A pulmonary embolism is a blockage in the main artery of the lungs or the main branches of that artery. Typically, these are cause by blood clots, but on rare occasion they may be the result of fat, air or some compounds found in some medications. In the majority of cases, these lung blood clots are caused from a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) that has occurred in the lower extremities (most commonly the deep veins of the legs or pelvis) and traveled upwards towards the lungs. Prompt pulmonary embolism treatment is essential because the condition is often a medical emergency.
Before treatment can begin however, a pulmonary embolism diagnosis must be made. Depending on which pulmonary embolism symptoms are presenting and the health history of the affected, it is often not necessary for imaging and blood work to be done. A scale known as the Wells score is used in order to determine the likelihood of an embolism that can later be confirmed by various methods. This scale takes into consideration symptoms like coughing up blood and rapid heart rate, and combines them with health history factors like immobility or present or past cancers in order to assign points that reveal the possibility of an embolism. Diagnostic imaging techniques such as a CT scan may be utilized to determine if an embolism exists but evidence is not abundant, or to identify a saddle pulmonary embolism or other conditions of the lung that may be existing alongside the embolism.
Once a determination has been made, pulmonary embolism treatment begins immediately, with the most common treatment method being the use of anticoagulant medications. These drugs are used to thin the blood and thus break up the embolism. Sometimes, these treatments may begin even before a firm diagnosis has been made or confirmed with further testing in order not to delay necessary and often life saving treatment. Typically, once this emergency treatment has ended, anticoagulant therapy is continued in order to prevent the recurrence of DVT and subsequent risk of embolisms. In rare instances, pulmonary embolism treatment may include the use of surgical procedures. A catheter embolectomy or surgical embolectomy may be used in these cases. Additionally, filters known as vena cava filters may be utilized in order to prevent further embolisms if other DVTs are suspected.
Because the main method of pulmonary embolism treatment are medications used to thin the blood, some people think that natural treatment may be appropriate as there are many things that are found in nature that are very capable of thinning the blood out. The spice turmeric, for instance, has been used medicinally for thousands of years for inflammation and pain, and is a mainstay of both ancient Auyervedic medicine and Chinese medicine as well. The spice is also considered a natural blood thinner and thought to be effective against reducing the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Ginger and garlic, some of the most popular herbal remedies for a wide range of health ailments, are also thought to be effective blood thinners and boast other healing properties as well, such as boosting immunity and reducing inflammation. However, while these herbs may seem like an effective method of pulmonary embolism treatment due to their ability to thin the blood, they are not appropriate for the condition because it is a medical emergency, and prolonging medical treatment in favor of alternative healing methods can lead to serious complications and even sudden death.
However, that does not mean that herbs and spices don’t have their place with regards blood clotting and embolisms. In fact, they can play an important role in pulmonary embolism prevention. With regular exercise, a healthy diet and the incorporation of herbs and spices that thin the blood, the overall risk of embolism may be reduced. This can be even more beneficial in people who have risk factors for developing embolisms, such as smokers or those who are inactive for long periods of time.
However, it is important to know that there are some risks involved with using natural blood thinners for prevention as well. This is especially true in people who are using blood thinners either following medical pulmonary embolism treatment or for other medical reasons. It is very dangerous to use herbs and spices that thin the blood medicinally if medication for the same purpose is already being taken. The blood can be thinned too much, which can lead to serious complications.
Medical intervention is necessary for the proper and safe treatment of a pulmonary embolism. Delaying treatment can lead to serious health hazards. Paying attention to serious symptoms and getting urgent medical care can greatly contribute to faster and more successful recovery. However, prevention is very important as well, and utilizing the benefits of nature combined with a healthy lifestyle can make the health hazards less likely to appear in the first place.