Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a medical condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in one of your large veins, usually in the lower leg, thigh, or pelvis. This thrombosis can happen to anyone, thankfully it is preventable and treatable with a correct and early diagnosis.
There are some steps you can take to help prevent developing deep vein thrombosis, such as:
- avoid wearing tight fitting clothes
- wear graduated compression stockings
- drink plenty of water ~ not alcohol or caffeine
- don’t sit for long periods at a time ~ move around every couple of hours
- exercise your legs while sitting ~ raise and lower heels then toes, tighten then release leg muscles
Risk factors and causes for developing DVT, several of which you do have some control over, are:
- high blood pressure
- central vein catheter
- family history of DVT
- previous incidence DVT
- age ~ increases with aging
- inherited clotting disorders
- slow blood flow ~ bed confinement
- sitting for a long time ~ especially crossed legged
- limited movement ~ casting help heal bone injuries
- previous injury to a large vein ~ fractures, severe muscle injury, major surgery
- increased estrogen ~ birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, pregnancy
Also, certain chronic medical conditions, such as:
The most common symptoms that occur in the affected vein area of your body give you notice by:
- redness of the skin
Only in about 50% of all cases are any of these symptoms experienced.
Deep vein thrombosis doesn’t cause heart attacks or strokes. Although, arterial thrombosis, which is a blood clot in an artery to your brain or heart, certainly can. And both types of blood clots can cause some very serious health problems, only their causes and prevention steps differ.
DVT can result in post-thrombotic syndrome, marked by long term complications, like:
Anticoagulant blood thinners, are the medications most often used to treat chronic DVT conditions. In more severe cases, a clot may need to be surgically removed.
A pulmonary embolism, a potentially fatal situation, can result should part of a blood clot break off and travel to your lungs. This is a medical emergency!
The two most important healthy lifestyle prevention measures you can take in an effort to guard against developing a deep vein thrombosis scenario are exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight.