Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) develops when a blood clot forms in a deep vein rather than a superficial vein. It usually occurs in the calves or thighs, but can occur in other places. A blood clot is a thick clump of blood that becomes solid and lodges in the vein. As time passes, the clot can become larger. Deep vein thrombosis is most common in people who are more than 50 years old, although there are conditions that can put anyone at risk of developing it.
Some of the common conditions that may raise the risk of DVT are:
- An injury that damages veins
- Obesity, which puts pressure on the veins in the pelvis and legs
- A catheter put in a vein for any reason
- Hormonal changes, such as birth control pills or hormone therapy
- Smoking, especially excessive smoking
- Long periods of sitting, such as on a plane trip of more than four hours
Certain diseases, such as heredity disorders, inflammatory bowel syndrome, cancer and heart disease, can increase the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis, especially if you have one other risk. Surgery is a major risk for developing DVT, especially if you have had joint replacement surgery in the lower legs. Pregnancy also increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis for up to six weeks after delivery, as does bedrest and having a caesarean section.
There are symptoms of DVT, but only about 50 percent of the people who develop the condition have symptoms. The most common symptoms are:
- Swelling of the ankle or foot that is often only on one side
- Cramps in the calf that has DVT
- Pain in the ankle or foot for no apparent reason
- A warm spot on the surface of your skin
- The skin over the vein turns red, blue or pale
Since symptoms are rare, many people only realize they have deep vein thrombosis when they require emergency care for a pulmonary embolism. This means the clot has come loose and traveled to the lung, blocking a major artery. This is a very serious condition.
There are several treatment options that our specialist may recommend for keeping a clot from becoming larger. Treatment is also intended to prevent a pulmonary embolism and to avoid more clots from forming.
Certain medications or drugs are available that can make it hard for blood to clot and keep any existing clots from growing. Compression stockings prevent the legs from swelling and put pressure on the superficial veins to force the blood to pass through the deeper veins. They lower your chance of developing blood clots and should be worn every day. Other vein treatments and procedures are available as well. It all depends on your unique situation.
If you believe you may be developing venous problems, it is recommended to get a diagnosis as soon as possible so that they do not develop into a major health issue. Set up a consultation at Fox Vein Experts to have your condition evaluated. We have offices in Hollywood and Pembroke Pines. Contact us today to book your appointment.