Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Deep vein thrombosis or DVT is defined as the development of a blood clot, or thrombus, in at least one of the deep veins that are present in your body, most commonly in the legs. While, DVT can cause pain or discomfort to appear in the legs for some patients, the condition develops most frequently without any symptoms. Deep vein thrombosis develops due to a variety of reasons, but the most common appearance of DVT is after prolonged inactivity, as often occurs while traveling long distances. There are also certain medical conditions that affect the ability of your blood to properly clot, and this will put you at a higher risk of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis.

In many situations DVT develops without the onset of any symptoms. However, some patients do experience noticeable discomfort as a result of Deep Vein Thrombosis. Possible symptoms of DVT include:

  • Swelling in the leg that is affected in addition to the foot and ankle
  • Pain in the leg, ankle or foot. Often this pain is similar to a sharp cramp or charley horse.
  • Feeling of warmth in the leg
  • Changes to the skin color in the affected area. The skin may either turn pale or become red or blue

If you begin to experience symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis, it is important that you contact your physician immediately. If left untreated, DVT could progress and develop into a pulmonary embolism, which is a life threatening condition.

The most frequent cause of DVT is prolonged sitting or lying down. Leaving your legs still for a long period of time can lead to poor circulation, which often causes blood clots. This is also a risk during extended hospital stays. Other common causes of Deep Vein Thrombosis include:

  • An inherited blood-clotting disorder
  • Injury
  • Surgery
  • Pregnancy
  • Cancer
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Heart failure
  • Birth control pills
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Pacemaker or catheter present in a vein

In addition, individuals over the age of 60 are at an increased risk of developing DVT, as are men that are especially tall. Lifestyle factors such as being obese or smoking also increase your likelihood of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis.

If you would like more information regarding DVT, contact us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Perry.