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What Is Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition that causes leg pain and swelling. It occurs when a blood clot forms in the deeper veins of the leg and disrupts proper blood flow. Sometimes, deep vein thrombosis can occur in the arms, but it is far more prevalent in the legs.

Deep vein thrombosis does not always present symptoms. This means the exact number of people who have DVT is unknown. The American Heart Association estimates that anywhere between 300,000 and 600,000 people in the United States develop deep vein thrombosis yearly. 

Left untreated, deep vein thrombosis can lead to serious issues, primarily lung embolism, which can be life-threatening if a person is born with certain cardiac conditions. Here is everything you need to know about the signs and symptoms of DVT and how the condition is treated.

Why Treating Deep Vein Thrombosis Is Important

Deep vein thrombosis is a vascular condition that occurs when a blood clot develops in a vein within the arms or legs. The condition gets its name because these clots typically form in the deeper veins beneath the skin’s surface. 

These blood clots can be very small and produce little to no symptoms. On the other hand, these clots can also be large and cause intense pain. People with severe DVT have trouble walking or standing for long periods of time because they are in such discomfort. 

Even if the clot is small and produces no symptoms, deep vein thrombosis should be taken seriously, as it impacts blood flow. A clot in the deeper veins of the legs or arms can block blood from flowing to surrounding vessels and tissues. 

More importantly, this clot can sometimes break free and travel upwards to the heart or brain, resulting in serious issues like stroke and heart attack.

Deep Vein Thrombosis Causes

Deep vein thrombosis can develop randomly with no identifiable cause. Usually, a DVT is clearly correlated with specific lifestyle factors or an underlying medical condition. These factors can include:

  • Injury to the leg or arm
  • An intravenous catheter placed in the leg or arm
  • Hormone therapy
  • Heavy smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Heart failure
  • Cancers

Staying sedentary for long periods or being overweight can also contribute to DVT. In some cases, deep vein thrombosis has a genetic factor at play. If you have a family history of blood clots, you may be at an increased risk of developing a DVT.

Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis

The symptoms of a DVT can vary depending on the size and location of the clot. Small clots may not present any symptoms until they affect blood flow in the arm or leg. Moderate to severe clots often produce some combination of the following symptoms:

  • Swelling in the affected limb
  • Red or pink skin around the area of the clot
  • A warm sensation surrounding the clot
  • Cramping and aching, especially when standing
  • Intense pain and cramping in the affected limb

When you notice symptoms of deep vein thrombosis, you should seek prompt medical attention. Initially, a DVT simply produces discomfort. Left unaddressed, it can lead to a stroke or other cardiovascular event.

Treating Deep Vein Thrombosis

Treating deep vein thrombosis often includes a variety of approaches. The first treatment for DVT is typically medication. Large clots that present an imminent threat will often be treated with an injectable thrombolytic drug. These drugs are administered directly into the vein and dissolve the clot before it can cause further issues.

When someone has a DVT, they may be put on blood thinners to prevent clots in the future. These drugs are taken orally on a daily basis to keep the blood from clotting throughout the circulatory system. 

A more active lifestyle can be beneficial to prevent another deep vein thrombosis. Frequent movement keeps the blood in your limbs circulating and reduces the risk of clots forming.

Deep Vein Thrombosis Treatment at Metropolitan Vein and Aesthetic Center

Are you struggling with the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis? The experts at Metropolitan Vein and Aesthetic Center can help! We work with patients who have vascular issues throughout New York. Our specialists can diagnose and treat deep vein thrombosis to get you back on your feet in no time. Contact us online or by phone today.

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