Like with all surgeries, weight loss surgery comes with some degree of risks both during and after the procedure. Blood clots are one of the more serious risks.
Let's talk about what blood clots are and how sticking to a walking routine post-op can help prevent them.
What's a blood clot? Exactly what they sound like: clots of blood that form in the body.
Your blood is supposed to flow continuously and smoothly throughout your entire body. When it doesn't, the chances of developing blood clots increases.
Blood clots can also occur in the body when it gets injured. For example, if you fall down and cut your knee, the blood surrounding the cut will start to clot to prevent a lot of blood from "spilling out" of your knee!
This is kind of what happens during your weight loss surgery procedure. Your body responds to your surgery as an injury and may start to form clots as a response to your incisions. While this is a semi-healthy response, it's important that you keep your blood flowing to prevent large and dangerous clots from forming.
Blood clots can become dangerous by blocking the natural blood flow to the rest of your body.
Healthy circulation is KEY to preventing clotting.
Wanna know what the best way to increase your blood circulation and PREVENT clots?
You guessed it...MOVING!
Walking around and moving your body post-op is THE BEST way to keep your blood flowing and prevent clots from forming.
In fact, LACK of movement actually CAUSES blood clots - surgery or not! When you don't move, your blood becomes stagnant, making the perfect environment for clotting to occur.
FACT: Regular exercise reduces a woman's risk of developing blood clots by 39%! And a man's risk by 22%!
Your risk of developing blood clots tends to be highest in the early days post-op WLS. This risk typically lasts a few days to a few weeks after your operation. As you get further and further out from surgery, your risk of clots decreases dramatically.
So you won't have to worry about blood clots forever! But they are very important to be mindful of in the beginning stages.
If untreated, blood clots can cause serious health problems such as a heart attack or a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot that travels to your lungs.) Ignoring blood clots can be life-threatening. Always check-in with your surgeon if you are feeling any unusual symptoms and to talk about ways you're being proactive against clots, like walking!
Now, if you're worried that the surgery is going to cause blood clots and you're second thinking having the procedure, know this: Staying overweight puts you at an EVEN HIGHER risk of developing clots.
Obese people are 2.5 times more likely to develop a DVT (deep vein thrombosis - a very dangerous blood clot that starts in the legs & can travel through the body) and 2.2 times more likely to develop a pulmonary embolism (the clot in your lungs!)
So, don't let the risk of blood clots talk you out of surgery. The surgery may be of the BEST things for you!
I urge you to talk with your surgeon about any fears you may have around clotting. Ask him/her, "What are the best ways to prevent my body from developing blood clots post-op?" The want you to have THE best outcome so ask questions and keep an open conversation.
If you're unsure of where to start with walking, here's my 4 Week Walking Schedule for your first month post-op that I recommend to all bariatric patients I work with.
Questions? Ask away!
All information presented and written within this blog are intended for informational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with your physician or other health-care professional.
You are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health. Each individuals needs and restrictions are unique to the individual. The reader assumes full responsibility for consulting a qualified health professional regarding health conditions or concerns, and before starting a new exercise or fitness program. The writers and publishers of this document are not responsible for adverse reactions, effects, or consequences resulting from the use of any suggestions or recommendations herein or hereafter.