What Are The Warning Signs of Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Do Not "Shrug Off" Deep Vein Thrombosis
What is DVT?
Also commonly referred to as deep vein thrombosis, DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in one or more of the deep veins in a patient's body. Note that this usually happens in the legs, which is typically characterized by leg pain and/or swelling. It can also occur with no other symptoms, however and it can be potentially fatal if you're not careful.
Complications of DVT
As stated, the biggest potential complication associated with DVT is absolutely a pulmonary embolism. This is a potentially life-threatening complication, which is why it's important to get immediate medical attention if you have any of the signs or symptoms associated with a pulmonary embolism.
Another major risk factor is called postphlebitic syndrome, which is damage to your veins from the blood clot. Note that this also reduces blood flow in the impacted area, usually causing leg pain and swelling.
Treatment complications may also occur, which typically happen as a result of blood thinners that are used to treat DVT. This is why it's important to have regular blood tests, especially if you're taking any of these types of medications.
DVT Risk Factors
There are a wide range of different risk factors associated with DVT, chief among them being age. Being above the age of 60 significantly increases one's risk of DVT, though note that it can also occur at any age.
Other risk factors include sitting for long periods of time - particularly when you're flying or driving while taking a trip. Any period of prolonged bed rest (like a hospital stay) will also increase your risk of developing DVT, as will any type of injury or surgery that affects the legs.
Finally, being overweight or obese, smoking, being on birth control and cancer all increase a person's risk of developing DVT.
Why DVT Leads to Pulmonary Embolisms
One of the reasons why deep vein thrombosis is so serious is because any blood clots that form in your veins could potentially break loose, thus flowing further through your blood stream and getting stuck in an area like your lungs. At this point, it would block blood flow to the point where a pulmonary embolism occurs. When a pulmonary embolism and DVT both occur at the same time, this is called VTE, or venous thromboembolism.
Diagnosing DVT & PE
There are a wide range of different signs and symptoms that are used to diagnose both DVT and pulmonary embolisms, but more often than not they involve looking out for swelling in the impacted leg. Note that it is actually quite rare for there to be swelling in both legs. Likewise, most patients experience a pain that usually begins in the calf on the affected leg that can feel almost like a cramping or soreness.
Finally, many patients report red or otherwise discolored skin on the affected leg.
Meet Dr. Ives in Anchorage, Alaska
In the end, it's beyond clear that DVT itself is no laughing matter - but thankfully, the help that you need is not only readily available, but it's also a lot closer than you might think. If you suffer from deep vein thrombosis and would like assistance in getting this condition under control, or if you just have any additional questions that you'd like to discuss with someone in a bit more detail, please don't delay - click here to meet Dr. Ives in Anchorage, AK and view our varicose vein treatment options right away.