British Heart Foundation: Understanding blood clots
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Blood clots can prove both useful and detrimental. The gel-like clumps can spur on with the intention to stop bleeding. However, harmful clots that develop in your veins and arteries can hike your risk of heart attacks and strokes. Fortunately, a surprising drink could reduce your risk of this dangerous process.
Whether it’s an ice-cold glass of cola or a store-bought tin filled with an energy drink, we are all guilty of enjoying sugary and caffeinated beverages.
Worryingly, the drink of your choice could increase your risk of harmful blood clots.
For example, a study, published in the Journal of Surgical Research, found the risk of clotting from energy drinks can occur within one hour of intake.
Nutritionist Rory Batt from Marvin’s Den warned that fizzy drinks are the “worst culprits” for blood clotting, in a previous interview with Express.co.uk.
The good news is that there’s one surprising drink that is not only safe but it can also reduce your risk of the gel-like clumps – water.
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How does it work?
Professor Mark Whiteley, leading venous surgeon and Founder of The Whiteley Clinic, said: “Dehydration causes the blood to thicken and be more likely to clot. Hence drinking water is only useful.
“When you drink plenty of water, your blood becomes thinner, and it can travel more easily through your veins, therefore it is less likely to clot.”
There are three processes that can lay the groundwork for harmful clots:
- Changes in the blood (triggered by hormones, some drugs and other factors)
- Changes in the flow (lying around doing no exercise or sitting for long periods)
- Changes in the blood vessel wall (varicose veins).
The professor explained that dehydration belongs under “changes in blood” due to its ability to make your blood thick.
He added: “Water is the best and safest, as it is absorbed through the stomach and directly into the bloodstream.
“There is no sugar or other components that then interfere with the effect of dilution of the blood.”
How much to drink
According to the Eatwell Guide, everyone should drink six to eight cups or glasses of fluid a day.
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However, the expert shared that your urine could help you determine how much water you need.
Professor Whiteley said: “If your urine is clear, it means you are over hydrated. If it is deep yellow, you are dehydrated.
“You should aim for your urine to be straw-coloured.”
While water can be a simple way to reduce your risk of harmful clotting, exercise could also help.
“Keep moving. Blood doesn’t clot easily if flowing fast,” the expert added.
What are the symptoms of a blood clot?
According to the NHS, the tell-tale signs of the gel-like clumps can 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)
- Cough or coughing up blood.
Due to their life-threatening nature, blood clots need to be treated quickly. “Get advice from 111 now if you think you have a blood clot,” the health service urges.
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