A couple of weeks ago Serena Williams was diagnosed with a pulmonary
embolism and you wonder how could an elite athlete get a embolism…
An embolism Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blockage of the main artery
of the lung or one of its branches by a substance that has travelled
from elsewhere in the body through the bloodstream (embolism).
Symptoms include difficulty
breathing, chest pain on inspiration, and palpitations. Clinical signs
include low blood oxygen saturation and cyanosis, rapid breathing, and
a rapid heart rate. Severe cases of PE can lead to collapse,
abnormally low blood pressure, and sudden death.
A pulmonary embolism occurs after a clot forms in one of the large
veins in the legs or pelvis. The largest clots are fatal in 30-60% of
the cases. The main cause of embolisms is prolonged inactivity such
are during air travel or recuperation from surgery such as the case
for Williams. Immobility decreases the amount of blood that circulates
thought the veins, increasing the risk for clots.
Hear a some things you can do to prevent embolisms:
Wear compression stockings or socks on long flights or car trips
longer than two hours if you are overweight or at risk for clots. The
compression helps exert light pressure on the veins, which helps
crculate blood back to the heart. Compression socks/stocking should be
available at your local pharmacies – Walgreens or CVS. Other
preventatives include: walking at three times per our and/or stretch
your calf muscles every 20 minutes to keep the blood pumping.