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What Is DVT and How Can I Avoid It?

Published on July 12, 2019

DVT stands for deep vein thrombosis and is a medical condition wherein a blood clot develops within a deep vein in the body, usually in the thigh or leg. 

Blood clots that develop inside a vein are also known as venous thrombosis.

DVT usually occurs in a deep leg vein, which is a larger vein that runs through the muscles of the calf and the thigh.

DVT can cause pain and swelling in the leg and can also lead to further complications such as pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolism is a serious condition that occurs when a piece of a blood clot from the leg, thigh, or calf breaks off into the bloodstream and blocks one of the blood vessels located in the lungs.

DVT and pulmonary embolism, when they affect the body together, are known as venous thromboembolism (VTE).

What Are The Symptoms Of DVT? 

In some cases, there may be very mild to no symptoms of DVT. But if symptoms start to show, they can include:

  • Swelling, pain, and, tenderness in one of your two legs (usually the calf).
  • A heavy ache or pain in the affected area.
  • The skin starts to feel hot or warm in the area of the leg where the clot has developed. 
  • Red coloured skin, where the clot has developed, particularly at the back of your leg just below the knee.
  • DVT usually affects one leg, but this is not all the time. One main symptom is when you experience severe pain when you bend your foot upward towards your knee. 

What Causes DVT And How Can You Avoid It? 

Anyone of any age or gender can develop the condition DVT. However, your risk of developing DVT increases once you cross the age of 40. Along with age, there are also a number of other risk factors that can increase your chances of developing DVT, including:

  • Having a history of DVT or pulmonary embolism in your past medical history or in the family. 
  • Having a history of blood clots in the family (hereditary) 
  • Being inactive or going without exercise for long periods of time, especially after undergoing surgery or during long travels or journeys. 
  • Being pregnant. Your blood tends to develop clots more easily during pregnancy. 
  • Being obese or overweight. 
  • Birth control pills also increase your chances of developing DVT. 

How To Keep Your Risk Of Developing DVT Low

  • Take blood thinners or wear compression stockings. 
  • Lose weight.
  • Stay active and exercise regularly.
  • Avoid long periods of staying still or sitting for too long.
  • Get up and move/walk around or stretch at least every one hour whenever you are traveling on a plane, train, or automobile, especially if the trip is longer than 4 hours.
  • Do heel to toe exercises or circle your feet if you cannot move around. 
  • If you’re driving for long periods of time, stop at least every two hours, get out and move around. 
  • Drink plenty of water and wear loose fitted clothing when you travel. 
  • Avoid taking pills that alter your hormonal levels, such as birth control pills. 
  • Take precautions to avoid heart disease, diabetes, and any other serious health issues.

Contact Our Office

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can treat or prevent DVT, contact our office to schedule a consultation with skilled vein specialist, Dr. Richard Dishakjian. He will gladly assess your bodily needs and answer any of the questions you have about the procedure.