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A blood clot in the coronary arteries can cause a heart attack. But a blood clot in a large vein somewhere else in the body, called venous thromboembolism VTE, can also end in a medical emergency. Fortunately, the risk factors for heart attacks and “vein attacks” are similar, and therefore VTE is preventable. And if you do develop a clot, treatment with anticoagulant medications can protect you from developing another. Venous thromboembolism VTE means “blood clot in the veins. VTE includes two kinds of problems. When a clot forms in the large veins of the arms, legs, or pelvis, it’s called deep vein thrombosis DVT. Pulmonary embolism PE refers to a blockage in the lungs. PE can be fatal, or in some cases can damage the right side of the heart. A report by the Surgeon General estimated that at least , Americans develop a deep-vein clot each year, and , to , die as a result. More than half of all VTEs occur after age Fortunately, a heart-healthy lifestyle reduces risk for the condition, says Dr.
Before I started writing about my blood journey, I wrote about my weight-loss journey. Before I was diagnosed with a DVT and PE, I was diagnosed with insulin resistance as a pre-cursor to diabetes, which motivated me to make changes in my life related to nutrition and fitness. I started running half marathons and eating better — and I eventually reversed the damage being done to my body and came off insulin-sensitivity drugs. During my recovery, I gained back all of the forty pounds I had previously worked so hard to lose — and then some. There was nothing I could do — or wanted to do — to change it at the time. My singular focus was on recovery from my blood clot including managing my pain, decreased lung function, leg swelling, a fluctuating INR, multiple doctor visits, physical setbacks, emotional trauma and the numerous lifestyle changes that come with all of the above. Still, in the back of my mind, I knew I had to get the weight off. Eating — and the choices I was making about food — were wrecking havoc on my emotional health. As a rule, it is important to discuss any dietary changes you want to make with your physician before you make those changes.