Deep vein thrombosis
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Deep vein thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs. Deep vein thrombosis can cause leg pain or swelling, but may occur without any symptoms.

Deep vein thrombosis can develop if you have certain medical conditions that affect how your blood clots. Deep vein thrombosis can also happen if you don’t move for a long time, such as after surgery, following an accident, or when you are confined to a hospital or nursing home bed. But clots in deep veins (deep vein thrombosis) require immediate medical care.

These clots are dangerous because they can break loose, travel through the bloodstream to the lungs, and block blood flow in the lungs (pulmonary embolism).  Pulmonary embolism is often life-threatening. DVT can also lead to long-lasting problems. DVT may damage the vein and cause the leg to ache, swell, and change colour.

Symptoms include

  • swelling of the affected leg.
  • leg may feel warm and look redder than the other leg.
  • The calf or thigh may ache or feel tender when you touch or squeeze it or when you stand or move.

Treatment begins right away to reduce the chance that the blood clot will grow or that a piece of the clot might break loose and flow to your lungs. Treatment for DVT usually involves taking blood thinners (anticoagulants) for at least 3 months to prevent existing clots from growing.

Your doctor also may recommend that you prop up or elevate your leg when possible, take walks, and wear compression stockings. These measures may help reduce the pain and swelling that can happen with DVT.

There are things you can do do to prevent deep vein thrombosis. After surgery, you can take an anti-coagulant medicine to prevent blood clots. You might also wear compression stockings. You can try to get up and out of bed as soon as possible after an illness or surgery. If you are sitting for a long time, like during a long flight, you can exercise your legs to help blood flow.