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About Deep vein thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis - also known as DVT - occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein located deep inside the body. DVT is frequently found in the thigh and lower legs, but may also occur in other parts of the body. Blood clots formed in deep veins may become loose and travel through the bloodstream, eventually becoming stuck in the lungs. This is called pulmonary embolism - a potentially fatal complication of blood clots.
The most common causes of DVT are venous injury from surgery, and inflammation of blood vessels due to illness or injury.
- Age: Adults over the age of 60 are at an increased risk of blood clots. Long periods of sitting and lying down: Muscle inactivity during sitting can keep blood from circulating throughout the body, resulting in blood clots. Individuals who sit for long periods of time at their job, or individuals on bed rest may have an increased risk of blood clots in the legs.
- Obesity: Excess weight can increase pressure on the veins in the legs and pelvis. This can cause blood to clot in the lower body.
- Smoking: Smoking affects blood circulation, which may increase your risk of blood clots.
- Pregnancy: The additional weight carried by the upper body during pregnancy can put excess pressure on veins in the pelvis and legs. This can lead to blood clotting.
- Medications: Medications such as oral contraceptives (birth control pills) and hormone replacement drugs can affect your blood’s ability to clot. This may increase your risk of developing DVT.
- Heart Failure: If your heart is unable to function properly, it may be difficult to circulate blood throughout the body. This can lead to an increased risk of blood clotting.
- Pain or swelling in the affected leg (DVT rarely occurs in both legs)
- Blue or reddish skin over the affected area
- A feeling of warmth over the affected area
In some cases, DVT may produce no symptoms at all. However, if you experience symptoms such as a sudden loss of breath, chest pain, dizziness, or an irregular heartbeat, call 9-1-1 immediately. These are common signs of a pulmonary embolism, a potentially fatal blood clot in the lungs.
Below is a list of common treatment options for DVT. During your appointment, discuss these with your doctor to determine the right treatment plan for you.