Deep Vein Thrombosis – how to recognise it and how to prevent it

Deep Vein Thrombosis – how to recognise it and how to prevent it

It’s not a pretty thing to talk about, but having an awareness of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), and how to prevent it, can potentially save your life.

DVT occurs when a clot, forms in the large vein of the leg. The concern around this occurs if the clot breaks free, potentially traveling to the heart or lung (ie. Pulmonary embolism), proving to be fatal.

So why is this concern for truckies?

According to the Australian Government Department of Health, DVT is most common along people who are immobilised – even for short periods. As a truck driver – local or line haul, you need to be aware of the attributing factors, symptoms and prevention.

The likelihood of DVT increases amongst those who are overweight, smoke, use oral contraceptive, have cancer or experienced a lower limb injury or recent surgery.

There is a common misconception that air-travellers are most susceptible to DVT, but The Australian Government Department of Health notes of the 400 deaths that occur annually across Australia, only a very small number are associated with air travel.

Here are some simple ways to avoid becoming a statistic, as recommended by The Australian Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis:

  • Drink plenty of fluids (devoid of caffeine or alcohol)
  • Wear loose, non-restrictive clothing – avoid anything too tight for long periods of time
  • Mobilise and move the angles and calves at any opportunity. This doesn’t even need to involve getting out of the cab (e.g. wiggle toes, ankle circles, leg rubs, heel lifts and knee lifts).

So what are the symptoms and what should you do if you suspect you have DVT?
Livestrong.com offer insights, as shared below:

  • Swelling of the leg may appear around the site of the clot, as it can cause fluid build-up in the tissue. Swelling may also appear around the ankle and foot.
  • It is common for the site to be painful. Suffered often report stabbing, shooting or throbbing sensations.
  • Skin colour of the affected leg may change. Veins may appear darker, skin may be warm and flushed.
  • If you experience any combination of the abovementioned symptoms, seek medical help as soon as possible. If these symptoms are accompanied by shortness of breath, chest pains or dizziness/faintness – call 000.


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