e-Newsletter - April 2016
Advancing the Prevention, Early Diagnosis, and
Treatment of Life-Threatening Blood Clots
Hello Spring, Hello Healthy Life 

Spring is the season of rejuvenation, change, and a fresh start. As animals emerge from hibernation, budding plants arise from the ground, and the days become longer, lighter and warmer. It seems that the entire Earth is once again blossoming with eagerness. Spring cleaning and cleansing commence, as we get ready for the carefree summer months ahead. And, while spring is typically an exciting time, it can be hard to look ahead to a bright future, especially when recovering from a sometimes debilitating or life-altering blood clot.
Each year, up to 900,000 people are affected by blood clots that form in their legs (deep vein thrombosis or DVT) and their lungs (pulmonary embolism or PE). For some of these people, recovery may occur quickly with few complications, but for others who may have had extensive clotting or symptoms, recovery can take weeks or even months. Still others may suffer lifelong complications from blood clots, such as post-thrombotic syndrome, including leg pain and swelling or ongoing shortness of breath, chest pain and fatigue. Recovery is just as varied as the individual risk factors that can cause blood clots, and no two stories are the same. With persistent symptoms, pain, discomfort, and even emotional distress, it can be difficult to resume normal life after a blood clot, but that doesn't mean you can't.
The important thing to remember this spring - and in the seasons to come - is that if you are suffering after a blood clot diagnosis, there are tools, resources and support systems available to help you through what can be a very trying time. You are not alone in the physical pain, anxiety, and even depression you might be feeling. There are things you can do right now, with the start of a new season, to improve your health.
In this newsletter, we are taking a look at the lifestyle issues that matter to you. Whether you're interested in getting active again, making healthy eating choices, or addressing anxiety about recurring blood clots, this resource is for you. Most importantly, taking steps to prevent blood clots - as well as recognizing blood clot signs and symptoms - are tools that you can utilize in your own life and share with family and friends.  
Feed Your Body Well with Good Nutrition 

Surviving a blood clot might mean that your health requires more attention than it ever has before, and it can be hard to make changes to your lifestyle when you are in the midst of recovering from a life-altering diagnosis. Over time, and as you heal, it will become important to achieve or maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

Aside from regular activity, which is important, nutrition also plays a critical role in achieving or maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you struggle with making healthy and knowledgeable eating choices after your blood clot, you are not alone. 
For people who have been diagnosed with a blood clot or clotting disorder, it is important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet - rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains - as a means of nurturing the body during the healing process. However, if taking the anticoagulant warfarin, it can be overwhelming to contemplate good nutrition like fruits and vegetables and potential interactions with your medication. With warfarin, good nutrition must include consistent nutrition. 

Some of the healthiest foods we eat - green, leafy foods like spinach and broccoli, for example - contain high levels of vitamin K. Vitamin K can interfere with the way warfarin works, and can even lessen effectiveness. Even so, it is still possible to eat the foods that are good for you and that make you feel good, including those rich in vital nutrients like vitamin K. 

If you're taking warfarin, experts recommend that you speak with your healthcare provider or a nutritionist about your diet. If you consume foods rich in vitamin K consistently, without sudden changes, you can enjoy the wonderful nutritional benefits they provide as part of a healthy diet. There are no known dietary interactions with newer oral anticoagulants. 

To learn more about balancing nutrition while taking blood thinning or anticoagulation therapy click here:   Nutrition Topics.
Blood Clot Prevention: Get Outside and Get Moving

By Casey Schmauder, University of Pittsburgh Intern and Special Contributor to NBCA Women & Blood Clots Program and NBCA e-Newsletter

When the spring weather comes and the flowers start blooming, we hardly need another excuse to want to get outdoors. However, stepping outside brings you more than just your daily dose of vitamin D. The exercise from outdoor activities like walking the dog, playing catch, or going swimming could reduce your risk of having a potentially fatal blood clot.

A sedentary lifestyle and obesity are risk factors for blood clots. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your risk of having a serious blood clot. Make a commitment to get outside this spring and move around. Avoid long periods of sitting, and try to form a new habit of going for a walk or doing some stretching or light exercise in the morning. 

People who experience a blood clot will have different levels of physical ability - some return quickly to exercise, while others may struggle to do anything active. Beginning or maintaining an active lifestyle is an important measure to help protect yourself from blood clots. People recovering from a blood clot should resume activity slowly, or at a pace they are comfortable with, and experts agree that physical activity is safe after a blood clot in the leg or lung. Talk to your doctor about things you can do to get active - talk a walk, join a fitness class, swim, ride a bike. And, remember, go at the pace you feel comfortable with. 

If you're going to be traveling on a spring vacation or getaway, there are some important things you can do to help prevent blood clots. If you're traveling by plane, try to stretch your legs and feet and walk up and down the aisle periodically, when permitted. If you're traveling by car, use rest stops as times to get out of the car, stretch, and move around. It is a good idea to stop every couple of hours when traveling by car or bus and move around for about 15 minutes or so.  

It's also important to be able to recognize the symptoms of a blood clot so that if one should develop, you will be able to seek help as soon as possible. A blood clot in the arm or leg - deep vein thrombosis or DVT - may be swollen or feel tender and sore (like a pulled muscle or "Charley Horse"), be warm to the touch or have a reddish or blue discoloration to the skin. A blood clot in the lungs - pulmonary embolism or PE - may cause difficulty breathing, chest pain, a rapid heart rate, unexplained coughing or coughing up blood. It is important to call your doctor or seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these signs or symptoms. 

