Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is described as a blood clot in a vein that is not on the skin surface. This can occur on any part of the body but often seen in the calf or thigh. If an individual is suspected with deep vein thrombosis, it is best to see a doctor right away.
What are the signs and symptoms?
The indicative signs and symptoms of deep vein thrombosis is a swollen and painful thigh or calf. Some individuals do not have any indications.
The most serious complication of this condition is a pulmonary embolus where a piece of the clot breaks off and embeds in the lungs. Remember that this can cause a serious and life-threatening condition.
When to seek medical care
If the individual suspects that he/she has deep vein thrombosis, you have to call for emergency assistance for the following:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing up blood
- Feeling dizzy or faint
Possible causes of deep vein thrombosis
Take note that anything that slows down the flow of blood in the deep veins in the body can result to deep vein thrombosis. Those who have the condition might have:
- Been in bed for extended periods of time such as being hospitalized
- Being inactive such as during long airplane flights
- Had a major surgery
- Had conditions such as heart failure, cancer or a serious infection
- Had an injury such as vehicular accidents or fractures
- Using oral contraceptive pills or hormone replacement therapy that contains estrogen
Deep vein thrombosis is quite common among women during pregnancy or recently had a baby. The condition can also occur in a spontaneous manner. In such instances, an individual might have a genetic condition that makes the blood more likely to clot.
How is it diagnosed
If the doctor thinks that the risk of the individual to develop deep vein thrombosis is high, an ultrasound is required.
This diagnostic test is not necessary in all cases suspected of leg blood clots particularly if the individual is still able to walk.
Once an individual is diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis, the treatment involves an anticoagulant or blood-thinning medication. The individual is also asked to use compression stockings.
If travelling or being hospitalized, you can minimize the risk for developing deep vein thrombosis by using compression stockings, moving the feet and legs as much as possible and increasing the intake of water. It is vital to stay fit, maintaining a healthy weight and cessation of smoking.