Be Aware of Deep Vein Thrombosis

What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?

A thrombus is the medical term for a blood clot and when one develops in one or more of the deep veins in your body, you get deep vein thrombosis. DVT most often occurs in the leg and can cause leg pain or swelling, but it also can occur with no symptoms — one of the reasons it is so dangerous. 

How it Happens

Deep vein thrombosis can develop if you have certain medical conditions that affect how your blood clots. It can also happen if you don’t move for a long time, such as after surgery or an accident, or when you’re confined to bed.

Deep vein thrombosis can be very serious and life-threatening. Blood clots in your veins can break loose, travel through your bloodstream and lodge in your lungs, blocking blood flow (a pulmonary embolism).

Symptoms

DVT signs and symptoms can include:

  • Swelling in the affected leg. There’s very rarely swelling in both legs;
  • Pain in your leg, often starting in the calf and can feel like cramping or soreness;
  • Red or discolored skin on the leg;
  • A feeling of warmth in the leg;
  • Varicose veins.

Just because you have one of these symptoms doesn’t mean you have DVT, nor do you have to have any symptoms to have DVT.

Pulmonary embolism signs and symptoms:

  • Sudden shortness of breath;
  • Chest pain or discomfort that worsens when you take a deep breath or cough;
  • Feeling lightheaded, dizzy, or fainting;
  • Rapid pulse;
  • Coughing up blood.

When to See Your Doctor

If you develop signs or symptoms of deep vein thrombosis, call your doctor. If you develop signs or symptoms of a pulmonary embolism, seek immediate medical attention. Varicose veins also increase your risk of developing DVTs and it is advised that you see a specialist because of the enhanced risk.

Prevention of DVT

There are many risk factors for DVT, including prolonged bed rest, pregnancy, being obese, smoking, and more. In order to prevent DVT, you should avoid sitting still for long periods (especially after surgery), quit smoking, lose weight if you are obese or overweight, and exercise regularly.

To learn about vein treatments available, visit one of our specialists today, contact Summit Skin & Vein Care at (816) 533-4398!

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