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What Is Deep Vein Thrombosis And How Is It Treated?

What Is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?

Basically, Deep Vein Thrombosis, or DVT, is a blood clot that has formed in a vein in the lower legs. Although DVT can occur in any vein in the body, it is very rare for it to occur anywhere other than in the leg. In rare cases, it has been found in the pelvic veins, and even in the arms. But again, those are rare occurrences. Despite where it has been found, the answers to these other questions are the same.

What Causes Deep Vein Thrombosis?

To put it simply, DVT is caused by inactivity, dehydration, injury to a vein, or a tendency to form blood clots. It commonly happens when a person has been immobile such as wheelchair bound or bed ridden for a long period of time. Sometimes, it can occur in the legs of people who live in a very sedentary lifestyle and are smokers or are overweight. If you have varicose veins, or a history of venous disease in your family, you may also want to be evaluated.

What Are The Symptoms Of Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Most of the symptoms leading up to DVT are difficult to notice. Unfortunately many people find out they had DVT after experiencing a pulmonary embolism. A pulmonary embolism occurs when the clot breaks loose and travels into the lungs. The symptoms to notice for DVT are swelling (edema), feelings of heaviness in the leg, or tenderness in the calf muscle. So if your leg aches, is swollen or is tender when it is touched, you might need to go to an emergency room soon as you suspect it, that day not the next.

How Is Deep Vein Thrombosis Treated?

For most cases of DVT that are found, blood thinners will most likely be the best treatment. These will keep new clots from forming. Also, the doctor may prescribe a compression stocking, which will reduce the leg swelling.

Deep Vein Thrombosis can be a stress filled and scary diagnosis, but rest assured; treatments are available. If you haven’t been diagnosed with DVT but are worried about risk of developing one, the best defense is trying to move your legs regularly. Even if you aren’t able to walk, a therapist can help you keep the blood moving into your legs and keep them from atrophying as well.

Please contact Michael Bardwil, M.D. at Texas Vein and Cosmetic Specialists for more information.

Dr. Michael Bardwil
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