pain.
- Wear compression stockings as recommended by your doctor. Make sure the stockings are fitted professionally. Also, the prescription should be reviewed every 3 to 6 months.
- Elevate your leg whenever you are resting, at least 3 to 4 times a day for 15 minutes at a time to help relieve the pressure in the veins. When elevating your leg make sure you raise your foot higher than your hip.
2. Exercise Daily
Do regular exercise to lower your risk of blood clots and DVT. Moderate daily exercise helps improve blood circulation. It even helps fight obesity, one of the risk factors of DVT.
Instead of doing rigorous weight training, try to focus on walking and mild aerobic exercises.
- Walk for 30 minutes or more, at least 5 times a week. Also, get up and walk around every 2 to 3 hours for 10 minutes.
- Enjoy swimming, jogging, biking, and similar activities a few times a week.
- Do simple foot and leg exercises for 15 minutes daily in the morning.
- While sitting for a long period, exercise your legs frequently.
Consult your doctor to help prepare an exercise plan suitable for your condition.
Ginger also plays a great role in treating DVT. A natural salicylate, it can block vitamin K and thin the blood. It also boosts blood circulation in arteries and veins. Plus, it helps prevent high cholesterol, which can cause plaque buildup and inhibit circulation.
In a 2013 study published in the Thrombosis Research journal, researchers found that ginger is an effective antiplatelet and COX-1 enzyme inhibitor.
- Drink ginger tea 2 or 3 times a day. To make the tea, boil 1 tablespoon of sliced ginger in 2 cups of water and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Strain, add honey for taste and drink it.
- Chew some fresh ginger slices or add dry or fresh ginger in your cooking.
- Alternatively, you can take ginger tablets, but only after consulting your doctor.
4. Cayenne Pepper
This natural blood thinner also helps in the treatment of DVT. The compound capsaicin in cayenne pepper promotes blood circulation and helps prevent blood clots. It also strengthens the arteries and capillaries.
Cayenne pepper also normalizes blood pressure and reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- In a glass of spinach juice, add ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder and salt for taste. Drink it once or twice daily.
- Include cayenne pepper in your cooking or take a supplement after consulting your doctor.
- You can even apply a cayenne pepper-based cream or gel on the affected area to get rid of pain.
Note: Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid eating cayenne pepper.
5. Eat Foods Rich in Vitamin E
Vitamin E contains antiplatelet and anticoagulant properties that help prevent blood clots. It inhibits platelet aggregation and antagonizes the effects of clotting factors.
According to a 2007 study published in the Circulation journal, vitamin E supplementation may reduce the risk of venous thromboembolism and those with a prior history or genetic predisposition may particularly benefit.
- Eat vitamin E-rich foods like walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, olive oil, spinach, broccoli, and avocado.
- You can even take a supplement, but only after consulting your doctor.
This wonderful spice also has blood-thinning properties and can help improve circulation. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, helps prevent blood platelets from forming clots. It also reduces the risk of plaque buildup in the arteries. Its anti-inflammatory property helps reduce pain and swelling.
- Boil ½ to 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of milk. Add a little honey to taste. Drink it twice daily.
- Another option is to take turmeric supplements, but only after consulting a doctor.
Garlic promotes blood circulation and inhibits the formation of blood clots. It also helps lower blood pressure.
- Eat 2 to 3 raw garlic cloves daily on an empty stomach.
- Another option is to take a supplement after consulting your doctor.
- You can also use garlic oil to gently massage the affected area to improve circulation and reduce pain and swelling.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another great natural remedy. It improves blood flow and circulation, thus reducing the clotting as well as pain and swelling.
- Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a glass of water.
- Add a little organic honey for taste.
- Drink it twice daily.
9. Fish Oil
Fish oil has omega-3 fatty acids that contain antiplatelet and fibrinolytic properties that help treat DVT. It helps prevent arterial blood clots and aids in dissolving clots, potentially both arterial and venous.
Fish oil also helps reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fatty fish, such as anchovies, salmon, lake trout, herring and mackerel. Eat these fish a few times a week.
- Plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, canola oil, and walnuts.
- Another option is to take a fish oil supplement after consulting your doctor.
10. Blackstrap Molasses
Blackstrap molasses is another effective remedy that you can try at home. The nutrients like iron, B vitamins, calcium and potassium in blackstrap molasses help maintain good blood flow throughout the body. It also helps reduce blood clots.
- Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses in a cup of warm milk. Drink this once or twice daily.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses in a cup of water along with ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder and 2 tablespoons of organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Drink this twice daily.
- Stretch your legs and feet while you are sitting to keep blood moving steadily in your calves. While sitting, avoid crossing your legs as this can limit blood flow.
- Avoid wearing tight clothes that can restrict blood flow.
- If traveling a long distance by car, stop every hour or so and walk around. While traveling on a plane or bus, try to stand or walk occasionally in the aisle.
- If you are overweight, take necessary steps to lose weight.
- Strive to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control.
- Quit smoking as it can have a harmful effect on your arteries.
- Avoid foods high in vitamin K, which can affect how prescribed medicines are working.
- Limit alcohol consumption to one serving per day or avoid it entirely. Alcohol contributes to dehydration.
- Do not forget to take the prescribed medications as directed by your doctor.
- Get regular medical check-ups so your doctor can assess your condition.