Pulmonary Embolism

Preventing Pulmonary Embolism


Steps You Can Take To Prevent A Pulmonary Embolism

If you have a family history of blood clots, pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis, it’s especially smart to know the risk factors for this condition, and to know what you can do proactively to prevent a pulmonary embolism. It’s also wise to be aware of this condition if you’ve had surgery on your legs, hips, brain or stomach, or if you’ve had diseases like cancer. When people are required to stay in bed for prolonged periods of time, they should also be aware of things they can do to prevent pulmonary embolism.

Steps You Can Take For Preventing Pulmonary Embolism

Helpful steps you can take to ward off chances of developing a pulmonary embolism include:

  • Take a break from sitting, especially while doing a job that requires a lot of sitting. Physical activity helps to keep the blood moving to prevent clots.
  • Drink plenty of water when you’re traveling by plane. You’ll become dehydrated on long flights, so be sure to drink water, and try to avoid alcohol and caffeine in your drink choices.
  • Do leg elevation when possible to force the blood to flow back towards your heart.
  • Wear compression stockings if you’re at high risk for pulmonary embolism, especially during times like long plane flights.
  • When you have surgery, get moving as soon as possible to get your blood flowing properly again. Physical activity helps to reduce your embolism risks.

If you’ve recently had a problem with a pulmonary embolism, or if you’re at high risk, doctors will sometimes prescribe blood thinning medications. It’s crucial to take these medications by following your doctor’s directions exactly and do not miss any doses. Suddenly stopping these medications against a doctor’s advice is dangerous and can increase risk of blood clots and pulmonary embolism.

When Your Risk Of Pulmonary Embolism Is Highest

Times when your risk for developing a pulmonary embolism are highest include:

  • A period of time right after you’ve had an embolism
  • Genetic risk factors if close family members have a tendency towards blood clots, deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism
  • Cancer and other long-term diseases and treatments for these illnesses can increase risk of clots
  • Using certain types of birth control or undergoing hormone therapy can increase risk
  • Smoking increases risk of clotting and embolism
  • Being overweight can elevate the risk
  • During pregnancy since blood volume increases, creating a higher risk. Risks are highest during pregnancy and immediately after delivery.
  • Diseases that weaken blood vessels like heart failure, heart attack, varicose veins and stroke.
  • Being over age 70 increases risks for blood clotting and pulmonary embolism

Being Proactive Is The Best Defense

Taking steps like taking a break from sitting, physical activity, leg elevation and wearing compression stockings during activities like flying are all proactive ways to help prevent a pulmonary embolism. Being aware of pulmonary embolism and factors for its development keeps you a step ahead in your quest to be healthier.