Dr. Carolyn Chambers Clark, Award-Winning Author and Wellness Nurse Practitioner

Phlebitis

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What is phlebitis?

Phlebitis is an inflammation in the vein. When it is associated with the formation of a blood clot, it's called thrombophlebitis.

 

Superficial phlebitis.

 

When thrombophlebitis is near the surface of your body, it's called superficial. It appears as a red line under the skin, local swelling, pain and tenderness to the touch. This happens to a large numer of people and is caused by or associated with infection, lack of exercise, intravenous drug use, trauma, obesity, smoking, standing for long periods of time, and pregnancy.

 

Deep Phlebitis.

 

When thrombophlebitis affects the muscles or veins in the muscles, it's much more serious because it's associated with the veins that transport 90 percent of the blood flow back to the heart. Symptoms of deep thrombophlebitis or DVP are pain, warmth swelling, and or bluish discoloration of the skin on the affected leg. Fever and chills are also common and the pain gets worse when standing or walking, and better when the leg is elevated. This can become an emergency if the clot breaks off and travels to the heart, lung or brain. The cause of this condition is not known for sure, but it is associated with prolonged bed rest, surgery, recent childbirth, using birth control pills.

 

What you can do to prevent phlebitis

 

*exercise daily: walks, dancing, swimming, biking, yoga and other types of exercise are good

 

*avoid birth control pills

 

*walk as soon as your doctor or nurse okays it if you're in the hospital

 

*stop smoking

 

*if you have to do a lot of standing up in your work, rise up on your heels or toes of tap your feet, slide your feet back and forth and to the sides, or do whatever you can to keep moving while working; ditto for sitting

 

*lie on a slant board with your feet higher than your head for 15 minutes a day

 

*avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes

 

*even when confined to bed, move your legs as much as possible

 

*take flaxseed oil or grind flaxseeds and put them into your salads, soups, etc. every day to minimize blood clot formation and keep veins soft and pliable.

 

*eat lots of garlic or put garlic powder in your salads, soups, vegetables, etc., or take garlic caps to improve your circulation and thin your blood

 

*eat 7-10 fresh fruits and/or vegetables a day

 

*avoid meat, dairy products, fried or salty foods, partially hydrogenated oils

 

*if medication is needed, see if your health care practitioner will prescribe a low dose of aspirin instead of an anticoagulant; several studies have shown aspirin as effective as any anticoagulant and has fewer side effects

 

Consider supplements and herbs for DVT

 

*take magnesium and calcium tabs; they work to thin your blood and reduce abnormal clotting

 

*take vitamin E (start with 400 mg IU daily and increase slowly; consult with your health care practitioner for how to do this) thins the blood and fends off clots by reducing platelet stickiness

 

*take a tablespoon of lecithin (soy product)or 1200mg capsules 3x/day to increase circulation (eggs also contain lecithin and vitamin E, to protect against cholestol, so they can help)

 

*take vitamin C (aids circulation and reduces clotting tendencies) + bioflavonoids (promote healing and prevent bruising); talk to your health care practitioner about doses

 

*talk to your health care practitioner about using one or more of the following herbs: butcher's broom (circulation), cayenne (thins blood and improves circulation), hawthorn leaf or berry (protect the heart), ginger (aids circulation and dilates blood vessels), ginkgo (improves circulation)

 

This article is for information only. For treatment of phlebitis consult your health care practitioner.

 

Copyright 2006www.carolynchambersclark.com

 

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