A formation of the blood clot (thrombus) in one or more deep veins in the body, usual legs, is called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). It causes leg pain or swelling, but at times can occur without any symptoms. DVT can develop due to certain medical conditions that impact blood clots, like if the patient is immobile after a surgery or an accident, or when they’re confined to a bed. DVT can become a serious condition if the clots break loose and travel through the bloodstream and get stuck in the lungs, obstructing the blood flow (pulmonary embolism). This can be a serious and life-threatening complication.
A blood clot can lead to DVT. The clot prevents blood from properly circulating in the body. This clotting can occur due to several reasons, which include:
Following are the symptoms of DVT –
DVT often occurs without noticeable symptoms.
Post a detailed check of the symptoms and a physical examination of the areas of swelling, tenderness or discolouration of the skin, the doctors might suggest following tests which include –
DVT is usually treated with medication. The most common medication to treat DVT is Blood Thinners also known as anticoagulants. They help in decreasing the blood’s ability to clot thus preventing the blood clots from getting larger. These blood thinners can be taken as a pill, as an injection or through an IV. The other option is Thrombolytic Therapy, which quickly helps in dissolving a blood clot if the clot is large and causing several problems. This type of treatment carries a higher risk of bleeding, so it is not used unless truly necessary. The last option is placing an IVC FILTER, inside one of the largest veins in the body. Although this does not stop the formation of a blood clot, it can definitely prevent a large clot from entering the lungs. Your doctor will always make an assessment of the risks and benefits of the various treatment options and discuss the same with you.
The risk of having DVT can be lowered by making lifestyle changes like maintaining optimal blood pressure quit smoking and losing weight if overweight. Being mobile and walking around after sitting for too long helps to keep the blood flowing. Make sure you do not get dehydrated- drink plenty of water especially in hot weather and when travelling or having a fever. Take blood thinners on doctor’s recommendation to lower the chances of blood clot post a surgery (if having one). One can develop DVT during travel if the sitting hours are more than four hours. Keep moving around often, get out of the car and stretch at intervals during long drives. Walk in the aisles if flying, taking a train, or riding a bus. Stretch the legs and feet while sitting — this keeps the blood moving steadily in the calves. Don’t wear tight clothes that can restrict blood flow.
Dr. Robbie George | Chief of Vascular & Endovascular Surgery | Mazumdar Shaw Medical Center, Bommasandra, Bangalore
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