• Deep Vein Thrombosis, DVT, Saphenous Thrombophlebitis, Superficial Phlebitis, Thrombophlebitis
The term phlebitis refers to an inflammation of a vein, usually in the leg, frequently accompanied by blood clots that adhere to the wall of the vein. When the affected vein is close to the surface, the condition is called superficial phlebitis. This condition usually resolves on its own without further complications. However, when phlebitis occurs in a deep vein, a condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a clot could dislodge from the vein and lodge in the lungs. This is a life-threatening condition.
Symptoms of superficial phlebitis include pain, swelling, redness, and warmth around the affected vein. The vein feels hard to the touch because of the clotted blood.
Deep vein thrombosis is harder to diagnose. It can occur without any symptoms until the clot reaches the lungs. However, in about half of the cases, there are warning symptoms including swelling, pain, and warmth in the entire calf, ankle, foot, or thigh (depending on where the involved vein is located). Although these symptoms can also be caused by more benign conditions, deep vein thrombosis is such a life-threatening disorder that physician consultation is necessary.
Risk factors for any type of phlebitis include recent surgery or childbirth, varicose veins, inactivity, or sitting for long periods (such as on a long airplane ride). Prolonged placement of intravenous catheters can also cause phlebitis, possibly requiring antibiotic treatment.
Conventional treatments for superficial phlebitis include analgesics for pain, warm compresses, and compression bandages or stockings to increase blood flow. In more severe cases, anticoagulants or minor surgery may be required.
Deep vein thrombosis requires more aggressive treatment, including hospitalization, strong anticoagulants, and a variety of possible surgical procedures.
Proposed Natural Treatments for Phlebitis/DVT
There are no well-established natural treatments for phlebitis. There is some evidence, however, that certain natural treatments might help prevent DVTs.
Note : Because phlebitis is a potentially life-threatening disorder, you should seek a doctor's advice before attempting any natural treatments. The presence of DVTs constitutes a medical emergency and requires immediate medical care.
It is thought, though not proven, that the immobility endured during a long plane flight increases risk of potentially dangerous blood clots in the legs, DVTs. 6
Because of this, a large
Another substantial double-blind study (204 participants) found benefit with a product that contains OPCs combined with nattokinase.
For more information, including dosage and safety issues, see the full
Homocysteine is a substance that occurs naturally in the body. It has been suggested that when homocysteine levels are too high, risk of such cardiovascular diseases as heart attack, stroke, and DVT are increased. However, in a very large study, reduction of homocysteine through the use of
11. Glynn RJ, Ridker PM, Goldhaber SZ, et al. Effects of random allocation to vitamin E supplementation on the occurrence of venous thromboembolism. Report from the Women's Health Study. Circulation. 2007 Sep 10. [Epub ahead of print]
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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