DVT is a shortcut for deep vein thrombosis which is happening when a blood clot (also known as thrombus) is forming in one or more of the deep veins in the body and usually this is happening in the legs. This condition can cause leg swelling or pain but also there are some cases when it happens without symptoms. The deep vein thrombosis can occur if you have some medical conditions which affect how your blood clots. This can happen if you do not move for a long time, such as after accident or surgery or when you are confined to bed. This condition can be very serious because the blood clots in the veins can break loose and then it will travel through your bloodstream and lodge in the lungs and this will block the blood flow (it is known as pulmonary embolism).
Deep vein thrombosis symptoms
Here are the signs and symptoms of deep vein thrombosis:
- A feeling of warmth in the affected leg
- Red or discolored skin on the leg
- Pain in the leg. This pain often starts in the calf and it feels like soreness or cramping.
- Swelling in the affected leg. There are rare cases when there can be swelling in the both legs.
Also there are cases when the deep vein thrombosis can happen without noticeable symptoms. If you have some of the above mentioned symptoms of deep vein thrombosis, then you should visit your doctor as soon as possible. The pulmonary embolism is a life – threatening complication of the deep vein thrombosis. If you have some signs or symptoms of the pulmonary embolism, then you should seek immediate medical attention. Here are the warning signs and symptoms of the pulmonary embolism:
- Coughing up blood
- Rapid pulse
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy or fainting
- Chest discomfort or pain which worsens when you take a deep breath or when you cough
- Sudden shortness of breath
Deep vein thrombosis causes
Anything which prevents the blood from circulating or clotting normally, such as injury to a vein, surgery, certain medications and limited movement can cause blood clots of deep vein thrombosis.
Deep vein thrombosis risk factors
There are many factors which can increase your risk of getting deep vein thrombosis. The more risk factors you have, the greater risk you have for deep vein thrombosis. Here are some risk factors for deep vein thrombosis:
- Sitting for long periods of time, such as when driving or flying: When your legs stay in the same position for hours, then your calf muscles do not contract which normally is helping your blood to circulate. If your calf muscles do not move for long periods, then blood clots can form in the calves of your legs.
- Age: Those people who are older than 60 have increased risk of deep vein thrombosis but it can happen at any age.
- A personal or family history of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism: If you or some family member has some of these conditions, then you have increased risk of developing DVT.
- Inflammatory bowel disease: Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are bowel diseases and they increase the risk of DVT.
- Heart failure: It is known that heart failure will increase your risk for deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. It is known that those people who have heart failure, have limited heart and lung function which means that the symptoms caused by even a small pulmonary embolism are more noticeable.
- Cancer: There are some forms of cancers which can increase substances in your blood and they can cause your blood to clot. Also some forms of cancer treatment are increasing the risk for blood clots.
- Smoking: We know that smoking is affecting the circulation and blood clotting and this can increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis.
- Being obese or overweight: It is known that if you are obese or overweight, then this will increase the pressure in the veins in pelvis and legs.
- Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) or hormone replacement therapy: Both therapies can increase your blood’s ability to clot.
- Pregnancy: It is known that the pregnancy can increase the pressure in the veins in the pelvis and legs. Those women who have inherited clotting disorder are having increased risk of developing deep vein thrombosis. The risk for blood clots from pregnancy can continue up to 6 weeks after you have baby.