Deep Vein Thrombosis graphic

Quick Info

Blood clots can begin forming in the thigh region, which can pose as a major health factor.

About Deep Vein Thrombosis (D.V.T.)

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is where blood clots form in the large, deep veins of the body. The clots occur most often in the legs, but can also occur in the veins of the arms or pelvic region. In some cases, DVT will cause symptoms, but in many cases, there are no symptoms and DVT can remain un-diagnosed until it is too late.

Deep Vein Thrombosis is a serious, life threatening condition and requires immediate medical treatment. If a clot breaks free, it can travel to the heart, lungs or brain, causing heart attack, stroke or pulmonary embolism, which can lead to death. Even if a clot remains trapped, it can cause permanent damage to the vein and long-term medical problems.


Symptoms

The most common symptoms of DVT include:

  • Swelling in the arm or leg where the clot has occurred.
  • Pain in the affected arm or leg, similar to the pain felt during a muscle cramp. The pain may start out mild and get worse as the clot worsens, or it may be constant.
  • A feeling of warmth in the area where the clot is located.
  • Unexplained tenderness in the spot where the clot is located.
  • Changes in skin color, usually redness in the affected area, but sometimes the skin can turn pale or blue.

Causes

There is no specific cause for DVT, but there are many situations that can increase the risks of developing DVT. Those risks include:

  • Inactivity as a result of being bedridden by surgery or illness, traveling in car or by plane for a long period of time, or a sedentary lifestyle. Inactivity decreases blood flow to the legs, allowing clots to form.
  • Damage to veins caused by accidents or surgery.
  • Obesity
  • Medical conditions that cause changes in the blood clotting properties of the blood, causing it to clot faster than normal.
  • Certain types of medications.

Though DVT is a serious medical condition, if caught in time, it is easily treatable. DVT is usually diagnosed using ultrasound, which allows the doctor to locate any blood clots that exist. If found, treatment will begin immediately using blood thinners, such as Heparin or Warfarin, to dissolve the blood clot and prevent new blood clots from forming. The treatment will continue for several months to ensure that no new clots form.

If any of the symptoms of DVT occur, it is critical that medical attention be sought immediately. Don't wait. Immediate medical treatment is necessary to ensure a long, healthy life.