What is DVT (deep vein thrombosis, deep vein thrombosis)?
Deep vein platelets or deep vein thrombosis is a disease that occurs when there are blood clots in veins. The affected veins are usually located deep in the leg muscles.
Clots (thrombus) cause blood flow to slow down causing the blocked area to become swollen, red, and painful. If the clot moves to the lungs, then pulmonary embolism (veins in the blocked lungs) can occur and cause serious respiratory problems.
How common is DVT (deep vein thrombosis, deep vein thrombosis)?
Deep vein thrombosis is a disease that can occur to anyone. However, this disease is more common in people over 60 years. In addition, people who are physically inactive (lazy to move), pregnant women, or have blood disorders have a higher risk of developing blood clots. This can be prevented by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for more information.
Signs & Symptoms
What are the signs and symptoms of DVT (deep vein thrombosis, deep vein thrombosis)?
Only about half of people who experience DVT have signs and symptoms. Signs and symptoms appear on the feet affected by lumps that are in the veins. In general, the signs and symptoms of deep vein thrombosis are:
- Swelling of the foot or along the vein in the leg
- Pain in the legs, which you feel only when standing or walking
- Increased temperature in the swollen or painful area of the foot
- Redness or discoloration of the foot skin
Some people are not aware of any clots in the deep veins until they have signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism. Signs and symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath without cause
- Pain when doing deep breathing
- Coughing up blood
- Too fast breathing and fast heartbeat
There may be signs and symptoms not mentioned above. If you have a concern about a specific symptom, consult your doctor.
When should I see a doctor?
If you experience signs or symptoms of blocked arteries, contact your doctor. Not only that, if you experience signs or symptoms of pulmonary embolism – a life-threatening complication of blocked arteries – seek medical attention immediately.
What causes DVT (deep vein thrombosis, deep vein thrombosis)?
Various causes of deep vein thrombosis are:
- Damaged inner lining of blood vessels. Injuries caused by physical, chemical, or biological factors can damage blood vessels. These factors include surgery, serious injury, inflammation, and immune reactions
- Slow blood flow. Lack of activity can cause slow blood flow. This may occur after surgery, if you are sick and have to be in bed for a long time, or if you are traveling for a long time
- Your blood is thicker or more prone to clot than usual. Some inherited conditions (such as factor V Leiden) increase the risk of blood clots. Hormone therapy or birth control pills can also increase the risk of blood clots
What increases my risk for DVT (deep vein thrombosis, deep vein thrombosis)?
Many factors can increase your risk of experiencing this condition, and the more you have these factors, the greater your risk. Risk factors for deep vein thrombosis are:
- History of blood clotting disorders. Some people inherit disorders that make their blood clots easier. This hereditary condition may not cause problems unless combined with one or more other risk factors
- Prolonged sleep, such as staying in the hospital for a long time, or paralysis. When your legs don't move for a long time, your calf muscles don't contract to help drain blood, which can increase the risk of blood clots
- Injury or surgery. Vascular injury or surgery can increase the risk of blood clots
- Pregnancy Pregnancy increases pressure in the veins in the pelvis and legs. Women with blood clotting disorders due to heredity are very risky. The risk of blood clots from pregnancy can continue for up to six weeks after you have your baby
- Birth control pills or hormone therapy. Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) and hormone replacement therapy can increase your blood's ability to clot
- Overweight or obese. Obesity can increase pressure in the veins in the pelvis and legs
- Smoke. Smoking affects blood clotting and blood circulation, which can increase the risk of DVT
- Cancer. Some forms of cancer increase the amount of substances in your blood that cause blood to clot. Some forms of cancer treatment also increase the risk of blood clots
- Heart failure. People who have heart failure have a greater risk of developing DVT and pulmonary embolism. Because people with heart failure who already have limited lung and liver function, small symptoms caused by pulmonary embolism can be even more visible
- Inflammatory bowel disease. Bowel disease, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, increases the risk of DVT
- Age. Having an age above 60 years increases the risk of DVT, although it can occur in all age groups
- Sit for long periods of time. Blood clots can form on your legs if your calf muscles do not move for a long time
Medicines & Medications
The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor.
What are my treatment options for DVT (deep vein thrombosis, deep vein thrombosis)?
Various treatment options for dealing with deep vein thrombosis are:
- Treatment is done by direct injection of blood-thinning drugs (heparin) to thin the blood and prevent blood clots. Heparin can be given intravenously or injected under the skin (subcutaneously).
- Your doctor will determine the best choice for you. The doctor will also prescribe blood thinning pills (warfarin) to prevent enlargement and the formation of new blood clots.
- Thrombin inhibitors can be used to treat blood clots if you cannot use heparin.
- If you cannot use blood thinners or the treatment is not working properly, your doctor may recommend a vein cava filter. The filter is inserted in a large vein called the vena cava. The filter catches blood clots before they move to the lungs, so they can prevent pulmonary embolism. However, the filter cannot stop new blood clots.
- The doctor may also recommend special stockings to control swelling in the legs.
What are the usual tests for DVT (deep vein thrombosis, deep vein thrombosis)?
To be able to diagnose DVT, the doctor will ask about your symptoms and do an examination. If DVT is suspected, your doctor may recommend more tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Some tests that doctors usually do to confirm the diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis are:
- Sonogram (ultrasound) on swollen feet or other parts to measure blood flow
- Blood test (D-Dimeer) measures the substances in the blood released when blood clots dissolve. If the test shows a high content of the substance, you may have deep vein blood clots
In rare cases when a diagnosis is suspected but a sonogram and blood test cannot be concluded, the doctor can also perform a special x-ray examination (venography) in which a dye is injected into a vein to see if there is a clot that is blocking blood flow.
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can be done to treat DVT (deep vein thrombosis, deep vein thrombosis)?
Some lifestyle and home remedies that might help you deal with deep vein thrombosis are:
- Take medication and do a blood test (INR) as directed by your doctor to monitor the level of blood viscosity
- Follow your doctor's advice about losing weight and exercising more to reduce the risk of DVT recurrence
- Walk and stretch your legs if you sit for a long time
- Contact your doctor before you go on a long journey and ask your doctor about taking aspirin if you no longer take warfarin
- Try lifting your legs when sitting or lying down
If you have questions, consult your doctor for the best solution for your problem.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/deep-vein-thrombosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20352557 accessed date April 4th, 2018
https://www.webmd.com/dvt/default.htm accessed date April 4th, 2018