Deep Vein Thrombosis: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Overview

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), also named venous thrombosis, is the blood clot that forms in the deep vein of the body. The most common sites that may develop DVT are deep veins in the legs, thighs, and hips. However, the disorder can occur in other parts of the body too. The blood clot can partially or completely block blood flow through the vein, causing swelling and pain in the affected area.

In some cases, DVT can cause fatal health problems, such as a pulmonary embolism when blood clots become lodged in the blood vessels of the lung. Therefore, prompt diagnosis and treatment are necessary for this condition.

Causes

If blood moves too slowly through your veins, it can cause a clump of blood cells called a clot. Risk factors for developing this disease include:

  • A family history of blood clots
  • Age over 40 years
  • Previous injury or surgery that lead to limited blood flow
  • Inactivity for a long time
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy and the first 6 weeks after giving birth
  • Birth control pills
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Cancer or heart failure
  • Smoking

Symptoms

In some patients with DVT, they may experience no symptoms. If the signs and symptoms are noticeable, they include:

  • Swelling in the leg or arm that may come suddenly
  • Warmth or tenderness of the leg
  • Enlarged veins near the skin’s surface
  • Pain or soreness when you stand or walk
  • Red or blue skin

People may not find out that they have DVT until they’ve gone through emergency treatment for a pulmonary embolism. So, pay attention to your symptoms and get ready to call the doctor.

Diagnosis

To diagnose DVT, your doctor will ask about your medical and family history together with symptoms. Then, he or she may conduct a physical exam to check for signs of swelling, tenderness or discoloration on your skin. Other tests that can help with the diagnosis include:

  • A D-dimer blood test to check for signs of a blood clot
  • A duplex venous ultrasound to show blood flow and blood clots
  • Venography to show the blockage in blood flow
  • CT or MRI scans to provide visual images of your veins and to see blood clots

Treatment

Treatment for DVT is focused on preventing the clot from getting bigger and preventing it from breaking loose and causing a pulmonary embolism. Medications for treating this condition are:

Other treatment options for DVT include:

  • Compression stocks to help prevent swelling and lower your chance of developing clots
  • A vena cava filter that is inserted to your abdomen to prevent clots from breaking loose and from lodging in your lungs
  • Surgery called a thrombectomy to remove the clot

Accompanied with lifestyle changes, including exercise and healthy diet, these methods can treat DVT effectively.


Keyword: deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.