PROOF. Blood Clots. Am I at risk? DVT Deep Vein Thrombosis. PE Pulmonary Embolism

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1 We gratefully acknowledge the help of Sarah Mills, Lead Nurse for VTE Prevention at the Barts and the London NHS Trust and Sue Bacon, Anticoagulation Nurse Specialist at North Bristol NHS Trust, in to the production of this patient leaflet. LEO Pharma provided editorial input and financial support for production and distribution of this patient leaflet. Full information is available from: LEO Pharma, Longwick Road, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire HP27 9RR Registered Trademark Clots Am I at risk? Deep Vein Thrombosis research based, people driven 1030/10601 Date of preparation: May 2011 Provided as a service to medicine by LEO Pharma PE Pulmonary Embolism

2 Welcome Useful terms This leaflet has been produced to help explain how a blood clot can develop and become a Deep Vein Thrombosis () or a Pulmonary Embolism (PE). It will also discuss the signs and symptoms you may experience and provide some helpful tips on after-care and self-help. If you have any more questions after reading this leaflet please speak to your GP or practice nurse. Index Useful terms What are blood clots? Who is at risk of a? What are the main signs and symptoms of PE and? How is a blood clot treated? How can I avoid a blood clot developing again? After-care and self-help Anticoagulant The technical term for a medicine which lengthens the time it takes for blood to clot. Although commonly known as a blood thinner an anticoagulant doesn t actually thin the blood. Clot The blood clots naturally when you are injured, but sometimes this takes place in the blood vessels of the leg, forming a plug which can interrupt the normal of blood in an artery or vein. There are two types of blood clot - a thrombus and an embolus. Embolus An embolus is a blood clot that breaks away from the main clot and moves in the bloodstream. Thrombus A blood clot that does not move. Pulmonary Embolism A blood clot which has broken off from a clot in the legs and has travelled to the lungs. This type of clot can cause chest pain and difficulty in breathing. Vein A vein is a blood vessel that transports blood from various parts of the body to the heart. 9 Useful links 1

3 What are blood clots? Who is at risk of a? normally s easily though your veins and does not clot, however if a vein becomes damaged then a blood clot will from as part of the natural repair process of your body to seal wounds and prevent bleeding. This clotting of the blood can be excessive and may cause a (Deep Vein Thrombosis) to develop in your leg which could lead to you developing PE (Pulmonary Embolism) which can be fatal in some cases. A blood clot can also develop if your blood slows down or stops. Formation of a blood clot Normal venous function: The veins contain valves that prevents the blood from ing backwards. Clot formation: When a vein is damaged, a blood clot forms which blocks normal blood in the vein. You are most at risk if: You have had a blood clot in the past You are over 60 years of age You have cancer You are immobile You are pregnant or on hormone tablets (the pill) You have chronic breathing problems. The section of a blood clot that breaks away is called an embolus. A blood clot consists of a collection of different types of blood cells bound together by strands of fibrin forming a mesh. A blood clot that forms in the vein is called a thrombus. 2 3

4 What are the main signs and symptoms of and PE? The signs and symptoms of can be mild, moderate or severe and may include: The signs and symptoms of PE can be mild, moderate or severe and may include: Swelling in part or all of the leg F Shortness of breath that is abnormal for you Aching in the legs Painful to touch/ O Sharp chest pains on breathing stand or walk If you develop any of the above signs or symptoms you must go to your Accident & Emergency Service immediately. R O Leg feels hot You may not have all these symptoms and some may be worse than others PE Deep Vein Thrombosis symptoms Pulmonary Embolism PE Deep Vein Thrombosis Pulmonary Embolism P clot or thrombus causing swelling, pain and discomfort. 4 The blood clot (embolus) travels into the lungs and blocks the blood vessel. 5

5 How is a blood clot treated? If you have been diagnosed with a blood clot in the leg or lung you will be treated with medication called anticoagulants. There are different types of anticoagulants but the most common are low molecular weight heparins and warfarin which can help the body naturally dissolve existing clots. These anticoagulants can help stop pieces of the existing clot breaking off and travelling to another part of the body. They can also help prevent new blood clots from forming. Your doctor will decide how long and how much medication you will need. How can I help avoid a blood clot developing again? If you have had a or PE, it is important to look after your legs. There are lots of ways you can help yourself to prevent it happening again. Keep Mobile Get up and move around as often as you can. On long journeys remember to do foot and ankle exercises Drink Water Drink about a glass of water (or equivalent) each hour of the day Sitting Avoid sitting with your legs crossed and wear loose fitting clothes Drinks Drink alcohol, coffee and tea in moderation as these can dehydrate you Talk to your doctor Let any nurse or doctor know if you are more at risk especially when you are very unwell or are going in to hospital If you develop tenderness, pain and/or swelling in your legs following a long journey, get medical advice. 6 If you develop chest pain and/or shortness of breath get help immediately. 7

6 After-care and self-help If you have had a blood clot, it is important to look after yourself. Below you will find some advice that you may find useful. Feet up When sitting or sleeping, your legs should be supported and raised higher then your hips Move, avoid standing Keep moving if you cannot sit and avoid standing for long periods See your GP If you injure or cut yourself, while still taking your anticoagulant seek advice from your GP or nurse Exercise Take plenty of gentle exercise, for example, walking, swimming or cycling Useful links Coalition to Prevent VTE Patient UK Lifeblood The Thrombosis Charity Anticoagulation Europe - registered charity NHS Direct Department Health Moisten Here Sex Male Age group Female < Where do you live? South West South East East Anglia East Midlands West Midlands Wales North West North East Yorkshire Scotland Northern Ireland Had you heard of blood clots before you picked up this leaflet? Yes No What made you read the poster and pick-up this leaflet? You have or have previously had a blood clot You are concerned about the risks of blood clots A family member or friend has had a blood clot You have heard about blood clots in the media (TV, Magazines) Other Moisten Here Clot Questionnaire Please complete the following questionnaire to help us evaluate and develop this leaflet. Using a scale of 0 10, how well did you understand blood clots? A) before reading the poster B) after reading the poster C) before reading the leaflet D) after reading the leaflet How easy did you find the information to understand? E) in the poster Not at all easy Very easy F) in the leaflet Not at all easy Very easy How useful did you find G) the poster Not at all useful Very useful H) the leaflet Not at all useful Very useful Would you recommend this leaflet to a family member or friend? Yes No Thank you for your time completing this form. Please tear off, moisten gum, fold over to secure and send it back to us. 1030/10601 Date of preparation: May Moisten Here

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