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Virus vs You - SARS-CoV-2 and blood clots

Updated: Jan 10

When it comes to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, not only is it recommended to eat a healthy balanced diet to help support your immune system, but research is emerging that you should also ensure you're topping up with healthy fats to lower your risk of developing blood clots. Those of us who develop pneumonia due to COVID19 and are admitted to ICU appear to be at a higher risk of developing deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. This is due to the damage caused by the virus but also due to the ventilators, catheters, and the fact that you are lying on a bed for long periods of time - all of these increase your risk of developing blood clots. When these clots form in your deeper veins, such as those in your legs, this is known as deep vein thrombosis. If these clots become loose they can then travel up to your lungs to cause pulmonary embolism - this is when the blood supply to your lungs is compromised and can ultimately be fatal.

To lower your susceptibility to developing clots, you can ensure you consume at least 4.7g of omega-3 fatty acids per week - you can get this by eating walnuts or seeds such as chia seeds, hemp seeds or flaxseeds. Oily fish are also a fantastic source such as mackerel, salmon or sardines, or even supplements such as cod liver oil or krill oil. This has been shown to decrease risk by 25-50% for deep vein thrombosis and up to 60% for pulmonary embolism. Ensuring you're including enough omega 3 fatty acids in your diet is especially important if you have a Family history of blood clots or clotting disorders, if you are overweight, Smoke, have Cancer and or going through cancer therapy, are elderly, or have Medical conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), prenatal or recently post-natal, have Severe injuries in the thigh or hip area, if you've had Brain, joint or bone surgery, and are on Medications such as estrogen therapy and birth control pills.

We are still learning about this specific virus, so stay tuned for more videos as the research community tries to unravel these complexities! But for now, stay safe, sane and sanitised! Written by Dr Elisabeth Thubron - Head of Science & Research

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