Deep vein thrombosis, commonly known as DVT, occurs when blood clots form deep in the veins in the lower extremities like the legs, thighs or pelvis but can also occur in the upper extremities like the arms. Understanding the condition is a necessity because it can happen to anyone causing serious harm, disability and, in some cases, death because it is often underdiagnosed. The good news is deep vein thrombosis, as serious as it is, can be prevented and/or treated if discovered early on.
Pulmonary embolism or PE is the biggest complication that could arise from deep vein thrombosis which occurs when a part of the clot breaks off and travels through the bloodstream up to the lungs causing a blockage. You can recover from this problem provided that the clot is not serious and appropriate treatment is administered, but it may still cause some damage to the lungs. If the clot is large enough it can cause fatal situations by completely stopping blood from reaching your vital organs.
Approximately one-third of patients who have deep vein thrombosis will have long-term complications, most commonly, post-thrombotic syndrome where the leaflet valves in the veins become damaged from the blood clot. The complication usually shows symptoms like swelling, pain, discoloration and scaling or ulcers in the affected part in severe cases, symptoms can even reach to the point that a person becomes disabled.
Everyone is prone to these conditions, but certain factors can increase this risk. Vein injuries are often caused by fractures, muscle injuries or major surgeries, particularly the abdomen, pelvis, hip or leg region. Another is slow blood flow due to long confinement in bed as a result of a medical condition or surgery, limited leg movement, sitting for a too long a period or paralysis. High estrogen levels are another risk factor and is often caused by pregnancy until six weeks after giving birth, birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy. Other risks include a chronic medical illness, history of DVT or clotting disorders, age, and obesity.
Under certain conditions, DVT could develop in anyone, but there are several ways to prevent this. If you’re confined to your bed due to surgery, illness or injury it is suggested to move around if possible. Talk to a medical practitioner if a person is at a high risk for developing the condition on how to prevent by medication or using graduated compression apparel. During long hours of travel, it is recommended to get up and walk every after 2 to 3 hours, exercise the legs and foot while sitting and wear loose-fitting clothes. The best way to reduce the risk of developing the condition is to live a healthy lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding a sedentary life.
Disclaimer: This article should not be construed as medical advice. Please contact a licensed physician for a proper diagnosis of your specific case.