How to Treat Pulmonary embolism

An Overview

About half of all people who have pulmonary embolism (PE) display virtually no symptoms, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute reports. In fact, many aren’t aware at all of having the condition. The number of people affected by PE and deep vein thrombosis is between 300,000-600,000 people each year in the United States alone. Pulmonary embolism is life-threatening and very serious regardless of which symptoms are present. One of the scariest things about pulmonary embolism is that it can cause immediate reactions without any warning signs. When someone with PE does notice abnormal changes in their breathing, chest pains, rapid heart rate or other symptoms, they might assume it’s due to another less serious health problem. For example, such as a respiratory infection, acid reflux or passing illness. Pulmonary embolism (sometimes referred to as PE) is a serious condition. It’s characterized by having one or more blood clot in a lung artery. This is usually caused by a clot suddenly traveling to the lungs from a patient’s leg.

A blood clot in the leg is called deep vein thrombosis (or DVT). DVT sometimes results in the clot breaking away from its original location. Then the clot travels through the bloodstream to another part of the body, such as the brain or a lung. Once the clot blocks normal blood flow to one of the lungs, permanent damage due to reduced oxygen, or even death, can result. When left untreated, about 30 percent of patients who have PE will die due to tissue damage, death of healthy cells and complications.

Types of embolism

There are several types of embolism:
• Pulmonary embolism: An embolus, usually formed in the leg (sometimes known as a deep vein thrombosis or DVT), lodges in one of the arteries of the lungs. Many emboli are broken down by the body and go away by themselves; however, serious pulmonary embolism may cause death.
• Brain embolism: If a blood clot travels to the brain, this causes an ischemic stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack).
• Retinal embolism: Small clots that wouldn’t block a major artery can block the smaller blood vessels feeding the retina at the back of the eye. The result is usually sudden blindness in one eye.
• Septic embolism: This occurs when particles created by infection in the body reach the bloodstream and block blood vessels.
• Amniotic embolism: Not all emboli are made of clotted blood. In pregnancy, the womb is filled with amniotic fluid, which protects the fetus. Amniotic fluid can embolize and reach the mother’s lungs, causing pulmonary amniotic embolism.

Home remedies to treat at home

1. Turmeric:

The active compound present in turmeric known as curcumin works on the blood platelets to prevent clots. Its medicinal properties can also help in curing the pain caused due to the formation of clots. The bio-active properties of turmeric are said to be attributed to various components isolated from its rhizome. Turmeric acts as an anti-thrombotic or anti-coagulant agent, which involves modulation of numerous factors that aid in the process of clot formation.

2. Cayenne:

Cayenne peppers are natural blood thinners and have an effective impact on your body due to the presence of salicylates in them. The compound capsaicin present in cayenne helps promote smooth blood circulation and helps prevent blood clots. The compound helps clear away artery-narrowing lipid deposits, and might help dilate arteries and blood vessels to clear away clots and the pain that comes with them.

3. Improve Your Diet:

Some people wonder if consuming foods with vitamin K (known to help with blood clotting) will increase PE risk. This doesn’t seem to be the case. In fact, foods like leafy greens that naturally provide vitamin K are very healthy options. They have many anti-inflammatory properties. Prioritize eating nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods, especially: leafy vegetables, non-starchy veggies like cruciferous veggies, avocado, sweet potatoes, olive oil, berries and bananas. These are high in crucial electrolytes, antioxidants and other nutrients. However, keep in mind that vitamin K can interact with blood-thinning drugs.

4. Stay Active:

Getting regular exercise and avoiding periods of prolonged inactivity, bed rest or immobilization can help lower your risk for PE. The best types of exercise for keeping your blood pressure at a healthy level, protecting your lungs and maintaining a strong heart and veins are aerobic exercises (like running, HIIT workouts or cycling) combined with resistance/strength-training. It’s highly important to maintain a regular exercise program into older age, as well as to make a strong point to move throughout the day more.

5. Mobility After Surgery:

People who are at risk of developing blood clots may be given anticoagulant, or blood-thinning, medications before and after any surgery. This decreases the risk of blood clots forming during recovery, when you may be lying in bed for long periods of time. If you’re having surgery, our doctors and nurses encourage you to get up and walk and move around as soon as it’s safe to do so.

6. Weight Management:

Being obese puts additional pressure on the veins in the legs, which can contribute to poor blood flow and the development of blood clots. If you’re overweight, losing even a few pounds can lower blood pressure and increase blood flow. NYU Langone doctors can direct you to our Weight Management Program to help guide you to a healthier weight.

7. Flax Seeds and Chia Seeds:

These tiny seeds are full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids that help in preventing blood clots and improve blood circulation. Flaxseeds are said to make platelets, the blood cells involved in clotting, less sticky. In fact, these seeds may reduce the risk of hardening of the arteries. Chia seeds are known to be natural blood thinners. They come packed with essential nutrients, especially omega-3 fatty acids that are good for the heart.

8. Daily Physical Activity:

If you regularly remain inactive at a desk for many hours a day, NYU Langone doctors advise you to stand frequently and stretch, take occasional walking breaks, and flex and move your legs and feet while seated. These small steps increase and promote healthy blood flow.

9. Travel Precautions:

Long car and plane rides may force you to sit in one position, but our doctors recommend that you find ways to move as much as possible. Avoid crossing your legs for long periods of time. If you’re on a plane, lift your knees and rotate your ankles to get blood moving while sitting, and stand up and walk when possible. If you’re in a car, take regular breaks to stretch and move around.

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