Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Symptoms, Treatments, and Prevention
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a relatively common, but serious condition affecting the veins. The word “thrombosis” is the medical term for a blood clot. Deep vein thrombosis, then, occurs when a blood clot develops in a vein deep within the body.
DVT often goes undiagnosed, but as many as 900,000 people could develop a deep vein thrombosis each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Complications can occur, such as a blood clot that travels to the lung, also known as a pulmonary embolism. Fortunately, vein treatment can address blood clots to reduce the risk of complications.
Certain factors can increase the risk of DVT. Inheriting a blood clot disorder, prolonged bed rest, injury or surgery, pregnancy, the use of birth control pills, smoking and some medical conditions are risk factors. A personal or family history of certain vein problems, such as deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, can increase the risk of DVT.
DVT Symptoms, Treatments and Prevention
Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis
Symptoms of deep vein thrombosis include swelling in the affected leg. Swelling in both legs can happen, but it is rare.DVT can cause pain in the affected leg. The pain can often feel like cramping, tenderness or soreness. The discomfort of deep vein thrombosis typically starts in the calf. Sudden swelling may occur in the affected leg. A feeling of warmth may also occur.
Severe cases of deep vein thrombosis can cause redness or discolored skin on the affected leg. The discoloration is the result of the breakdown of red blood cells as they pass near the blood clot.
Deep Vein Thrombosis Vein Treatment
Vein treatment for DVT includes drugs known as anticoagulants, which work as blood thinners to decrease the blood’s ability to clot. While anticoagulants do not break up existing clots, they can prevent clots from getting bigger. Drugs known as clot busters or thrombolytics can actually break up clots. Doctors can insert special filters into the abdomen into the large vena cava vein to prevent clots from breaking off and moving into the lungs. Vein doctors may recommend the use of compression stockings to prevent blood clots in the lower legs.
Preventing Deep Vein Thrombosis
Even people at higher risk of DVT can take steps to prevent deep vein thrombosis. To prevent DVT:
- Avoid sitting or lying down for extended periods
- Do not cross your legs when you have to sit for a long time
- When traveling a long distance in a car, stop to walk around every hour or so
- When traveling by plane, stand or walk frequently, or exercise your lower legs by flexing your calf muscles while seated
- Lose weight, quit smoking
- Exercise regularly to reduce the risk of blood clots, particularly if you travel frequently
Anyone experiencing symptoms of DVT should consult with a doctor right away, especially if he or she has risk factors for vein problems. Vein treatment can safely and effectively dissolve clots, resolve underlying problems and reduce the risk of complications, particularly when treatment starts early.