Every year, thousands of people in the UK develop a blood clot in a vein. It's known as venous thromboembolism (VTE) and is a serious, potentially fatal, medical condition.
Specialist nurses at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust have been raising awareness and educating visitors, patients and staff on the steps they can take to help avoid developing this life threatening condition.
“Although serious, most blood clots can be completely avoided, however, many people have little or no understanding about the causes, the effects and how they can be prevented, said Sarah Curtis, Anti-Coagulation Practitioner.
“Anyone can get a blood clot, but you're more at risk if you can’t move around much or if you’re unwell. The key is to be aware. If you are at risk, taking some simple preventative steps can really help.
“Moving around as often as you can, avoiding sitting with your legs crossed, wearing loose fitting clothes and staying well hydrated can all help, which means drinking tea, coffee and alcohol in moderation,” she advised.
However, if you do develop a VTE the team are there to advise, treat and support you.
Sarah continued: “Patients with a suspected blood clot are initially seen in the Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) clinic. Diagnosis is made by ultrasound scan alongside a blood test. If a VTE is detected patients may be prescribed an anticoagulant such as warfarin. Patients taking warfarin need to be monitored regularly and at the Royal Berkshire we run a special anticoagulation clinic to ensure they and their use of the drug is properly monitored.”
The team also provide information about treatment for patients through a postal and phone service and operate a helpline.