Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

About DVT

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) refers to a blood clot that is embedded in one of the major veins in the legs or pelvis. The blood clot blocks blood circulation in a major vein, which circulates blood between the lower body and the heart. Deep Vein Thrombosis can cause pain, swelling, and in extremely severe cases can result in death. (Blood clots in superficial varicose veins of the legs are known as phlebitis and are much less serious.) In severe cases of DVT, the blood clot can break free and travel through the bloodstream to the lungs. In this life threatening condition the clot can block blood flow through the pulmonary arteries. This condition can lead to severe difficulty in breathing and depending on the severity of blockage, possibly death.

DVT Symptoms

DVT Symptoms can include the following:
  • Swelling Gradual onset of pain
  • Redness Warm to the touch
  • Worsening leg pain when bending the foot
  • Leg cramps, especially at night
  • Bluish or whitish discoloration of the skin
  • NOTE: Approximately 30-50% of those with DVT have no symptoms.

When to Seek Medical Care for DVT

Call your health care provider immediately if you suspect a blood clot. You should also call your health care provider if you are experiencing leg pain, swelling, and if you or someone you know has a history of Deep Vein Thrombosis and begins experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fainting, or is exhibiting any other concerning symptoms.

Deep Vein Thrombosis Prophylasix or Prevention

  • If you are obese, try to lose weight.
  • Keep legs elevated while sitting down or in bed.
  • Avoid periods of prolonged immobility while traveling.
  • Avoid high dose estrogen pills, unless deemed necessary by your health care provider.

Ask your doctor about special compression devices that can be placed on your legs. You may also be advised to wear special elastic graduated support hosiery and stockings that can help prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis.

Only a heath care professional can determine whether you have DVT. Make sure to provide a detailed description of your symptoms to your health care provider so they can determine an accurate diagnosis.

What is a Thrombosis

A Thrombosis is a blood clot that obstructs the flow of blow inside a major blood vessel. There are many specific types of Thromboses one of which is Deep Vein Thrombosis.

Deep Vein Thrombosis Treatment

Blood-thinning medications known as anticoagulants are used to treat DVT. Anticoagulants stabilize the clot and make it adhere to the vessel wall, which prevents the clot from traveling through the blood stream to the lungs. Anticoagulants do not make the clot go away, however, they will prevent further clotting and worsening of the condition. The body will usually break up the clot on its own. This gradual process can take several days or weeks.

Pain and DVT

For those that have chronic pain associated with DVT, a pain management program set up by your health care provider may help to alleviate some pain. Exercise is also recommended to help ease pain.

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