Good-Looking and Good for Your Health, Too

(By Frank Franklin Ii -- Associated Press)
Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fashionable, indeed, but a potential lifesaver? Students at Parsons the New School for Design in New York had both in mind at their May 7 fashion show, where they presented designs for compression socks to help prevent deep-vein thrombosis, or blood clots in the leg.

DVT affects as many as 2 million people each year in the United States, said Melanie Bloom, a spokeswoman for the Coalition to Prevent DVT. In about 600,000 of these cases, the clot travels to the lung, an occurrence known as a pulmonary embolism that kills more than 300,000 people annually.

"The bitter pill to swallow for me was learning that it is preventable," said Bloom, who lost her husband, NBC journalist David Bloom, to a pulmonary embolism in 2003.

Just about anything that restricts blood flow to the legs can put you at risk: long periods of inactivity, dehydration and certain hormone therapies, for example. Preventing a clot can be as simple as pumping the legs to get the blood flowing. More-aggressive measures include taking blood thinners and wearing compression socks, which prevent the veins from swelling with blood.

The best design from the Parsons show, determined by a student vote, will become the coalition's icon.

-- Lindsay Minnema

© 2008 The Washington Post Company