By Troy L. Jackson
The month of March has seen a monumental event. President Barack Obama gave the nation a health care reform millions Americans needed. As I scanned through the details I noticed my legs starting to tingle and getting numb.
Many people have had these same awkward feelings in their legs, which is usually due to inactivity.
When I found out March was DVT awareness month, I did some googling of the term “DVT.” Deep Vein Thrombosis is a condition in which blood clots form in the veins and arteries of the body; what’s more alarming are the risk factors that accompany this illness.
DVT, as it’s commonly called in the medical field, is the leading cause of preventable hospital death in the United States. Preventable hospital deaths are sudden deaths that occur following surgery or immobilization for an extended period of time.
“It is shocking that blood clots receive so little attention from medical professionals when the consequences of one happening unnoticed can be so grave,” explains Dr. Joseph Devine, author of EzineArticles.com, a website which gives comprehensive health advice and medical malpractice information.
There are 300,000 DVT fatalities annually, a rate of 25,000 deaths per month, more than Aids and cancer fatalities combined. They are caused mostly by sedentary lifestyles. People at risk of DVT sit at the office at work, or in a chair at school for long periods of time. Obesity is also a factor. Twenty-seven percent of North Dakotans are obese, as ar 24 percent of Minnesotans. Leg and knee surgeries can be catalysts.
No wonder it took Congress so long to come up with a Health Care plan, with increasing numbers of “computer-office type” jobs. DVT usually happens to the elderly, but make no mistake, this can occur at any age and to people of all social classes.
According to the website http://www.DTVawareness.com (which also has a cool video you can view), two million Americans are victims every year. Okay, okay, I’ve scared you enough with the bad news—now for the good news. There are ways to protect yourself from DVT, especially if you’re the type who sits in the office the majority of the time or travels in airplanes or buses often. You can buy intermittent pneumatic compression leg sleeves, which help keep your blood flow moving and prevent clots. Another way is to just simply move and stretch your legs often, like every 30 minutes. Cigarettes and alcohol dramatically increase the risk.
If you do feel pain on either side of your legs, or anything similar to swelling, numbness or tenderness in the leg, then a body scan should be your next step. Most hospitals have quality X-rays and CT scans that can discover whether you might be a DVT victim or not. But with the positives X-rays and CT Scans provide for patients, comes the exposure of harmful radiation. X-rays can be expensive; the cost ranges from $70 to $250 and CT Scans can range from $1,500 to $8,400 per visit, depending on whether you are insured or uninsured.
That is why this Health Care Bill is so essential. We may actually be able to afford new technology as it is introduced in our own region.
The new Siemens SOMATOM Definition Flash CT Scanner is an advanced CT scanner that can change the way patients are examined. It can detect the slightest disease in our muscular, skeletal and nervous systems in about 4.3 seconds. Most importantly, it reduces the amount of radiation in a single scan to 25 percent.
There are three such CT scanners in the State of Minnesota. “People in the region can expect the golden standard of care,” said Dr. Dan Coverga, a Duluth radiologist, “with the added convenience of getting in and out of the scanner faster than ever, and with the lowest possible radiation doses without sacrificing observations of a patient’s body.”
So forget all the medical mumbo-jumbo being thrown at your face. New technology plus health care reform equals a better chance of you staying alive. When something doesn’t feel normal to you, go see a doctor. And don’t be sedentary—then maybe you won’t have to see one. Peace.
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