Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot forms in one of your legs within the deep veins. Generally, this will be recognizable by leg pain and swelling, but DVT can also occur with no symptoms.
This is a serious condition that must be treated immediately as clots can travel through your veins and block lungs, known as a pulmonary embolism.
While we will do everything possible to ensure you do not get blood clots, it is still vital to know the signs of deep vein thrombosis on the rare chance it does occur.
In most cases, you will be able to tell if you are dealing with DVT. Symptoms of deep vein thrombosis include:
Swelling in one leg. It’s rare that both legs will swell as the clot is usually in one leg only.
Pain in your leg. Usually this pain will begin in your calf muscle and feels similar to a leg cramp or soreness.
Discolored skin. The area on your leg will usually appear red.
Warm spots. The area on your leg will have a feeling of warmth.
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact our office immediately. Again, deep vein thrombosis can occur with no symptoms. This is why we ask you to wear compression stockings as part of the treatment for veins in legs and walk, as well as attend follow up appointment at the vein centers in Frisco.
Although it is extremely rare, it is important to know the symptoms of pulmonary embolism, a life-threating advanced stage of deep vein thrombosis. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact emergency medical services immediately. Warning signs include:
Sudden shortness of breath
Chest discomfort or pain that becomes worse if you cough or take a deep intake of breath
Dizziness, fainting or feeling lightheaded
Rapid pulse and racing heart
Coughing up blood
Some people are more susceptible to blood clots due to certain medical conditions. Additionally, clots can occur if you are inactive for long periods of time, such as a bed after surgery or an accident where you are confined to a bed.
The blood clots of deep vein thrombosis can also occur from anything that prevents your veins from circulating blood as normal, such as the treatment for veins in legs.
This is why one of the most important things you can do following your procedure at our vein clinic in Frisco, Texas is to walk around and let your blood flow as well as follow all post-procedures instructions.
INCREASE RISK FACTOR
There are certain things that can increase the possibilities of having DVT. The chances of getting it are higher if you have multiple items on this list. Dr. G is the best vein doctor in Frisco, Allen, Plano, Southlake or anywhere else in North Texas, and will make sure to cover these items with you before your first procedure. Increased risk factors are possible for those who:
Inherit a blood clot disorder.This condition by itself may not cause clots, but combined with other factors from below can increase risk factors.
Long periods of bed rest.If you are not moving and being active, your calf muscles cannot help circulate blood which increases your risk.
Surgery.Vein surgery can increase the risk, as can injury to your veins.
Pregnancy.Due to increased pressure in the veins around your pelvis and legs, the risk of blood clots can continue for six weeks postpartum. As a general rule, we do not treatment for veins in legs during pregnancy or immediately afterwards because of this.
Additional hormones.This can come from taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy.
Obesity or being overweight.Extra weight can increase the pressure on veins in your pelvis and legs and restrict blood flow.
Being a smoker.Smoking can affect your circulation and increase risk of blood clotting.
Cancer.Some cancers increase blood-clotting substances in your blood. Additionally, some treatments for cancer can also increase your risk.
Heart failure.Those with a history of heart failure have limited lung and heart function. Not only can this increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, it can make symptoms more noticeable.
Inflammatory diseases of the bowel.Conditions such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis can increase risk factors.
Being over the age of 60.Although it can occur at any age, being older than 60 can have increased risks of deep vein thrombosis.
Long periods of sitting.This includes driving and flying as your calf muscles do not have the opportunity to contract and move blood through veins.
Anticoagulants (blood thinners) are the most common treatment meted for Deep Vein Thrombosis. These drugs can be injected or taken orally will decrease the blood’s ability to clot. They will not break existing clots, but does stand as a preventative measure from allowing them to grow and reduce the risk of developing more clots.
The injectable medications are often given as a shot under the skin or by injection directly into an arm vein (intravenous).
Heparin is typically given via vein injection. Other brands of anticoagulants, such as enoxaparin (Lovenox), dalteparin (Fragmin) or fondaparinux (Arixtra), are injected under the skin.
You might receive an injectable blood thinner for a few days, after which pills such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) or dabigatran (Pradaxa) are started. Once warfarin has thinned your blood, the injectable blood thinners are stopped.
Other blood thinners can be administered orally without the need for an injectable blood thinner. These include rivaroxaban (Xarelto), apixaban (Eliquis) or edoxaban (Savaysa).
You might need to take blood thinner pills for three months or longer. It's important to take them exactly as your doctor instructs because taking too much or too little can cause serious side effects.
The standard time frame for taking blood thinners is usually around three months or longer. It is imperative to take them exactly as your medical provider has instructed. Consuming too little or overdosing can cause major side effects.
Taking warfarin will require regular blood tests to monitor how long it takes for your blood to clot. Certain blood thinners are not safe for pregnant women.
In certain cases of DVT or pulmonary embolism your health care provider may prescribe medications that break up clots more rapidly. These medicines are called thrombolytics or clot busters.
These particular drugs are administered via IV to break down blood clots through a catheter inserted directly into the clot. Because this medication can cause serious bleeding they’re usually reserved for severe cases.
In the event that you cannot consume blood thinners, a filter may need to be inserted into the vena cava (large vein) in your abdomen. The vena cava filter prevents clots from breaking loose and getting stuck in the lungs.
These support stockings are worn on your legs and feet to prevent the swelling that comes with DVT.
The pressure administered by the stocking helps to reduce the likelihood of your blood pooling and clotting. These stockings should be worn during the day for at least two years.