Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) happens when a blood clot forms in one or more deep veins in the body. It usually occurs in the lower part of the body due to venous lesions or poor blood flow in the veins. Although clot formation is most frequent in the legs, it can appear in any other body part, such as the brain, kidney, or gut.
Most people have intermittent leg pain that can last from months to years. This discomfort happens because blood pools, and the pressure in the veins increases. Clots can partially or completely block blood flow, causing chronic leg swelling.
DVT is most frequent in persons over 60 but can develop at any age. DVT symptoms include leg discomfort, swelling, cramping, changes in skin colour (red or purple), and a sense of warmth in the legs. But, DVT can be asymptomatic.
A blood clot can occur by anything that inhibits blood from flowing or clotting normally. The following are some of the most common causes of DVT:
– A sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, or prolonged sitting. Muscle contractions promote blood flow. When people do not move their legs for a long time, these contractions do not occur, and blood flow decreases.
– Overweight/obesity. Increases pressure in the veins in the lower part of the body (legs and pelvis).
– Smoking. Tobacco affects blood flow and clotting.
– Pregnancy or recent childbirth. Leg and pelvic pressure increase during pregnancy. The risk of developing clots is latent for up to six weeks after delivery.
– Recent leg, pelvic, or hip surgeries or fractures. Surgeries can damage the veins and cause inflammation or infection.
– Cancer. Some types of cancer increase the substances that cause blood clotting. Also, some cancer treatments can affect blood coagulation.
– Having a family history of DVT or blood clots. If someone in your family had either or both of these conditions, you are more likely to develop DVT.
– Diseases that affect the way blood clots.
– Genetics. Some people have changes in their DNA that cause their blood to clot more easily (e.g., Factor V Leiden).
– Some autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, or vasculitis.
– Hormone therapies or taking birth control pills. Both of these methods increase blood clotting.
– Having a pacemaker or central venous catheter.
– Having COVID-19. Some clinical studies have linked COVID-19 to an increase in DVT cases.
A blood clot in a vein can occasionally happen without any apparent risk factors. It’s referred to as an unprovoked VTE.
Although DVT is not life-threatening, blood clots can break free and travel through the bloodstream. When clots lodge in the lungs, they can block blood flow and cause a disease known as pulmonary embolism (PE). The therapy aims to prevent the clot from growing and breaking off. Early detection and treatment of DVT can prevent the condition from worsening. If you have any of the symptoms of DVT, visit a specialized vein clinic to receive proper treatment and avoid future complications.
Treatment options may include:
– Anticoagulant medications. They can be administered orally or by injection,
– Thrombolytics. These are injected intravenously or by a tube placed directly into the clot.
– Filters. If you cannot use clotting agents, you may have a filter placed in your abdomen. It prevents clots released from reaching your lungs.
– Compression stockings. These specialized stockings go up to the knee. They prevent blood from accumulating in the legs.
The doctors will perform a physical exam to assess your health and determine what is causing your DVT. Any questions? Just ask! The specialists at the vein clinic in Fort Worth will identify the best therapy for you.