Sometimes, blood clots occur without any signs or symptoms, so know your risk factors and if you have a family history of blood clotting or have experienced a blood clot before, talk to your doctor about early prevention.

Anxiety After A Blood Clot: Knowledge to Help You Face Fear of Recurrence 

Blood clots can affect anyone - they do not discriminate. Tragically, too many lives are affected by blood clots, and too many lives are lost because public awareness about life-threatening blood clots is so low. Study after study have shown that fewer than 1 in 4 people have any recognition of blood clots or their signs and symptoms. On average, there are more deaths each year due to blood clots than AIDS, breast cancer, and automobile accidents combined. This is a startling statistic to hear, perhaps even more so for those who have survived a blood clot when so many others have not.
It is not uncommon for people to experience anxiety and fear that they will be be struck by another blood clot and encounter more physical disability or perhaps not survive. The feelings are very real and for many, anxiety and depression - and worrying about the possibility of a recurrent clot - become difficult obstacles to overcome. The good news is, there are three important steps you can take to help lessen your anxiety.
1. Know your risk for blood clots. The first and most important thing you can do to protect yourself from a life-threatening blood clot is to know if you are at risk for one. Learn more about your risk for blood clots here.
2. Recognize the signs and symptoms of blood clots. By recognizing crucial signs and symptoms of blood clots, you can seek medical help at the first indication of a problem. Learn more about signs and symptoms of blood clots here.  

3. Learn how to prevent blood clots. Although blood clots are dangerous, blood clots can also be prevented. Learn more about how to prevent blood clots here

You should never suffer in silence or feel like you are alone. You are not alone. There are many others who share these same feelings. PE Survivor, NBCA Staffer, and also  Blood Clot Recovery Network  blogger Sara Wyen shares some very important insights about emotional recovery from blood clots in a recent post which asked a very important question:  What does it feel like to recover from a blood clot?  
Always reach out and get the help you need and don't hesitate to speak to your healthcare provider if you are struggling with anxiety, depression, or any other troubling emotions in the aftermath of your blood clot experience. There are different ways these issues can be successfully managed and your doctor should be able to recommend strategies or resources that can help you.
Community Connection

Austin Stop The Clot® 5K Fun Run / 1 Mile Walk
Join us on Sunday, May 22, for the 6th Annual Austin Stop The Clot® 5k Fun Run/1 Mile Walk in Austin, Texas. Held on the grounds of The Reserve at Lake Travis, you will be helping to raise funds to benefit the National Blood Clot Alliance, prevent blood clots and save lives. Everyone who registers for the race will be able to use the spectacular facilities for the day at The Reserve. This includes the infinity pool over Lake Travis, the lazy river, the swim up bar, water slide, kids swim area and lake access - and delicious food and drink specials. Don't wait, register now and set up your own fundraising page.

Walk to Stop The Clot® NYC
Please join us on Saturday, June 11, at 9:00 am, as we kick off the Walk to Stop the Clot® NYC to benefit the National Blood Clot Alliance and raise awareness of deadly blood clots. This year's walk will honor the memory of Michael Scott. Mike was working as a producer for ABC News when he passed away unexpectedly, at the age of 43, from a pulmonary embolism in September of 2013. On June 11, we will walk across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn to symbolically connect the boroughs in which Mike worked, lived, and thrived. To register for this event or learn more about Michael Scott, click here.

It's Not too Soon to Plan Now for Fall Events
If you've been wondering how you can help Stop The Clot® and make a difference in your community, look no further. The National Blood Clot Alliance relies on our incredible volunteers across the country to plan events and raise awareness and funds to support our mission. Whether it's a walk, a fundraiser, a fitness challenge or something completely unique to you, NBCA will guide you every step of the way. You can make a difference! Please fill out our Interest Questionnaire and a staff member will contact you to discuss options geared toward your time, interests, and resources.  

Upcoming Events
The National Blood Clot Alliance has many exciting events coming up all across the country. If we're coming to a city near you, we'd love to see you there. To view all of our upcoming events, please click here.

April 30 (Columbus, OH):  Cap City Half Marathon
November 6 (New York, NY):  The 2016 TCS NYC Marathon

Blood Clots Changed Our Lives: Corey Capman's Story, as told by His Mother
Tammy Capman is sharing the story of her son, Corey, who had a large blood clot from his hip to his knee - known as deep vein thrombosis or DVT- and a clotted inferior vena cava (IVC). She says, "Today, Corey is doing great. He doesn't have any of the blood disorders associated with clots, nothing genetic, and no underlying ri sk factors. There is absolutely no reason that we can find for his body to have formed the clots in his IVC. So, those clots will remain and we are thankful every day that we were able to get immediate care for Corey and that he is able to live a normal life." She urges everyone to familiarize themselves with the signs and symptoms of DVT. Find out more about Corey's story and connect with him and his family here.

Get Engaged in Your Community Today

 Join the  National Blood Clot Alliance Online Support Group and Discussion Community
 safe and supportive place where you  can inspire and be inspired.
 Sign up for free here:   Let's connect

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