The veins in the body keep the blood flowing from the heart to all extremities. When the veins break down and can’t efficiently control the blood, varicose veins occur. In most cases, varicose veins are visible and uncomfortable. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs on a deeper level and can pose a serious health risk. DVT can cause serious pain the legs, but it may happen with no symptoms.
What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?
When a clot forms in a deep vein, it is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This typically happens in the legs. It is a serious issue because blood clots can break loose and get stuck in your lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism that blocks the blood flow. In some cases, the clot can cause damage to the veins and result in discoloration, skin sores, leg pain or swelling.
The biggest risk factors for DVT include:
- Age (being over 60 includes a higher risk)
- Lack of movement (sitting for long stretches of time)
- Long bed rest, including recoveries and paralysis
- Pregnancy (which increases the pressure in the veins)
- Birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
- Bodyweight (obesity increases the pressure in the veins)
- Smoking (hinders circulation and increases blood clotting risk)
- Heart failure or cancer
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Genetics and family history
To prevent DVT, it is important to follow a healthy lifestyle. Exercise regularly to keep circulation strong and muscles supporting your veins. Don’t sit for long periods of time—try to get up every 30 minutes or so in order to keep veins from being pinched. Manage your weight to avoid the impact of obesity and do not smoke.
Worried You Have Deep Vein Thrombosis?
If you are feeling uncomfortable or know you have DVT in your family history, you need to be careful not to ignore a potentially dangerous condition. Sometimes, DVT occurs without any noticeable signs or symptoms at all.
Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis
Some of the most common signs include:
- Swelling in the impacted leg (usually only one)
- Cramping or soreness in the calf
- Red or discolored skin
- A warm feeling in the affected leg
Pulmonary embolism (PE) can occur even if you aren’t aware of the DVT. Signs for a PE include:
- Abnormal shortness of breath
- Chest pain that worsens with a deep breath or cough
- Dizziness, light-headed feelings or fainting
- Quickened pulse or breathing
- Coughing up blood
If you believe you are experiencing a pulmonary embolism, seek emergency medical help immediately.
How to Check Yourself for DVT at Home
There is a high potential to loosen the clot if you are probing and massaging the affected leg for a self evaluation. If you are experiencing the symptoms of DVT or know it runs in your family history, it is best to be checked by a doctor who can do in-depth duplex ultrasonography scans for a true diagnosis.
Can DVT Be Treated At Home?
There is no true DVT remedy that can be done at home. This is a dangerous issue that should be treated by a healthcare professional. If you are experiencing DVT, contact your doctor. In most cases, a blood thinner will need to be prescribed to break up the clot.
Getting Vein Treatments During COVID
We take serious precautions due to COVID. During an appointment for vein procedures, we ask our patients to wear a mask and use hand sanitizer in the office. We have increased cleanings in the CVR center to ensure we are careful about stopping the spread of the virus.
Siragusa’s Practice in Nashville
If you are looking for a vein expert in Nashville, Tennessee, we can help! Check out what our patients have to say about our incredible service and attention to detail. Come meet our vein physician in Nashville for a treatment consultation if you are concerned about DVT.