- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that
forms in a vein deep in the body. Most deep vein blood clots occur in the lower
leg or thigh. They also can occur in other parts of the body.
- A blood clot in a deep vein can break off, travel
through the bloodstream to the lungs, and block blood flow. This condition is
embolism (PE). PE is a very serious condition that can cause death.
- Blood clots can form in your body's deep veins
- Damage occurs to a vein's inner lining
- Blood flow is sluggish or slow
- Your blood is thicker or more likely to clot
- Many factors increase your risk for DVT. People
who have had DVT before or have more than one risk factor are at increased risk
for the condition.
- Only about half the people with DVT have
symptoms. These symptoms occur in the leg affected by the deep vein clot. They
include swelling of the leg or along a vein in the leg, pain or tenderness in
the leg, increased warmth in the area of the leg that's swollen or in pain, and
red or discolored skin on the leg.
- Other symptoms may relate to PE. These may
include unexplained shortness of breath, pain with deep breathing, and coughing
- Your doctor will diagnose DVT based on your
medical history, a physical exam, and the results from tests. He or she will
identify your risk factors and rule out other causes for your symptoms.
- DVT is treated with medicines that thin the
blood, interfere with the blood clotting process, and dissolve blood clots.
Other treatments include filters to catch blood clots and compression stockings
that prevent blood from pooling and clotting.
- You can take steps to prevent DVT. See your
doctor regularly. Follow your treatment plan as your doctor prescribes, stay
active if possible, and exercise your lower leg muscles during long trips.
- Contact your doctor at once if you have any
symptoms of DVT or PE.
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