Deep vein thrombosis is the formation of blood clot present in the deep veins of the body. It occurs mostly in legs causing intense leg pain. This condition occurs for people who are sitting for long time like traveling in car or due to certain medical conditions. In rare cases, deep vein thrombosis can become life threatening when the blood clot break loses and reaches the lungs causing pulmonary embolism (block in normal blood flow).
More than half of the people with deep vein thrombosis will not have any symptoms. For some people symptoms like leg pain, swelling in the leg, swelling in the ankle are observed. It can also cause warmth and tenderness on the affected legs or ankles. The skin color can change to pale red giving obvious symptoms in some people.
In case you experience breathlessness with chest pain along with leg pain with coughing up blood then it can be due to pulmonary embolism. In that case, you can seek immediate medical attention with your doctor.
Deep vein thrombosis occurs due to clotting of blood in the veins. It can affect any part of your body but largely seen in legs. It can happen due to underlying medical issues like blood circulation problems. Anything that slows down the blood flow in the veins can cause blood clots. Taking bed rest for long, undergoing surgery on knee or hip, fracture in the pelvic bone and obesity can cause DVT. Certain types of autoimmune disorders, cancer, smoking, and using oral contraceptive pills for long can cause this problem.
Who are at risk?
People whose work involves sitting for long time like that of driver of a car or plane. They would keep their legs in the same position for long time. Due to lack of movement in the calf muscles it can cause blood clot. Flying for long distances can cause blood clots.
People who inherit blood related disorders can get deep vein thrombosis. Individuals who are in bed rest in hospitals due to paralysis or any other medical condition have increased chance for developing blood clots in the calf muscles. People who have undergone surgery recently can pose risk. Anesthesia given during surgery can cause dilation of veins increasing the risk of blood clotting.
Pregnant women can develop this problem since it puts great pressure on the pelvic muscles and legs. Some types of cancer treatment can put you at the risk of developing blood clots. People with heart problems, ulcerative colitis and bowel disease can develop this problem. Taking hormone therapy for long time and using oral contraceptive pills gives increased risk for getting DVT. Aged people and obese people also have risk for developing DVT.
Pulmonary embolism :
In rare cases, the blood clot from the legs travel into the bloodstream reaching the lungs thus blocking the blood flow causing pulmonary embolism. In case you have sudden shortness of breath, chest pain, increased pulse rate and rapid heartbeat and profuse sweating you need to contact your doctor immediately. In rare cases, DVT can develop complications like postphlebitic syndrome causing swelling of legs and skin discoloration.
Your doctor will make a thorough physical examination and check for the symptoms of swelling of legs and tenderness on the affected area. He may order for ultrasound scan, CT or MRI scan and blood test. If the result of blood test indicates presence of D dimer then it is confirmed you have DVT.
The aim of treatment is to reduce the symptoms and stopping the blood clot to grow bigger in size. Blood thinners like anticoagulants are prescribed for reducing the ability of blood to get clot. It prevents further formation of blood clots and also restricts the size of existing blood clots. Heparin injection is given for few days and followed as oral pills like Coumadin or xarelto. You need to take these medications for 3-4 months as instructed by your doctor. He will monitor the blood test result closely to avoid any further complications.
Thrombolytics drugs are given intravenously for breaking up blood clots. This medicine is given only on serious condition since it can cause life threatening adverse effects of bleeding. In case medicines are not responsive, then filters are inserted into the vein like vena cava in the abdomen which prevents blood clot to move towards your lungs. Wearing compression stockings can prevent swelling of legs and reduce pain.
Images, Pics, Photos and Pictures of Deep Vein Thrombosis :
Lifestyle Changes and Prevention :
For preventing DVT you need to give suitable exercise to lower calf muscles. Take suitable quantities of blood thinners like Vitamin K in your daily diet. In case you are bedridden for some reasons, try to make movement of your calf muscles. If you are obese, reduce your weight by staying on healthy diet. Wear compression stockings as recommended by your doctor. Do not exceed the dosage of any medicine given for DVT since it can land you up in serious condition.