Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition where blood clots form in the deep veins in the body. The condition is dangerous, because clots can break off, travel to different parts of the body, and cause a pulmonary embolism, stroke, or heart attack. The standard of care for DVTs typically involves the use of blood thinners and thrombolytics. However, people who don't want to use medication may wonder if there are natural ways to deal with this problem. Here are two alternative treatments that may help.
Natural Blood Thinners
DVT treatment seeks to accomplish three things:
- Stop the clot from increasing in size
- Break up the clot
- Prevent more clots from forming in the future
To keep clots from getting bigger and prevent more from forming in other areas, doctors typically prescribe anticoagulants. These drugs stop the blood from clotting, which can make it easier for it to pass through the affected area and reduce the risk of complete blockages that may result in the need for amputation.
While these medications are very effective, there are a variety of foods and spices that also have blood thinning properties. For example, turmeric contains curcumin, a substance that prevents blood platelets from sticking to each other and may stop plaque buildup in the veins that can contribute to the formation of DVTs.
Other foods with blood clotting capabilities include:
- Vitamin E
- Cayenne pepper
It's critical to note, though, these foods should not be eaten if you're already taking blood thinners as they will compound the effect of those drugs. Additionally, the inability for blood to clot can cause serious problems if you are ever injured, because it may take longer for you to stop bleeding.
Another important aspect of DVT treatment is breaking up existing clots. The body already does this on its own. However, it may not be able to dismantle the clots as fast as they form, which is why doctors use drugs or medical devices to help destroy them.
Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of natural remedies that break up clots that have already formed, but pineapples and kiwis may help. These fruits contain an enzyme called bromelain that demolish fibrin, a protein most clots contain. Bromelain can also reduce inflammation and help remove plaque from vein walls.
You don't necessarily have to obtain bromelain from food. It is available as an extract in most health food stores. Like any substance, however, it's important to consult with your doctor before taking it to ensure it's safe for you to do so.
For more information about these or other treatment options for DVT, contact a service like Rural Health Services Consortium Inc.