Deep Vein Thrombosis

What Is Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can occur if a thrombus — or blood clot — develops in a person’s deep veins, usually in their legs. Blood clots in the legs can form if someone does not move for long periods — like during traveling or bed rest. These clots do not show noticeable symptoms initially but can cause complications if left untreated.

DVT can become serious when blood clots break loose, getting stuck in the lungs and blocking blood flow, causing a pulmonary embolism. 

Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep Vein Thrombosis

What Causes DVT?

We now know that a blood clot can cause DVT, but what can cause a blood clot? Anything that stops blood from flowing correctly can form a blood clot. This can include damage to a vein from surgery or inflammation from an infection or injury.

The following are risk factors that can make an individual more susceptible to developing DVT:

  • Lack of movement: When someone does not move their legs for a long time, the calf muscles cannot contract, restricting blood flow.
  • Age: Being older can increase the risk of DVT. However, DVT can happen at any age.
  • Pregnancy: Pregnant ladies can develop DVT due to the increased pressure in the veins in their pelvis and legs. Blood clots can form during pregnancy and up to six weeks after the baby is born.
  • Heart failure: If the heart and lungs are not working well — like with heart failure — DVT or a pulmonary embolism is possible.
  • Obesity: Being overweight can put more pressure on the veins in the legs and pelvis.
  • Medications: Taking certain medications — specifically, birth control or hormone replacement therapy — can increase the risk of blood clotting in the veins.
  • Smoking: Consistent smoking can affect the blood flow in an individual, causing blood clots.
  • Family history: If someone in your family has experienced DVT or any of the conditions above, you may be at risk.
  • Genetics: Certain DNA changes or inherited disorders can cause the blood to clot easily or not at all.

 

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DVT Symptoms

While DVT can happen without noticeable symptoms, some common DVT symptoms can include:

  • Swelling in the legs
  • Leg pain, soreness or cramping in the calf
  • Skin color changes in the legs
  • Warm sensation in the affected leg

If you begin developing pulmonary embolism symptoms, contact your doctor immediately. The warning signs of a pulmonary embolism include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort, worsening with a deep breath or cough
  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Rapid pulse
  • Feelings of lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting
  • Coughing up blood
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep Vein Thrombosis

Treatment Options for DVT

The goal of treatment for DVT is to stop the blood clot from growing, prevent the clot from traveling to the lungs, reduce the chance of another clot developing and minimize the risk of other complications. Most often, treatment for DVT is nonsurgical, using anticoagulants, compression stockings, serial ultrasounds or thrombolytics. As a surgical treatment, the doctor may recommend surgery to insert a vena cava filter into the heart.

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Deep Vein Thrombosis Treatment in Houston, TX

Take action for DVT before it becomes a severe complication. For more information on our nonsurgical and surgical treatment options, contact Texas Vein & Wellness Institute today.

Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep Vein Thrombosis

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