Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, describes a blood clot that forms in a vein located deep within the muscles, most commonly in the legs. Left untreated, these clots can break off and enter the bloodstream, causing dangerous complications such as heart attack and stroke. The good news is that many of the risk factors for this condition are preventable, meaning that you can take steps to improve your vein health and avoid developing deep vein thrombosis.
Symptoms You May Experience with DVT
Those with this condition often experience swelling, pain, and itching in the affected leg. Warmth and redness in the area of the affected vein are also common. Sometimes, though, there are no noticeable symptoms.
Who’s at Risk for Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Many health and lifestyle factors raise your risk for developing blood clots in the deep veins. The more risk factors you have, the higher your risk. However, some of these risk factors can be eliminated with healthy lifestyle changes. DVT is more common among people who:
– Have a genetic blood-clotting disorder
– Are on prolonged bed rest or are sitting for many hours
– Have recently been injured or had surgery
– Are pregnant
– Take birth control pills or undergo hormone replacement therapy
– Have heart failure or cancer
– Have inflammatory bowel disease
– Have a family history of blood clots
– Are older than age 60
Complications of Deep Vein Thrombosis
Additional health problems that can arise when DVT is untreated include:
– Pulmonary embolism, in which the blood clot breaks free and travels to the lungs
– Thrombophlebitis, or swelling of the veins
– Postphlebitic syndrome, in which damage to the veins caused by the clot leads to symptoms such as edema, leg pain, sores, and skin discoloration. This can occur years after the original incident.
When to Get Help
If you have concerns about your vein health or experiencing any of the symptoms described, visit us at Advanced Vein and Laser Center. It’s important to get immediate medical attention if you experience symptoms of pulmonary embolism, which include sudden shortness of breath, chest pain that worsens with breathing or coughing, dizziness, fainting, rapid pulse, or coughing up blood. A pulmonary embolism can block a blood vessel in the lungs. This limits the amount of oxygen in the blood, leading to organ damage and heart failure.
Deep Vein Thrombosis Treatment Options
Some blood clots can be diagnosed with a physical exam alone. Your doctor may recommend tests such as ultrasound, blood work, venography, or a CT or MRI scan to confirm the diagnosis. Treatments focus on preventing the clot from getting bigger or breaking loose. Common modalities include:
-Vein filters that prevent the clot from traveling to the lungs
-Compression stockings, which prevent swelling, keep blood from pooling, and limit the development of Postphlebitic Syndrome (PTS)
-Lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and smoking cessation
Restore Health To Your Veins
If you’re experiencing the symptoms of this condition, have a number of risk factors that concern you, or any type of vein health concerns, request a consultation with the vein specialists at Advanced Vein and Laser Center. Our vein doctors at AVLC of York and Lancaster can help restore health to your veins.