Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): What is it?

Blood clots, or deep vein thrombosis (DVT), occur. These clots typically form deep within the veins of your legs. DVT is frequent and potentially harmful. The blood clot may block a blood vessel in your lungs if it breaks off and enters your bloodstream. This obstruction, also known as a pulmonary embolism, may be lethal.

What are the signs of DVT?

DVT can occur in some patients who show no symptoms. Most people have one or both legs that are swollen. There is frequently discomfort or tenderness in one leg (may happen only when you stand or walk). You might notice that your skin is heated, red, or discoloured. Call your doctor right away if you experience any of these signs.

What causes DVT?

Multiple factors frequently contribute to DVT. If you experience numerous risk factors for DVT at once, your chance for the condition increases. If any of the following apply to you:

  • Are at least 60 years old
  • Are inactive for a long time, such as when you are travelling by plane, driving a long distance, or recovering from surgery in bed
  • Have a disease that makes blood clot more frequently
  • Have a medical procedure or injury that limits blood flow to a body area
  • A central venous catheter is required
  • Have recently given birth or are expecting a child
  • Are obese or overweight
  • Possess vasculitis or varicose veins
  • Possess cancer
  • Obtain hormone therapy, including for postmenopausal symptoms, or use birth control tablets

When is DVT detected?

If you suspect you may have DVT, see a doctor. They will examine you physically and go through your medical history and symptoms. To assist with the diagnosis, they could request testing. The most often used test is an ultrasound. It examines the blood flow in your veins using sound waves. Finding blood clots can also be done using a venography. To monitor your blood flow, a doctor injects dye into your veins, then takes an X-ray.

Can DVT be avoided or prevented?

You can take a number of actions to help avoid DVT. If you are at higher risk, these are more crucial.

  • Exercise frequently. Move your legs if you've been sitting still for a while. If you can, get up and move around every hour or so. Exercise your lower legs if you must remain seated. Lift your heels and toes in alternating motions while keeping your feet flat on the ground. This maintains your blood flowing while stretching your calf muscles
  • Stretch your legs and give your muscles a little rubdown
  • As soon as you are able after being sick or having surgery, get out of bed and start moving
  • Maintain blood pressure control
  • Avoid smoking
  • If you are overweight, lose weight

DVT therapy

One of the main aims of DVT treatment is to

  • Stop the clot from getting bigger
  • Stop the clot's fragment from moving to your lungs
  • Avert new blood clots

DVT can be treated and prevented with a number of medications. Anticoagulants may make bleeding more likely. When you cut yourself, for instance, you could observe that it takes longer for your blood to coagulate. Additionally, you can bruise more easily. Make a quick call to your doctor if you have any odd or significant bleeding.

The effectiveness of an anticoagulant may be impacted by some other medications. Consult your doctor before using any new medication,. This includes vitamins and over-the-counter medications. Dark green veggies and other vitamin K-rich foods can also have an impact.

If you are unable to take a blood thinner or if it is ineffective for you, there are other therapy choices. Your physician might advise inserting a filter into your vena cava. The main vein connecting your lower body to your heart is this one. A clot may be stopped in its tracks as it travels through your bloodstream and prevented from entering your lungs by this filter. People who have had many blood clots go to their lungs are more likely to receive this treatment.

Living with DVT

It is crucial to start DVT treatment as soon as possible. A blood clot usually dissolves between 3 to 6 months. There are things you can take to alleviate symptoms during this time. Elevate the affected limb to lessen swelling. You should discuss wearing compression stockings with your doctor. These extend from your knee to the arch of your foot. They apply pressure to your leg to lessen discomfort and swelling.

The clot may never completely disintegrate in some people. Your veins may develop scar tissue as a result. Post-thrombotic syndrome can result after DVT as well. People who have this have persistent (ongoing) pain and swelling.

Get assistance right away if you have DVT and exhibit any of the following symptoms. These are indications that the clot might have reached your lungs. It's possible that you have a pulmonary embolism.

  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • rapid heart rate
  • coughing blood
Dr. C. P. S. Chauhan
Radiology & Interventional Radiology
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