Deep vein thrombosis is an uncommon medical condition that causes one or more blood clots to form in one of the deep veins in your body. One of the most common places to experience deep vein thrombosis is in the leg, though it can occur in other areas of the body as well.
Deep vein thrombosis can be painful and may quickly become serious if left untreated. This is because the blood clot or clots in your veins can travel through your body and lodge in your lung, potentially proving fatal. With this condition, it is imperative that you treat it seriously, and see a professional as quickly as possible, in order to prevent complications.
Symptoms That May Point to Deep Vein Thrombosis
Though the condition can be experienced without a single symptom, many people have some tell-tale signs that deep vein thrombosis is what they are experiencing, including:
- Pain in the leg, particularly in the calf. The pain can range from a mild soreness, like muscle fatigue, to a painful cramping sensation.
- Warmth in one leg that feels abnormal or uncomfortable.
- A redness or pink tinge to the affected limb. The leg might look rosy and swollen.
The Symptoms You Should Never Ignore
As serious as deep vein thrombosis is, you probably won’t experience much more than pain and warmth in the affected area and can wait a few hours to make it to the doctor. However, if the deep vein thrombosis went undetected for too long, you may have already developed a pulmonary embolism. If you have, you will probably quickly become aware that something is dangerously wrong. If you experience any of these signs, call for help immediately!
- Rapid pulse
- Frequent coughing, with blood coming up
- A feeling of being light-headed or dizzy
- Severe chest pain that worsens when inhaling or coughing
- A sudden shortness of breath
Factors That Put You at Risk
Certain factors can predispose you to the condition of deep vein thrombosis. These factors won’t guarantee that you contract these blood clots but do put you at a greater risk than the general population.
- Having any condition that makes the blood in your body have trouble clotting properly will dramatically increase your risk, particularly if it is an inherited condition.
- Extended bed rest can lead to blood clots because the muscles in the legs don’t contract to circulate blood properly when they are still for so long. Similarly, sitting for long periods of time without break to stretch, such as on long car rides, can have the same risks.
- Injury or surgery on the veins can cause blood clots.
- Pregnancy can dramatically increase the risk for deep vein thrombosis, especially if the woman has a clotting disorder.
- Any medicine that effects the hormones can increase your risk, particularly birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy. These medications change how the body works and can have negative effects on your circulation.
- Smoking can put you at risk because of its negative effects on blood clotting and circulation and puts you at high risk for both deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
- Heart failure increases your risk and can make symptoms more severe. This can make catching an embolism easier, even if it is a mild one.
- Any inflammatory bowel disease, like Chron’s, is a risk factor.
- If you or a family member have suffered through deep vein thrombosis before, you are more at risk, even if you’ve undergone DVT treatment. A history, combined with other risk factors, is often all the risk factors needed to develop deep vein thrombosis.
- Though the disease can occur at any age, being over 60 increases the chance you will experience these blood clots.
Deep vein thrombosis is more common than many people realize but can usually be caught before it becomes the more serious condition of a pulmonary embolism. With proper DVT treatment, you can be back on your feet in less time than you might think possible.