About two million Americans a year are affected by deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT is a blood clot that forms in one ore more of the deep veins in the body, typically in the legs or thighs.
DVT can cause leg pain or swelling, but it may not cause any symptoms. DVT can be the result of certain medical conditions that affect blood clotting or an accident. It can be treated with medications or minimally-invasive procedures.
What is deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is when a blood clot forms in one or more of the deep veins in the body. DVT typically occurs in the lower legs or the thighs. It is a serious condition because the blood clots it creates can break loose. When they break loose, they can travel through the bloodstream and lodge in the lungs, blocking blood flow
Although DVT may not always present symptoms, when they are apparent they include:
- Swelling of the leg
- Pain in the leg
- Tenderness in the leg
- Increased warmth in the area of the leg that’s swollen or in pain
- Red or discolored skin on the leg
Some factors can increase your risk of developing DVT such as:
- Blood-clotting disorders
- Prolonged bed rest
- Injury or surgery
- Pregnancy and the first six weeks after giving birth
- Being overweight
- Being over 60
- Sitting for long periods of time
How can deep vein thrombosis (DVT) be treated?
The treatment for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is aimed at preventing the blood clot from getting bigger, preventing the blood clot from breaking loose and reducing the chances that another blood clot forms.
A vascular specialist will likely begin by discussing blood thinners as a treatment plan. While blood thinners don’t break up existing blood clots, they can prevent blood clots from getting bigger and decrease the risk of another blood clot developing.
In a life-threatening situation, a clot buster may be used. These drugs, called tissue plasminogen activators, are administered through an IV.
Another option that your vascular specialist may discuss with you is compression stockings. Compression stockings help prevent swelling and reduce the changes that blood will clot and pool.
If you can’t take blood thinners or if blood clots form despite blood thinners, one treatment options may be filters. A filter will be inserted inside a large vein called a vena cava, which is located in the abdomen. This prevents clots that have broken loose from lodging in the lungs, but it does not prevent new blood clots from forming.
How can I prevent deep vein thrombosis( DVT)?
There are steps you can take to help prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT). You can help prevent DVT by taking preventive measures such as:
- Take medications as prescribed by your doctor
- Avoiding sitting still
- Quit smoking
- Lose weight
- Get regular exercise
- During long trips, drink plenty of fluids and walk around every hour
If you think that you are suffering from deep vein thrombosis or would like to learn more about treatment or prevention options for deep vein thrombosis, call 407.648.4323 or click here to schedule your appointment request with a vascular specialist.