Williston, Vermont - March 5, 2009
Pierre Heroux is considered relatively young at age 42, but he has been forced to limit his movements as if he were much older.
"It seems like the more you walk, the more you're standing, your legs become very painful and you more or less have to sit down and take a break," said Heroux of South Burlington.
Heroux was hospitalized in 2006 for several days. It was right after his release that he started feeling severe pain in both of his legs.
"I had never experienced anything more painful in my life before," said Heroux.Heroux -- like nearly 600,000 other Americans -- was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. That's where a blood clot forms in the large veins of the leg. Folks usually notice pain, swelling and discoloration.
"They start in the calf veins and they grow upwards and if they grow to a level above the knee within the veins there's a chance the clot can break free and when the pieces break free they travel up normal circulation and end up in the lungs," said Dr. Mary Cushman, of Fletcher Allen Health Care.
The clots can move quickly and could be deadly if they do make it to the lungs.
Doctors say obesity, hospitalization or surgery can cause those clots. DVT mostly affects the older population.
"So its very common and the problem is most people have never heard of it, they don't even know what it is," Dr. Cushman said.
Fletcher Allen Health Care and the University of Vermont are now studying the effects massage therapy has on these clots. The goal is to get the fluid out of the leg to help reduce the swelling. Participants also wear compression socks everyday to help keep swelling down.
"Anecdotally, I've had patients who have had great responses to the treatment," said Dr. Cushman.
Pierre Heroux is one of those patients. He believes the combination of the massages and the compression socks are helping his legs.
"It's something that I take very seriously in controlling making sure there's no progression or anything like that," Heroux said.
Beth Parent - WCAX News
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