Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is a concern in elderly adults that aren’t very active. Anytime a blood clot forms in the veins, it’s a concern for family members, doctors and the elderly. However, in a post-surgical situation, seniors are more immobilized than ever. The risk of developing DVT is at its highest right after surgery. Family caregivers need to know all about DVT and how to prevent it from developing in their aging loved ones. Adopting good health habits and enlisting the help of a home care assistant can minimize the risk of an elderly person in developing deep vein thrombosis.
Blood Clots and DVT.
Blood is a vital part of the body, delivering oxygen, germ-fighting cells, and nutrients. One of the most interesting aspects of blood is its ability to clot or coagulate. Clotting is necessary so that when a vein or an artery is injured, excessive bleeding can often be stopped. In that event, people want their blood to clot. However, when the blood is deep within the leg veins, clots are not welcome. When a blood clot forms in a deep vein, it’s known as deep vein thrombosis.
The Dangers of DVT.
The leg veins work very hard to return blood from the feet and legs back to the heart. They work against gravity and are farthest away from the heart. It’s common for elderly people to develop sluggish circulation to the legs and feet, and slow blood can lead to a blood clot. When there’s a blood clot in the vein, it can slow the flow of blood even more. In extremely serious cases, the blood clot can break free and travel to the heart or lungs, resulting in a pulmonary embolism.
Why are Post-Surgery Seniors More at Risk?
Elderly adults are more likely to develop deep vein thrombosis, due to age and immobility, but a post-surgical setting increases the risk even more. DVT is more likely to form when blood flow is sluggish and people are especially susceptible when they are immobilized. Seniors that have just gone through surgery or a medical situation like a stroke that leaves them bedridden or in a wheelchair are suddenly immobile for days at a time. This, plus many other age and lifestyle conditions, are ideal for blood clots to form deep in the veins.
Tips on Preventing DVT in Seniors After Surgery.
There are several things that family caregivers and home care assistants can do to prevent deep vein thrombosis from developing in elderly adults. The biggest factor is moving the lower limbs around. If the senior can get up and walk a little, they should do so with help at least every few hours to ensure that the blood is circulating. Home care assistants can also help bedridden seniors with leg exercises and stretches to keep the circulation up. It’s important for elderly adults to take any medicine that the doctor has prescribed, so a home care assistant can help remind them about that, too.
Any elderly adult that has recently gone through surgery should be incorporating good habits to prevent deep vein thrombosis. Family members and home care assistants can be invaluable in helping them do what it takes to avoid the negative health issues associated with DVT.
If you or an aging loved one needs home care in Rancho Cordova, CA, remember Senior Home Care Services. Call us at (916) 514-7006 for more information.