Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is one of the most serious and common types of vein diseases, affecting approximately half a million people in the United States. To find out if you’re at risk for developing DTV and what you can do if you’re diagnosed with it, keep reading.
Basically, DVT is characterized by the development of a blood clot in a deep vein, usually found in the leg. Blood clots can form in both superficial veins and deep veins throughout the body. When they occur in superficial veins, the result is usually just mild swelling and pain over the area. However, when a blood clot occurs in a deep vein, it will stay there until it gets knocked out. Once the blood clot is knocked out, it will continue through the deep vein and make its way to the lungs where it can potentially block the blood flow to the lungs, known as a pulmonary embolism (PE).
In the United States alone, nearly 60,000 people die from PE each year. I don’t want this statistic to scare you, but instead educate you on a preventable medical conditions that takes the lives of many. Be aware of your body and watch for the signs of DTV and PE. Some symptoms of DTV are swelling, pain, inflammation and having your leg turn more red and warm. If you notice any of these symptoms, go to the hospital immediately. A simple ultrasound test can determine if there are any blood clots built up in your legs.
If DTV is caught early, doctors can recommend a treatment plan. One such treatment is self-medication with various drugs, such as Heparin. As long as it poses no immediate concern, the Heparin will dissolve your blood clot until there’s nothing left of it. Warfarin is a bit stronger, but is also used to treat cases of DTV. If you’re case is severe and the doctor believes it poses an immediate threat at developing a PE, they may want to go ahead and surgical place a catheter to break up the blood clot.
There are factors which put certain people at greater risk for developing DTV and PE. Poor diet, exercise, birth control, cancer, injuries, serious illness and family history all play a key role in assessing your risk for DTV and PE. Also, if you’ve been bed-ridden from an accident or otherwise unable to get around on your feet, then you’ll be at a higher risk as well.
Don’t feel that your safe from PE just because you exercise, work out, and avoid cigarettes and alcohol. On the contrary, anyone can develop PE, no matter what their lifestyle or background is. In fact, world renown tennis star Serena Williams developed a PE at the young age of just 29. Be aware of your body, eat right, exercise, and always look for signs of DVT and PE. If you catch it early, doctors can prescribe a medicine for you to administer at home without the use of surgical procedures.