Blood clots are the body’s natural way of stopping excess blood flow, and when we’re injured, the clotting mechanism plays an important role in healing. But sometimes, clots form in the deeper veins, especially the veins in the legs and pelvis. This condition is called deep vein thrombosis (or DVT), and without proper treatment, it can cause serious and even life-threatening risks.
Understanding the Risks of DVT
DVT typically affects one leg, but in some cases, both legs can be affected. Without prompt medical attention, deep vein thrombosis can cause serious complications, including:
Pulmonary embolism or PE is a blood clot in the lungs. In people with DVT, a piece of the clot located in the leg or pelvis can break off and travel to the lung, causing PE. When a clot is large, it can block blood flow to the lungs, significantly increasing the risk of sudden death. Smaller clots also cause serious problems, as well as symptoms like a persistent cough, shortness of breath, problems breathing and chest pain that increases when you inhale. Some people with PE may cough up blood.
Swelling and pain in the extremities.
Even if a clot remains in a deep vein in your leg (or arm), it can still cause major problems. Your veins carry blood from your extremities – your hands and feet – back to your heart. When blood flow in a vein is obstructed by a clot, blood pools or collects in your feet or hands, causing painful swelling. This condition is also called post-thrombotic swelling or PTS. Without treatment, PTS can cause changes in your skin and interfere with wound healing, increasing your risk for serious infections and even amputation.
DVT: Know Your Risks
Just about anyone can develop deep vein thrombosis, but some people are at an increased risk for DVT. These include people who:
- have a family history of DVT or PE
- have a blood-clotting disorder
- have heart failure, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or cancer
- take hormone medicines, including birth control pills
- lead sedentary lives or have jobs that require long periods of sitting
- are overweight or obese
- have been confined to bed rest
- are 60 years of age or older
DVT often causes symptoms like pain, swelling or redness in the affected limb, but sometimes, it doesn’t cause symptoms at all. If you have any of these risk factors, you should be screened for DVT, even if you don’t have symptoms.
Top Vein Clinic in Nashville
As a leading vein doctor in Nashville, TN, Dr. Tif Siragusa uses state-of-the-art technology to diagnose and treat DVT in patients at Siragusa Vein & Laser. Each treatment plan is customized to help prevent serious complications so patients can enjoy better health – and greater peace of mind. If you’re at risk for DVT, don’t delay care. Call Siragusa Vein & Laser at 615-777-0744 and schedule your free screening today.