Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms within a deep vein, often in the leg. Typically, individuals with DVT have no idea because there are little to no symptoms associated with it. There are some individuals that are at higher risk for developing DVT than others too, which is why it is important you understand the symptoms and risks associated with this type of deadly clot.
Who Is At Risk for DVT?
There are certain conditions that can increase your risk for developing DVT, which include:
- Blood Clotting Disorder – If you have a blood clotting disorder, you may be at higher risk for DVT than others.
- Prolonged Bed Rest, Sitting, etc. – When your legs remain still for long periods of time, the calf muscles cannot contract, which means blood does not adequately circulate, thus increasing the risk for clotting.
- Pregnancy – Women have an increased pressure on their veins while pregnant, especially from the legs and pelvis. If you are pregnant with inherited clotting disorders, you could be at even higher risk.
- Recent Injury or Surgery – Any injury to the legs or veins, as well as surgery, can increase the risk for blood clots.
- Birth Control – The hormones in oral contraceptives can accelerate your blood’s clotting abilities and increase the likelihood of a clot in the leg.
- Being Overweight – When you are overweight or obese, you increase the pressure on your veins and increase the likelihood of developing a clot.
- Cancer – Certain types of cancer can increase clotting factors in the blood.
- Smoking – Smoking affects your body’s ability to circulate blood effectively, which increases your risk for DVT.
- Age – If you are over 60, your risk is automatically increased, but you must be aware that DVT can occur at any age.
Air travel is also a contributor to increased risk of DVT.
What are the Symptoms of DVT?
Not everyone will experience symptoms; in fact, some individuals never experience any symptoms. Those that do, however, may complain of swelling in the affected leg or pain radiating from that leg that starts in the calf and feels like a soreness or severe cramping sensation.
What are the Risks of DVT?
When deep vein thrombosis is left untreated, there is a concerning complication of developing a pulmonary embolism which can be fatal. Pulmonary embolisms (PE) occur when the blood vessels of your lungs becomes blocked by a clot that has traveled from another part of the body (such as your leg).
Those at risk for developing DVT should not only be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms of it, but the symptoms of PE as well, which include:
- Unexplained shortness of breath
- Chest pain that worsens when you breathe deeply or cough
- Feeling dizzy or fainting
- Coughing up blood
- Rapid heartbeat
The Vascular Experts is one of the largest groups of board-certified vascular surgeons in the country. If you are concerned about possible symptoms or have been diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis, our board-certified surgeons are here to help treat your condition.
With the right preventative care and treatment, you can avoid developing DVT in the future as well as reduce the risk for pulmonary embolism.