A DVT is a potentially life threatening blood clot (thrombus) that when left untreated can travel to a person's heart and lungs. Meaning that this is one situation you want to get checked out as soon as you can.
A blood clot itself is so dangerous in this context because if a piece of the blood clot breaks off and travel through the blood stream, it could become lodged in the heart or travel to your lungs- thus forming what is called a pulmonary embolism.
How to check yourself at home
If you're interested in giving yourself a self evaluation for DVT at home, you can use what is referred to as Homan's sign test.
Step 1: Extend the knee in the leg you want to check.
Step 2: Once your knee is in the position, you'll want someone to help you raise your leg to slightly.
Step 3: Have them squeeze your calf with one hand while flexing your foot with the other.
If you experience any type of deep calf pain or tenderness during this process, you may have DVT and you should absolutely consult with a medical professional moving forward.
Symptoms of a DVT to look out for
Generally speaking, here are some of the most important warning signs of a blood clot or DVT in your lower leg.
Unexplained leg pain.
Swelling around the veins.
A feeling of warmth.
A tenderness to the touch.
Redness of the leg or arm.
Some blood clots present with no symptoms at all. The only way to diagnose the condition with 100% certainty is by way of a blood test, which will then be followed up with via ultrasound or some other types of imaging tests.
Can DVT be treated at home?
You cannot treat DVT at home, it is a serious medical condition that requires proper medical care and supervision to first address the underlying issue of any potential blood clots.
In some cases a small filter needs to be placed in the inferior vena cava (IVC). The IVC is a large vein that runs through the middle of the body. Placing a filter in this vein can prevent clots from entering the lungs.
In many others a thrombolytic may be given. These are powerful medications used to dissolve blood clots.
Reduce your risk of a DVT
Some risk factors can not avoided. Things like a family history of blood clots and heart attacks are inherently outside of your control.
However, people who are overweight or suffer from obesity are at even greater risk for developing a DVT and suffering from life threatening complications.
One of the leading was to increase your risk factors is sitting for long periods of time. Like being overweight, sitting can decrease your blood flow and constrict your blood vessels.
While there is no guaranteed way of preventing a blood clot from forming we do know that getting moving with regular exercise can reduce the risk.
If needed your healthcare provider may prescribe oral anticoagulants, or blood thinners. These include medications such as Heparin and Warfarin.
Your doctor may also suggest compression stockings. Compression stockings are a common treatment for the prevention of blood clots and reduction in the symptoms of venous insufficiency.
Compression stockings may also be prescribed for those who have already experienced a DVT. People who have had a DVT can suffer from post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS). Those people often find relief with compression therapy.
Get checked for a DVT at CVR
DVT can certainly be a difficult condition to live with - but it's important for you to know that this is one road you do not have to travel down alone.
If you have any additional questions about DVT, or if you'd just like to speak to someone about your own situation in a bit more detail find a Center for Vein Restoration near you.