Exercise might help after blood clot
Dear Dr. Roach: I am a 62-year-old male in generally good health. I have a clot in the popliteal vein in my right knee, and have been taking warfarin and getting periodic blood tests. Typically, the numbers are where my primary care physician wants them. It seems to be taking a long time (eight months) to clear the clot, and I wonder if activities such as walking, bike riding, stair climbing or elevating the knee would help or hurt. – R.N.
Answer: After a blood clot in the veins of the leg, the blood vessels will slowly “recanalize,” creating a path for the blood through the vein. The blood also will flow around the obstruction through collateral blood vessels. However, the blood vessel remains abnormal to a greater or lesser extent, and is at higher risk for another clot. The venous system has more resistance to flow, so swelling after a blood clot is common. Some physicians are uncomfortable recommending exercise after a clot, but studies have shown that exercise, begun one month after a blood clot, does not worsen swelling or other symptoms. The evidence suggests exercise won’t hurt and might help.
The booklet on stroke explains why blood clots are deservedly feared by all. Readers can obtain a copy by writing: Dr. Roach – No. 902, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery.
Dear Dr. Roach: Where can I donate unopened medical equipment and supplies? I hate to discard them, but we no longer have need of them. – D.D.
Answer: There probably are organizations in your local community that coordinate the tremendous need for medical supplies for people with no or inadequate insurance and the 6 million tons of surplus medical equipment discarded by U.S. hospitals alone. Goodwill is one such organization that is in many communities. Other nonprofit organizations, such as Project C.U.R.E. and MedShare, help to bridge this gap. You can find more information about them on the Internet.