British Heart Foundation: Understanding blood clots
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Diet plays a huge part in our health. Certain foods can make us more likely to gain weight or develop high cholesterol, for example. However, what we drink can have just as much of an impact.
According to nutritionist Rory Batt, from meal prep company Marvin’s Den, sugary drinks could be one of the culprits when it comes to blood clots due to their effect on cholesterol levels.
Blot clots are small clumps of blood that have formed into a gel-like substance.
Although they are necessary to help prevent excessive bleeding when you get a cut, those that don’t dissolve naturally can be dangerous.
And if they travel to organs such as the lungs or heart this is cause for serious concern.
Mr Batt explained how sugar can raise the risk of blood clots: “Sugary foods are also involved in multiple pathways that lead to atherosclerosis. Similar ones to those of fats.
“Sugar not only increases low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (‘bad’) but it also brings with it a lot of oxidative stress and inflammation, which causes low-density lipoprotein to form oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL, which can raise your risk of atherosclerosis) as well.
“As with the fats, the inflammation drives processes like platelet aggregation, which is how blood clots are formed.
“Platelet aggregation is one of the factors involved in atherosclerosis, and is what leads to obstruction and blood clots.”
To lower your chance of developing a blood clot he advised against drinking too many of the following drinks:
- Fizzy drinks
- Low-quality fruit juices (added sugar, no pulp)
- Energy drinks.
The Cleveland Clinic also states that sugar can raise levels of bad cholesterol.
It explains: “Diets high in sugar make your liver synthesise more “bad” LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.
“A sugary diet lowers your “good” HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.”
And the American Heart Association reported how a study found a link between cholesterol and venous thromboembolism (VTE), which occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein.
“LDL cholesterol – the so-called “bad” cholesterol – is known to narrow arteries, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes,” it says.
“It’s also now suspected of contributing to venous thromboembolism, new research suggests.”
Symptoms of a blood clot include:
- Throbbing or cramping pain, swelling, redness and warmth in a leg or arm
- Sudden breathlessness, sharp chest pain (may be worse when you breathe in) and a cough or coughing up blood.
There are two types of VTE, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE).
“Deep vein thrombosis is a clot in a deep vein, usually in the leg. DVT sometimes affects the arm or other veins,” the American Heart Association says.
“A pulmonary embolism occurs when a DVT clot breaks free from a vein wall, travels to the lungs and then blocks some or all of the blood supply.
“Blood clots originating in the thigh are more likely to break off and travel to the lungs than blood clots in the lower leg or other parts of the body.”
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