Leg Clots (DVT): An Immediate and Long-Term Health Risk

Overview A blood clot known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs in a deep vein, most often in the leg. If the clot breaks away and travels throug

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A blood clot known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs in a deep vein, most often in the leg. If the clot breaks away and travels through the circulation, it may produce a pulmonary embolism (PE), which is a life-threatening blockage of blood flow to the lungs. If a patient with a pulmonary embolism does not get treatment quickly, they may go into critical condition. Therefore, it is essential to start looking for treatment as soon as you notice symptoms.

In contrast to the smaller veins that are closer to the skin’s surface, deep veins are the less visible veins that flow deep into the body. For the most part, DVT occurs in the deep veins of the legs, arms, and pelvis. 

Several factors, including inactivity, surgery, cancer, pregnancy, and specific medications, can increase the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis. In addition, people with a close relative with a DVT or with certain genetic predispositions may also be at a greater risk.

Symptoms of deep vein thrombosis might include but are not limited to leg swelling, soreness or discomfort, feeling heated, as well as pain and heaviness in the affected leg.

However, these signs and symptoms will not necessarily appear. A pulmonary embolism, on the other hand, might cause fatigue, difficulty breathing, and a fast or irregular pulse. It is very important to be aware of these signs, especially if you are at high risk of getting deep vein thrombosis.

Treating DVT

Blood thinners are often used to treat deep vein thrombosis because they stop the clot from developing and lessen the likelihood of a pulmonary embolism occurring. But, unfortunately, they do not get rid of clots that have already formed. Still, they do assist in preventing new ones from developing.

IVC filters will be inserted if the patient is unable to take blood thinners. To place an IVC filter, a catheter is typically threaded into a vein in the patient’s neck or groin. If a blood clot breaks off from the DVT, the filter may capture it in the inferior vena cava and prevent it from reaching the lungs.

While the patient is being treated for DVT with blood thinners, IVC filters are often employed as a short-term treatment to avoid pulmonary embolism. The IVC filter may be taken out when DVT treatment has been effective. In extreme instances, there may be a need to remove the clot surgically.

In order to make sure the IVC filter is working effectively and to address any possible issues or dangers, it is crucial to follow your doctor’s recommendations and schedule frequent follow-up consultations.

DVT Prevention Is Preferable to Treatment

To prevent DVT, you can take the following steps:

  • Get up and move around. Sitting or lying down for extended periods of time can increase your risk of DVT, so it’s important to move regularly, especially when travelling or during long periods of immobility.
  • Exercising regularly. Regular physical activity can help improve circulation and reduce the risk of DVT.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight. Being obese or overweight may increase your risk of DVT.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking can damage the lining of your blood vessels, increasing your risk of DVT.
  • Wearing compression stockings. They can help to improve circulation and reduce the risk of DVT, particularly for people who are at high risk, such as those with varicose veins or a history of DVT.
  • Limit alcohol consumption, which can dehydrate you and lead to blood clots.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

It’s important to note that certain people may have a higher risk of DVT due to certain medical conditions or lifestyle factors. If you’re concerned about your risk of DVT, it’s best to consult with a healthcare provider to discuss specific recommendations for your individual situation.