Deep Vein Thrombosis
What is Deep Venous Thrombosis?
Blood clots are a natural part of the healing process. They form to help aid you from continuing to bleed excessively after an injury. A blood clot is essentially the platelets of your blood coming together to form a gelatinous mass to prevent blood from flowing. When an injury has healed, the blood clot that formed in its place dissolves naturally. However, even without there being an injury, blood clots can form. When your blood is not flowing correctly, it can eventually pool in your blood vessels, causing platelets to stick together, resulting in an unnecessary blood clot. The result is DVT.
DVT is a condition that can be very serious. If the large blood clot mass loosens, it can potentially travel through your bloodstream and get lodged in the lungs and block blood flow, which can cause organ damage or even death, a condition known as pulmonary embolism. DVT affects nearly 900,000 Americans each year and is the cause of death for 100,000. Some common symptoms for DVT include swelling of the arms or legs without warning, soreness when walking, a warming sensation in the area that hurts and skin that looks red or blue. In some cases, there are no visible signs of DVT, making it especially crucial to be aware of the condition and how your daily lifestyle can influence DVT development.
Am I at risk for developing Deep Venous Thrombosis?
Many factors can put you at a greater risk for developing DVT, including:
DVT is a medical issue that can occur at any age but being older than 60 significantly increases your risk for developing it.
In the modern world, a sedentary lifestyle is common. Unfortunately, living this lifestyle makes you more susceptible to developing DVT. As mentioned earlier, blood flow and blood recirculation are largely dependent on your muscle movements. Sitting for long periods, not engaging your muscles, makes it difficult for your blood to circulate properly. Being on bed rest or recovering from surgery can also raise the risk.
People that are overweight are at a greater risk for developing DVT. Being overweight causes pressure on the legs and pelvis’s vein walls, potentially leading to a pooling of blood where vein walls are weakened.
If you are pregnant, more pressure is being placed on the veins in your legs and pelvis, putting you at risk for developing DVT. This increased risk continues for six weeks after giving birth to a baby.
People with a family history of DVT are at greater risk for developing the condition. A family history of the condition pulmonary embolism can also put you at more significant risk.
Nicotine negatively affects blood circulation, blood vessels and the blood clotting process. As a result, it can raise your risk for DVT.
A blood clot is likely to form if your veins have experienced past traumas or surgery, as the vein walls can damage potentially.
Birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy can potentially damage your vein walls because of the estrogen they contain. With weakened vein walls, your risk for a blood clot forming is increased.
Previous Blood Clot
Your risk for developing a blood clot if you previously had one increases by 30 percent. It is crucial to know how you should adjust your lifestyle to prevent the issue from occurring again.
Certain health Issues
Certain health issues can significantly increase your risk of developing DVT. These health issues include lung disease, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer or if you are currently undergoing cancer treatment.
Understanding that these factors put you at a greater risk of developing DVT is key to preventing the blood clot from forming.
What complications can arise due to Deep Venous Thrombosis?
While DVT does not always lead to complications, the possibility is still prevalent. DVT puts you at a higher risk for damage to your veins and organs. There is also the potential for more serious issues. Two serious complications that can be a result of DVT include:
As mentioned earlier, pulmonary embolism is a complication that occurs if the DVT blood clot loosens and gets lodged in a blood vessel in the lungs, restricting blood flow. This serious medical concern can be life-threatening. In some cases, people that lack DVT symptoms realize they have the condition once it develops into a pulmonary embolism. Signs that you may have pulmonary embolism include sudden shortness of breath, chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough, faintness, a rapid pulse and coughing blood. If you have any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention right away.
Postphlebitic syndrome, also known as a postthrombotic syndrome, is a common complication that arises because of DVT. The complication results from damage to the vein walls because of the blood clot, which reduces blood flow in the affected region. Postphlebitic syndrome can cause persistent swelling in the legs, known as edema, pain in the legs, skin discoloration and skin sores.
How can I treat Deep Venous Thrombosis?
The goal for treating DVT is to prevent it from loosening and breaking off, which can ultimately reach your lungs, and to prevent another blood clot from forming. Methods for treating DVT include:
The most common medication to treat DVT are blood thinners. These medications can reduce your blood’s ability to clot. Blood thinners may need to be taken for up to six months if prescribed. In severe cases, a stronger medication, known as thrombolytics, may be used to dissolve a blood clot. However, thrombolytics can have serious side effects, including sudden bleeding, so they are not prescribed often.
Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filter
In cases where a blood thinner can’t be taken or if it is not effective, an IVC filter may be used. This small, cone-shaped filter is placed inside your inferior vena cava, the largest vein in your body, to catch the large blood clot before it reaches your lungs.
Compression stockings are special knee socks tight around the ankle and get looser toward the knee. The pressure caused by the stockings helps prevent blood from pooling in your veins. Compression stockings can be bought at a local drugstore, but a more specialized type may be advised depending on your DVT severity.
How can I prevent DVT from developing?
While certain factors can make you susceptible to DVT, such as your genetics, changing your lifestyle and keeping your blood flowing can help prevent it from developing. Taking care of your physical health is a step in the right direction. Quitting smoking, losing weight and getting active are great ways to ensure your blood flow is consistent and beneficial to your overall health. While many jobs require a sedentary lifestyle, like working on a computer day-in and day-out, it is important not to remain seated the entire time. Take consistent breaks from work to stretch and flex your legs, allowing your blood to flow. Wearing loose-fitting clothing and drinking plenty of water throughout the day is also crucial.
Have your Deep Venous Thrombosis treated at Tennessee Vein Center?
DVT is a concerning condition that can develop into something life-threatening. It’s best not to wait and see if you are concerned that you may have DVT. Having your condition examined under the guidance of an expert can help you get the issue under control. The vein health experts of Tennessee Vein Center can diagnose your venous concern, treat any condition they find and offer thorough advice so that the issue does not return. If you are concerned about your vein health, please contact us at (865) 233-5858 or visit our contact page to schedule a consultation.