Factor V Leiden Thrombophilia

Today I learnt about Factor V Leiden thrombophilia, because I found out my father has it. He suffered a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE) a couple of years after I had my first.  Many people are asymptomatic carriers for Factor V, like Typhoid Mary but as it’s hereditary – Factor V is not contagious.

From the wikipedia page:

  • ~5% of North Americans have Factor V
  • ~30% of people who have a DVT or PE have Factor V
  • Women with Factor V have a substantially increased risk of clotting while pregnant or on estrogen-containing birth control pills (including hormone replacement)

I’ve got a call into my hematologist because I was told that I did not have any of the known hereditary things that they tested for.  That was ~10 years ago, but I’m am anxious to hear if something was missed – maybe someone forgot to run the test?  Whatever the reason, it’d be a comfort to know if I have Factor V.  Without any knowledge, all I can do is treat the symptoms.  Which can be too late.

About That INR Level…

My father beat me for “highest INR level” – his was 5.3 at one point.  I think mine was 4.1?  At first glance it’s funny, but there’s a serious risk of “spontaneous” bleeding.  He learnt what I’ve always said in previous posts about the vitamin K content of various foods: A “low” rating depends on the amount.  The vitamin K content adds up (it’s cumulative) in proportion to the amount of that food you eat.  He loves ginger apparently.  I do too, but I don’t like constant INR testing…

Musing on Medical Alerts

We also discussed means of communicating health issues in the event that we aren’t able to communicate them to strangers.  There’s no standardization for things like medical alert bracelets, which would automatically be removed by hospital staff because of constriction/compression risk.  That’s assuming the bracelet/etc survives whatever happened to require that.  I’d looked into tattoos, and settled on temporary tattoos.  Nothing is perfect – my temp tattoo would list information in English, and could be destroyed (even partially).  But on the upper chest, two at the clavicle (either side of the neck) would be visible when clothing is removed.  You can buy custom temp tattoos online, in bulk…

Skin From Human Cadavers Helps Wounds Heal Better

Human skin from cadavers that has had its cells removed can help treat wounds, researchers say.

This new treatment could prove especially helpful for chronic skin wounds, which are a growing threat to public health, scientists added. According to the National Institutes of Health, treating such wounds costs the United States more than $25 billion annually.

Source: Human Cadavers Provide New Skin for Chronic Wounds

The process to make it work sounds similar to the news about “growing” lungs.  But cadaver parts have been used for years – cartilage, tendons…

This news is particularly good for anyone who has had a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).  Postthrombotic syndrome (PTS) is a problem that can develop in nearly half of all patients who experience a DVT in the leg.  Leg ulcers are one symptom of PTS… I do not recommend image searching for “leg ulcer”, or “venous skin ulcer”.

It’s also good news for burn victims – some of which are children. 😦

Fashion: Compression Socks and Hose Are No Longer for Grandma

Until recently, compression tights were sold mostly at pharmacies as well as retailers catering to older men and women. The tights and socks are snug-fitting hosiery made from tightly woven materials like cotton and nylon. They are meant to help increase circulation in the legs and minimize the swelling that can result from prolonged sedentariness.

Long a medical necessity for some pregnant women and others who are at risk for deep-vein thrombosis or blood clots, the tights are now beginning to come into vogue among stylish women who sit on uncomfortably small airplane seats during long-haul travel.

Source: Compression Socks and Hose Are No Longer for Grandma

The article talks about how compression socks have come into vogue after the rest of the Mad Men fashion.  Similarly, compression socks are popular in athletics now too.  The article focuses on the variety available now, but not the details – there’s no talk about grade, just price.  Which can be important to those of us who want both medical grade and style.

I recently started wearing compression socks at work.  I work at a desk, and with my history – am higher risk than most.  I got the strongest compression I could without a medical prescription.  I’m not conscious of benefits like easing muscle pain and swelling, but there’s a little piece of mind that I’ve probably made a good choice.  I do notice the warmth, likely due to more coverage.  Though I know I should, I don’t like to stop every hour to stretch the legs when driving for long periods – compression stuff would alleviate some of the guilt.

I was thinking of wearing compression socks/tights rather than leg warmers or tights when cycling.  I’ve heard from lots about problems with leg warmers falling down – either not elastic enough, poor sizing, or the material broke down.  There appears to be little to no value in the “activity” recovery socks you can find in athletic/running stores beyond staying in place.  But being on the cusp of medical grade compression might not be the best idea for exercise either.  But the compression stuff I’ve seen seems to be thin material, which can affect how snug a shoe fits in addition to concerns about warmth.  I’ll definitely be layering socks.

Reverse the Harm of Sitting: 5 minute Walk

Medical researchers have been steadily building evidence that prolonged sitting is awful for your health.  And that’s before getting to Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and/or Pulmonary Embolism (PE) sufferers.

Sitting for long periods of time, like many people do daily at their jobs, is associated with risk factors such as higher cholesterol levels and greater waist circumference that can lead to cardiovascular and metabolic disease. When people sit, slack muscles do not contract to effectively pump blood to the heart. Blood can pool in the legs and affect the endothelial function of arteries, or the ability of blood vessels to expand from increased blood flow.

…The researchers were able to demonstrate that during a three-hour period, the flow-mediated dilation, or the expansion of the arteries as a result of increased blood flow, of the main artery in the legs was impaired by as much as 50 percent after just one hour. The study participants who walked for five minutes for each hour of sitting saw their arterial function stay the same — it did not drop throughout the three-hour period. Thosar says it is likely that the increase in muscle activity and blood flow accounts for this.


It’s so crazy, it might just work…

This also lends credence to why DVTs happen on long distance travel, discounting what I never believed: the air mixture in planes was responsible.  Since my original diagnosis, I’ve been told to take breaks and walk when driving or flying long distances (basically over an hour) to prevent future problems…