The greatest threat to your life

With increased air travel, what can be done to decrease the risk of a blood clot?

Ask anyone, ‘What’s the greatest medical risk of dying?’ and they’ll answer ‘Heart attack.’ The correct answer is a blood clot (Thrombosis) that occurs in the heart, brain or legs. Now, a shocking report in the health publication, ‘LifeExtension’, shows what can happen to our legs when we’re flying at 35,000 feet. So with an aging population, and increased air travel, what can be done to decrease the risk of a blood clot?

Thrombosis can happen anytime and anywhere. But the greatest risk is a long air flight. This is when venous blood pools in the lower leg due to inactivity. But the extent of this threat has surprised researchers. Using ultrasound imaging they detected venous thrombosis in the lower legs in 5 to 7 percent of passengers, whose flights lasted seven to eight hours. But without symptoms, passengers were totally unaware of the presence of the thrombosis, or that it could kill them!

Later, another study was done on a similar group of passengers. But they had been advised to use two natural remedies, nattokinase and pcynogenol, prior to and during the flight. In this case, ultrasound studies showed no evidence of thrombosis, and less swelling of the lower legs.

Nattokinase is an enzyme made from the Japanese food, natto, prepared from fermented soybeans. It helps to thin the blood and prevent blood clots. Pcynogenol is extracted from the bark of a pine tree and helps to improve circulation.

Patients who develop a thrombosis in the lower leg complain of pain in the calf, swelling, increased warmth, and possibly redness of the skin. If the clot travels to the lungs, or if there’s coronary thrombosis, there will be chest pain, shortness of breath and a rapid heart rate.

So why do over one million North Americans develop thrombosis and pulmonary embolism every year? In 25 percent of cases the first symptom is death!

Researchers say that inflammation plays a major role and that blood tests can help measure this risk. For instance, high homocysteine in the blood, obtained primarily from meat, can signal potential trouble. So can high C -reactive protein, a substance produced by the liver and immune cells.

So can patients decrease the risk of thrombosis during a flight and at other times? High homocysteine can be decreased by taking vitamin B 6 and B 12.

But increased C-reactive protein requires a change in lifestyle. The first priority is to lose weight, if you’ve put on extra pounds. It also means following a daily exercise routine, tossing away cigarettes if you’re still smoking, purchasing fewer packaged foods loaded with sugar and salt, and consuming more fruits and vegetables.

Researchers at the University of California and several other studies show that those taking just 1,000 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C daily lowers C-reactive protein by 25 percent. It’s not surprising this decreases the risk of thrombosis as studies also show that 2,000 mg of C with breakfast and at dinner decreases the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries).

Clinical studies also prove a safe natural remedy, Neo40, is essential for keeping endothelium (the inner most lining of blood vessels) healthy. Endothelium produces nitric oxide (NO) which dilates arteries and lowers blood pressure. It also keeps tiny blood platelets from sticking together to form a thrombus. A daily tablet of Neo40 dissolved slowly in the mouth, produces NO, keeps the endothelium functioning well, blood flowing, and decreases the risk of thrombosis. (Neo40, Medi-C Plus, various brands of high dose vitamin C powder, and Assured Naturals Pcynogenol are all available in Health Food Stores).

Nattokinase has been used for 1000 years in Japan. Several authorities I talked to consider it a safer natural remedy than other blood thinners. It can be obtained at Amazon. Nattokinase and Assured Pcynogenol should not be used by those using Aspirin and other blood thinners as this combination could cause serious bleeding.

Since preventing a thrombosis can at times be a complicated matter, always ask your own doctor for advice. This is always the safest course since family doctors are aware of other medication that you are taking.

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