Blood Clots

Blood clots, also known as thrombi, are formed inside major blood vessels, and are the major cause of many heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular disorders.

Symptoms of blood clots are usually not apparent, which is why diagnostic screening on a regular (yearly) basis is recommended.

What To Consider

Blood solidification, or clotting, usually occurs as a healthy response within minutes after the skin is cut or there is trauma that causes bleeding. A clot helps seal the damage. However, blood clotting can be dangerous when it occurs inside healthy blood vessels. Unhealthy clotting can occur from platelets that get "activated" to clump together. This occurs when platelets come in contact with damaged arterial walls, or due to nutrient deficiencies, poor dietary habits, or genetic predisposition. Once platelets get sticky, their shape changes and they easily mesh or clump together, causing a clot.

Another factor that can cause unhealthy blood clots is the production of fibrin, which helps bind the clump of platelets together. Fibrin is the end product of a cascade of coagulation (clumping) factors that occurs with the activation of just one molecule. This, in turn, can lead to the explosion of up to 30,000 molecules of fibrin at the site of injury on the arterial wall.

Factors that can cause a buildup of platelet stickiness and fibrin include: the use of birth control pills, late stages of pregnancy, nutrient deficiencies, smoking, free radicals (inadequate antioxidant nutrients), a high-cholesterol diet, low essential fatty acids, a diet high in saturated fat and low in vegetables and fish, and liver disease. Prolonged sitting on long airline flights, especially in cramped conditions, can also increase the risk of developing pulmonary thrombosis. Blood clots forming in the legs or another part of the body break loose and then block one of the arteries to the lungs. Some practical preventive measures during long flights include getting up and walking the aisle every hour, wearing loose, comfortable clothing, periodically stretching the legs and tightening and loosening the muscles of the abdomen and buttocks, and taking some slow, deep breaths.

Studies conducted at Duke University showed that moderate exercise can help protect against heart attacks and strokes by enhancing the body's natural mechanism for dissolving blood clots. In addition, researchers found that the higher risk of blood clotting in women taking oral contraceptives can be significantly reduced by exercise.

Note
If you take aspirin as a daily preventive therapy, you may want to begin a gut rejuvenation program to stimulate healing and proper gastrointestinal wall functioning, in order to offset aspirin's traumatization of the gut wall when taken on daily basis. Consult your physician for guidance.

Self-Care Tips

Diet
Foods that act to decrease platelet stickiness and fibrin formation include garlic, ginger, onions, and hot peppers (capsicum), all of which protect against heart attack and stroke. Use granulated garlic on food as a regular spice. Fish oils also help to reduce clotting of blood. Increase consumption of cold-water fish at least three times per week. Also decrease sugar consumption as sugar intake increases platelet stickiness.

Nutritional Supplementation
Research in Japan has shown that nattokinase, an enzyme derived from soy, can dissolve blood clots in as little as two hours, making it one of the most effective nutrients for preventing and reversing blood clots.

Other useful nutrients include: vitamin B6, garlic capsules, niacin (vitamin B3), lipotropic factors (nutrients useful for liver metabolism of fat), omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, bromelain, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, and zinc.

Herbs
Hawthorne berry is a very useful herb for helping to prevent blood clots.

Homeopathy
Hamamelis.

Juice Therapy
Combine the juices of garlic, carrot, parsley, spinach, celery, and beet and drink 8-12 ounces daily.

Caution

If your symptoms persist despite the above measures, seek the help of a qualified health professional.

Back to Health Conditions A to Z

 

 


 

 

 

All material © 2010 WellnessWatchersMD. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of WellnessWatchersMD's terms of use and privacy policy. The information provided in this Web site is intended for your general knowledge only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Please see your personal physician immediately if you have any concern about your health, and you should always consult your physician before starting a fitness regimen.