Common symptoms of deep vein thrombosis include:
- Swelling in leg, foot, or ankle. Usually, one side is affected
- Cramp pain in the affected leg that begins in the calf
- Severe pain in foot and ankle
- Discolouration of skin in the affected area
- The area of skin feels warmer than the skin on the surrounding
Deep Vein Thrombosis is caused due to the formation of blood clots in the veins. The blood clot prevents the blood from circulating properly in the body. Various reasons can lead to the formation of a blood clot in the veins. These are:
Injury: A trauma or injury to the blood vessel’s wall can narrow the blood flow. It may also block the blood flowing in the veins in some cases. This can result in blood clots and thus deep vein thrombosis.
Inactivity: If you are inactive for a prolonged period, the blood circulating to the lower limbs and pelvic area might get reduced. This, in turn, can lead to the formation of blood clots.
Genetics: Another possible cause for deep vein thrombosis is genetics. A person might have inherited a genetic disorder that makes blood clots. These may include Factor V Leiden thrombophilia.
Pregnancy: When you are expecting a baby, the levels of the female hormone estrogen rise naturally. This, in some cases, may cause blood to clot more easily. Multiple studies have shown that a woman is at an increased risk of DVT during pregnancy until six weeks after the delivery.
Obesity: Obesity is also one of the leading causes of DVT. If your body mass index (BMI) is higher than usual, you are at greater risk of the formation of blood clots in your deep veins.
Other Causes for Deep Vein Thrombosis Include:
- Being on birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- Heart conditions
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- A man between 45 and 60 of age
Deep vein thrombosis is classified into two different types, including:
Acute DVT: When the blood clots have recently developed in the deep veins or are developing, it is known as acute deep vein thrombosis.
To diagnose DVT, your doctor will ask for your medical history along with symptoms. The doctor will also perform a physical examination to check for swelling, skin colour changes, or tenderness. You will be asked to get some tests done, including:
D-dimer blood test: The test is done to check the levels of d-dimer in the blood, a type of protein produced by blood clots.
Duplex Ultrasound: This test uses sound waves to create a picture of the blood flow in the veins. The test helps to detect clots in the veins and whether it is acute or chronic in nature.
Venography: The doctor injects a dye into a vein in this test. X-ray images are taken to track the dye as it moves to reveal the location of the blood clot.
The main objective of the treatment for DVT is to stop the clot from growing or lower the risk of having more clots. Depending on the condition or the size of the blood clots, your doctor may recommend the following treatments:
Medications: The doctor may prescribe some blood-thinning medicines to treat DVT. The blood thinners don’t break up the existing blood clots, though it prevents them from getting bigger and reduces the risk of developing more clots. Some blood-thinning medication includes heparin, warfarin, enoxaparin, fondaparinux, and more.
Compression stockings: Your doctor may recommend wearing compression stockings to reduce blood clots. These stockings also help to prevent swelling associated with deep vein thrombosis. One should wear it for at least two years to treat DVT during the day.
Surgery: If there are large blood clots, your doctor might recommend thrombectomy surgery. The surgeon makes a small incision into the blood vessel and removes the clot in this procedure. The surgeon then repairs the blood vessel and tissues.
Vena Cava Filters: Your doctor might also recommend placing an inferior vena cava filter to treat DVT. During this procedure, the surgeon places a small metal device like an upside-down umbrella, known as inferior vena cava (IVC).
Deep vein thrombosis can damage your veins and organs. In some cases, it can be life-threatening as well. DVT can also lead to pulmonary embolism (PE), which in turn can lead to severe problems, including heart palpitations, heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, and more. In addition, when a clot stays too long in the arm or leg, it can damage veins or valves, causing post-thrombotic syndrome or chronic venous insufficiency.
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