How Tobacco Smoking Made a Case of DVT Get Worse
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Thirty-two-year-old Anunay Chatterjee believed it couldn’t be anything serious when he kept ignoring the constant ache he felt in his calves for weeks. What he thought was just exhaustion, turned out to be an intense case of Deep Vein Thrombosis.
"You’re too young to suffer from any illness of that sort.”
We have a tendency to not address our illnesses till they get to a severe stage, thanks to our own internalised ignorance that sows misconceptions in our heads.
We exert our body until it reaches the breaking point.
That's exactly what happened in Anunay's case.
Anunay used to be a chain-smoker. Little did he know how much smoking was worsening his condition. His case of unattended DVT eventually led to a pulmonary embolism.
What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Deep Vein Thrombosis is a serious medical condition which occurs due to the formation of clots in one or more veins in the body, usually in the legs.
There can be many reasons behind the development of DVT. It can happen if you don't move for a long time, such as after surgery or an accident, or when you're confined to bed for a long time.
There can be several factors that can affect blood flow in the deep veins and extend the risk for developing blood clots. Such as:
- A family history of DVT or pulmonary embolism
- Having a particular kind of malignant cancers
- Vein disease, such as varicose veins
- Tobacco smoking
- Using birth control pills
- Being overweight
- Genetic blood-clotting disorder
Deep vein thrombosis can happen to anyone. It turns serious when blood clots in your veins can break loose, travel through the bloodstream and embed themselves in your lungs, blocking blood flow. This further development is also known as Pulmonary Embolism.
What is a Pulmonary Embolism?
“A Pulmonary Embolism is a complication caused by neglecting the signs of DVT,” Dr. Vikas Bhardwaj, an orthopedic surgeon says.
When a blood clot gets stuck in an artery in the lung, blocking blood flow to that part of the lung, that’s when Pulmonary Embolism takes place. These clots mostly originate in the legs and travel up through the heart and then into the lungs.
In Anunay’s case, his smoking affected two major things - the blood vessel walls’ integrity and blood clotting. Tobacco makes a lot of biochemical changes in the body. It produces free radicals that damage the innermost lining of the blood vessels and shifts the balance between coagulation and anticoagulation. His condition was already severe and if he continued smoking, it could’ve become chronic.Dr. Vikas Bhardwaj, Orthopedic surgeon
This incident was a turning point in Anunay’s life. He’s quit smoking and come to the realisation that you have to respect your body.
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