Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, occurs when a blood clot forms in one or more of the body’s deep veins. They’re most common in the legs. Deep vein thrombosis can cause leg pain or swelling. But sometimes there are no obvious warning signs.
Deep vein thrombosis can be dangerous, even life-threatening, because blood clots in the veins can break loose. Then the clots can travel through the bloodstream and get stuck in the lungs, blocking blood flow. This is called a pulmonary embolism. When DVT and pulmonary embolism occur together, it's called venous thromboembolism, or VTE.
Read on to learn about who is at risk for DVT, symptoms, actions to take and how we can help.
Who is at Risk for DVT?
You can get DVT if you have certain medical conditions that impact how your blood clots. A blood clot in the legs can also develop if you are sedentary for a long time. For example, you might not move a lot when traveling a long distance or when you're on bed rest because of an illness, an accident or when you’re recovering from surgery. If you spend a lot of time sitting, this also puts you at greater risk for developing DVT.
Symptoms of DVT
While some people experience no symptoms, some of the symptoms and warning signs of deep vein thrombosis are:
- Leg swelling
- Leg pain, cramping or soreness that often starts in the calf
- Change in skin color on the leg, such as red or purple
- Feeling of warmth on the affected leg
If you develop these symptoms, get in touch with your provider as soon as possible.
If you experience the following symptoms of a pulmonary embolism, seek emergency medical help immediately:
- Sudden shortness of breath
- Chest pain or discomfort that worsens when you take a deep breath or when you cough
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
- Rapid pulse
- Rapid breathing
- Coughing up blood
How We Can Help
Deep vein thrombosis is considered a venous disease. Venous disease can refer to a wide range of conditions including but not limited to blood clots, DVT, phlebitis, chronic venous insufficiency, varicose and spider veins, as well as leg, foot and toe ulcers. These disorders occur when the interior walls of certain veins have been broken down and the small valves that control the direction of blood flow are insufficient or dysfunctional.
At AdventHealth Cardiovascular Institute, our vascular experts put you first. We offer some of the most advanced diagnostics, treatments and surgical options for venous disease like DVT and much more. Our vascular surgeons are trained in minimally invasive surgery and can manage some conditions with just medication. Our specialists will continually monitor you and adapt your treatment plan to your unique needs.
Learn more about our services here.