Deep Vein Thrombosis: How COVID Can Trigger Blood Clots
Early diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis becomes extremely critical, especially in those suffering from COVID.
The panic over the pandemic has increased due to an alarming rise in the cases around us once again, even after more than one year of its onset.
Research shows COVID influences abnormal formation of blood clots inside vessels which may lead to extreme swelling and near fatal conditions of Pulmonary Embolism for the masses susceptible to Deep Vein Thrombosis during pandemic.
Thus, early diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis becomes extremely critical, especially in those suffering from COVID.
What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Excessive and abnormal formation of blood clots in the blood vessels is a condition known as Thrombosis.
It is an often undiagnosed and untreated condition with serious consequences if left ignored. There exist up to fifteen different types of thrombosis which affect different parts of the human body. One of the most asymptomatic amongst them is called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
Ignoring the clots occurring in deep veins can potentially lead to the clots travelling and migrating into lungs (thromboembolism) can lead to Pulmonary Embolism.
One of the major causes leading to higher cases of Deep Vein Thrombosis these days is due to the negative consequences of the lockdown. Covid-19 virus is inflammatory and procoagulant in nature, increasing Deep Vein Thrombosis risk in Covid-19 patients.
Additionally, these patients are on various medications that also increases their risk of contracting Deep Vein Thrombosis. Unfortunately, several patients and their caregivers fail to understand that a delayed diagnosis of Deep Vein Thrombosis is more fatal than COVID itself.
In fact, many people do not understand that thrombosis reveals this infection.
What Causes Clot Formation?
There are three major factors which might lead to clot formation.
A change in the constituents of blood, due to ingestion of certain kinds of oral contraceptives; damaged blood vessels, possibly caused by certain surgeries or pressure in the blood vessels and disturbance in the pattern of the blood flow, which leads to stagnation of blood in the arteries or veins.
One or more than one of these three factors either in isolation or in combination aid clot formation. The latest cause of Deep Vein Thrombosis is working from home, sitting in a particular position with no exercise and poor dietary control.
Apart from these major risk factors, there are certain situations due to which patients may be at risk of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis.
These include immobility, obesity, dehydration, increased age, and diseases like COVID. However, the fear of getting infected and the growing burden of the COVID cases on the healthcare system has disrupted crucial non-COVID treatment.
‘Should Fear More About Delayed Diagnosis of Vascular Diseases Than COVID’
Highlighting the importance of timely treatment of Deep Vein Thrombosis during the current pandemic, the incidence of thrombotic events is on the rise.
It is important to be practical and understand that hospitals have protocols in place for patient safety. Patients have more to fear from delayed diagnosis of vascular diseases than of the consequences of contracting COVID.
While a vast majority of coronavirus infected patients recover, patients with delayed diagnosis of thrombotic events in the vascular system end up losing a limb or life in extreme cases.
While there are multiple options for treatment of Deep Vein Thrombosis, certain lifestyle changes also play a crucial role in prevention and effective management of Deep Vein Thrombosis.
These changes include staying well hydrated, weight reduction, balanced diet, exercising regularly, quit smoking, and avoiding consumption of tobacco, and avoiding stress.
(Dr Varinder Singh Bedi is a Vascular Surgeon at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi.)
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