All you need to know about phlebitis healing
ALL ABOUT PHLEBITIS HEALING
Phlebitis is the soreness of a vein. Veins are blood vessels in your body that drive blood from organs and limbs back to your heart. If a blood clot is causing the inflammation, it’s called thrombophlebitis. When the blood clot is in a deep vein, it’s called deep vein thrombophlebitis.
Symptoms of phlebitis affect the arm or leg where the sore vein is situated. These symptoms include :
- Visible red “streaming” on your arm or leg
- Rope- or cord-like structure that you can feel through the skin
You may also notice pain in your calf or thigh if your phlebitis is caused by a DVT. The pain may be more noticeable when walking or flexing your foot.
Phlebitis is caused by injury or irritation to the lining of a blood vessel. In the case of superficial phlebitis, this may be due to :
- Placement of an IV catheter
- Administration of irritating medications into your veins
- A small clot
- An infection
In the case of DVT, the causes may include :
- Irritation or injury of a deep vein due to trauma such as surgery, a broken bone, serious injury, or previous DVT
- Slowed blood flow due to lack of motion, which may occur if you’re in bed recovering from surgery or traveling for a long period of time
- Blood that is more likely to clot than usual, which may be due to medications, cancer, connective tissue disorders, or inherited blood clotting conditions
Knowing if you have risk factors for developing a DVT is key to protecting yourself and proactively developing a plan with your doctor. Risk factors for DVT typically include :
- A history of DVT
- Prolonged periods of inactivity, which may follow surgery
- Sitting for long periods of time, such as during travel
- Certain cancer and cancer treatments
- Being overweight
- Misusing alcohol
- Being over the age of 60
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Treatment for superficial phlebitis may include removal of an IV catheter, warm compresses, or antibiotics if an infection is suspected.
To treat DVT, you may need to take anticoagulants, which make it harder for your blood to clot.
If the DVT is very extensive and causing significant problems with blood return in the limb, you may be a candidate for a procedure called a thrombectomy. In this procedure, a surgeon inserts a wire and catheter into the affected vein and either remove the clot, dissolves it with medications that break up the clot, such as tissue plasminogen activators, or performs a combination of both.
If you’re at risk for developing a DVT, there are a number of ways you can take action to prevent a blood clot from forming. Some key prevention strategies include :
- Discussing your risk factors with your doctor, especially prior to a surgical procedure
- Getting up and walking as soon as possible after surgery
- Wearing compression socks
- Stretching your legs and drinking plenty of water when traveling
- Taking medications as instructed by your doctor, which may include the blood thinner
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