What Is Deep Vein Thrombosis? Its Causes, Prevention And Treatment

There are several veins in your body, which perform the important task of carrying blood from your tissues to the heart. There are two main vein systems present in your body; one is a superficial vein system and the other is a deep vein system.

The superficial veins are close to the skin and can easily be seen in the arms and legs. When you cut yourself, the blood you see oozing out is from the superficial vein system, because it is close to your outer body. The deep vein system is buried deep within your muscles.

Thrombosis is one of the most serious complications that could occur within the deep vein system.

Deep vein thrombosis or DVT can be described as a condition in which blood clots are formed within the deep veins, especially those that are in your legs. Many people do not realize that they are suffering from this condition, mainly because they do not experience any symptoms.

However, at times deep vein thrombosis can lead to severe pain in the legs. This is quite a serious problem and should be treated immediately. Left unchecked, the blood clot in the vein can break loose, travel through the bloodstream and get lodged in the lungs, where it blocks the flow of blood, leading to pulmonary embolism.

Causes Of Deep Vein Thrombosis

There are several different factors due to which your blood may not circulate properly or clot normally. Some of the most common causes of deep vein thrombosis include –

  • Advancing age.
  • Being on bed-rest for a long duration.
  • Heart problems.
  • Incurring injuries.
  • Inheriting the blood clotting disorder.
  • Obesity or being significantly overweight.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Sitting for a long period of time.
  • Smoking.
  • Suffering from health problems like cancer and inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Undergoing certain surgeries.
  • Use of birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy.

More than 50% of the people suffering from deep vein thrombosis do not experience any symptoms of the condition.

However, some of the signs of this condition include:

  • Swelling in the affected leg, ankle and foot.
  • Pain in the leg, which usually starts off as cramping.
  • Warmth in the affected part.
  • Changes in the color of the skin, as it turns pale, blue or red.

It is important that you speak to your doctor, as soon as you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above.

Treatment For Deep Vein Thrombosis

The treatment of deep vein thrombosis is aimed at,

  • Preventing the blood clot from growing bigger.
  • Keeping the clot from breaking loose.
  • Reducing the risks of pulmonary embolism.
  • Decreasing the chances of a recurrence.

Some of the options that can be used in the treatment of deep vein thrombosis include:

  • Blood thinners.
  • Clot busters.
  • Filters.

Most people who are suffering from or are at a high risk of deep vein thrombosis are advised to wear compression stockings that prevent swelling in the legs. You need to wear these stockings on your leg from the foot to your knee. The pressure applied by these stockings can reduce the risks of blood pooling and clotting. For best results, wear these stockings for a year at least.

Prevention Of Deep Vein Thrombosis

It is easier to prevent deep vein thrombosis that it is to treat the condition. Some of the ways to prevent deep vein thrombosis include:

  • Controlling conditions like high blood pressure.
  • Exercising, especially the lower calf muscles.
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight.
  • Moving around every few hours, instead of sitting, standing or resting for a long time.
  • Quitting unhealthy habits like smoking.
  • Watching your intake of vitamin K.
  • Wearing compression stockings, as recommended by the doctor.

In case you are prone to deep vein thrombosis, it is important that you schedule regular checkups with your doctor.

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