It may be advisable for those with DVT or taking blood-thinning medications for DVT to avoid contact sports, foods rich in vitamin K, smoking, and having obesity.

People will need to avoid certain factors that may increase the risk of blood clots in the veins or interfere with blood thinners.

This article looks at what people will need to avoid with DVT.

It also discusses helpful tips and when to see a doctor.

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A 2022 systematic review notes that exercise is safe for those with DVT. Additionally, a 2023 study says exercise for acute DVT does not increase the risk of experiencing a pulmonary embolism and can help to improve a person’s symptoms.

However, the National Blood Clot Alliance advises people to avoid high-risk sports, such as contact sports, which may result in injury. This is because blood thinners can increase the risk of serious bleeding complications.

People should also wear protective safety gear during certain activities, such as a helmet when cycling.

What exercise can a person with DVT take part in?

Regular movement is important with DVT and an essential part of recovery. Exercise helps to improve circulation and lessens venous insufficiency symptoms.

Any moderate exercise, such as walking or swimming, may be beneficial. Aerobic exercise can also help to improve lung function if a person has had a pulmonary embolism.

Those with DVT who take warfarin — a type of blood thinner — may need to be cautious about their vitamin K intake.

The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) notes that vitamin K can interact with warfarin. Additionally, a sudden change in the amount of vitamin K a person consumes may cause serious side effects.

Suddenly increasing vitamin K intake alongside warfarin can cause blood clots, and a sudden decrease may cause serious bleeding.

The ODS states that people taking warfarin should consume roughly the same amounts of vitamin K each day from food or supplements.

Sources of vitamin K in foods include green leafy vegetables, such as:

  • kale
  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • lettuce

Other sources of vitamin K include:

  • vegetable oils
  • certain fruits, including blueberries and figs
  • meat
  • cheese
  • eggs

People will also need to limit their intake of certain drinks that may interfere with warfarin, including:

  • cranberry juice
  • grapefruit juice
  • alcohol

If people have any concerns about vitamin K consumption, they should speak with a healthcare professional. There are other types of blood thinners a person can take to treat DVT that does not require them to monitor their vitamin K levels.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends the following advice for recovery from and prevention of venous thromboembolism (VTE), which includes DVT and pulmonary embolism.

Lifestyle factors to avoid include:

  • Smoking: People will need to avoid smoking with DVT. Smoking increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other conditions. These can increase the risk of blood clots occurring in the veins.
  • Being too sedentary: Regular movement is important during recovery and to prevent a repeat DVT. People can speak with a healthcare professional about the right levels of physical activity.
  • Having overweight or obesity: Aiming for and maintaining a healthy weight is also important in managing DVT because having obesity is a risk factor for blood clots reoccurring.
  • Stress: Avoiding stress as much as possible is also an important factor in lowering the risk of blood clots. Stress can increase the risk of certain conditions, such as stroke or heart attack, which may cause VTE.
  • Bleeding risks: Small cuts or injuries may bleed more than normal with blood thinners. People can use a soft toothbrush, take care when cutting nails, and avoid going barefoot.

People with DVT should let a doctor know if they are taking any medications, as well as any herbs or supplements.

Certain medications can interact with warfarin and may increase the risk of negative side effects. These include:

  • other types of blood thinners
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • antiplatelet medications
  • antimicrobials
  • anti-arrhythmic drugs
  • fibrinolytics

People will need to speak with a doctor before using aspirin, which works as a blood thinner and may increase bleeding risk.

Hormone therapies can increase the risk of serious blood clots in people with a personal or family history of blood clots. During menopause, people with a history of blood clots will need to take blood thinners alongside hormonal therapy.

Birth control containing estrogen also increases the risk of blood clots. People can speak with a healthcare professional about safe birth control methods with DVT.

The following are frequently asked questions about DVT.

What worsens DVT?

According to the National Blood Clot Alliance, certain activities are not beneficial for DVT. For example, people should aim to avoid sitting for periods of 2 hours or more at a time. Getting up regularly to move and stretch can help.

If people are traveling, they can stop roughly every hour to walk for several minutes or walk about on a plane to stretch their legs. Wearing compression stockings when traveling can also help.

People will also need to avoid crossing their legs when sitting, as this can negatively affect circulation.

It is also important to avoid dehydration, so people should drink plenty of fluids, such as water, throughout the day.

What is the best thing to do with DVT?

Taking all medications as a doctor prescribes and attending any checkups are important with DVT, and may help prevent a repeat event.

People should also check for symptoms of DVT and report any signs of blood clots to a doctor straight away.

Healthy lifestyle choices are also important, including regular movement, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding smoking.

A person will need to contact a doctor if they experience any symptoms of DVT, including:

  • areas of swelling, pain, or tenderness
  • increased warmth in areas with swelling or pain
  • red or discolored skin
  • pulling or cramping sensation in the calf

People will require emergency medical attention if they have symptoms of pulmonary embolism, including:

  • shortness of breath
  • feeling faint
  • chest pains

If a person is experiencing any mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, due to health concerns, they can contact a doctor or therapist.

If people are visiting the dentist, they will need to let them know if they are taking blood thinners.

Certain medications, activities, and lifestyle factors may increase the risk of blood clots or bleeding complications with DVT and blood-thinning medications.

Taking medications as a doctor prescribes, getting regular movement, and making healthy lifestyle changes are all important steps in managing DVT.