According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, venous thromboembolism (VTE) or blood clots affects as many as 900,000 Americans annually. Moreover, around 100,000 people die from this disease each year, which makes it the leading cause of death in the US after cancer. Because of these alarming statistics, various campaigns about the risk of blood clots, such as the “Stop the Clot, Spread the Word” project, are being initiated by health experts and advocates to raise public awareness. It aims to inform people that anyone is susceptible to blood clots if they have an unhealthy lifestyle.
There are various causes of VTE. One of them is an abnormality in the blood that makes an individual more likely to clot due to genetic causes, cancer, or frequent smoking. Another factor is when blood doesn’t flow properly as a side effect of diseases and disorders of the heart or blood vessels, and lastly, obesity and being physically inactive.
How Can Weight Cause Blood Clots?
An article on the causes of blood clots revealed that people who are overweight or obese are twice as likely to develop blood clots than people of normal weight. This is because obesity reduces the effectiveness of fibrinolysis, which is responsible for breaking down clots in the body and causes chronic inflammation of the blood vessels. Chronic inflammation happens more frequently among overweight individuals because they have lower levels of nitric oxide in their system that can protect the blood vessel’s lining.
Weight gain also makes the blood thicker. The thicker the blood, the harder it will be for the blood to flow through the veins. This makes an obese individual at more risk for clotting. Moreover, belly fat causes compression of veins, which restricts the blood flow through deep veins, particularly below the waistline area. With this, it’s apparent that reducing excess weight and fat can reduce one’s risk of having blood clots.
However, simply losing weight is insufficient. Individuals must follow a healthy and balanced diet to ensure that they’re receiving the necessary nourishment they need in adequate amounts. Some food that can help you control inflammation are omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and mackerel and green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards. By losing weight properly, you’re not only practicing healthy eating habits but also making your heart stronger.
Three Tips To Lose Weight Healthily
Drink More Water
Apart from maintaining your weight because you’re not consuming sugary drinks, drinking water can help prevent blood clots. When you’re properly hydrated, your blood tends to be thinner, which makes it easier for your blood to circulate in your body. As previously mentioned, thicker blood is dangerous since it doesn’t flow smoothly in your veins and increases your risk of developing blood clots. Therefore, you should consume a daily average of 91 ounces of water for women and an average of 125 oz for men. You can ensure that you’re drinking enough water every day by carrying a water bottle with you and choosing water instead of sugary drinks.
Sometimes there will be days where you feel like not exercising or dieting for the day because you’re uninspired. However, if you keep waiting to find your motivation for weight loss, you may never start. This is why behavioral psychologist Allison Grupski, PhD, says it’s better to start dieting rather than wait to become motivated because doing so will motivate you along the way. If you miss a day of dieting, it will end up ruining your momentum, which can motivate you to keep working towards your goals. If you stay consistent with your diet, you’ll be able to maintain your weight at a healthy level and eventually reduce your risk of forming blood clots.
Exercising has a lot of physical benefits. Aside from allowing you to lose weight, exercising can help improve blood circulation and reduce blood clot formation. A study on the association between physical activity and VTE revealed that regular exercise is significantly associated with a lower risk of VTE, regardless of your body mass index. Your exercise routine doesn’t have to be intense body workouts. It can be simply taking a walk or cycling around the neighborhood. As long as you’re active and moving your body, you’re reducing your risk of having blood clots and other cardiovascular diseases.