Complications and Risks of Deep Vein Thrombosis

Complications and Risks of Deep Vein ThrombosisDeep Vein Thrombosis is a blood clot that develops deep in the veins of the body. DVT usually develops in the lower legs, or thighs. Blood clots can be caused by a variety of factors, namely anything that will lead to your blood flow circulating abnormally. Sometimes, DVT can develop without your knowledge. You may not show any symptoms. DVT can be a dangerous disorder to be unaware of because there are serious complications that can arise due to DVT.

Risks involved with DVT:

  • Pulmonary Embolism
  • Postphlebitic Syndrome (Post-Thrombotic Syndrome)

You are at risk for DVT and other complications if:

  • You are obese or overweight
  • You are a smoker
  • Your family has a history of DVT
  • You’ve had a recent injury or trauma
  • You are pregnant
  • You are undergoing chemotherapy or other cancer treatments
  • You are 65 or older

Pulmonary Embolism

If you suffer from DVT this is the most dangerous complication that can occur. Pulmonary Embolism is a life threatening disorder that can occur when a piece of a clot breaks free and makes its way through the bloodstream. The clot can travel to the lungs with serious results.

Complications from Pulmonary Embolism may include:

  • Damage to the lung. This is caused by the lack of blood flow to the lung tissue. This can also lead to pulmonary hypertension, which is increased pressure in the pulmonary arteries.
  • Low oxygen levels in your blood.
  • Damage to other organs due to the lack of oxygen.
  • Death. If the blood clot is large or if there are many clots.

Pulmonary embolism is potentially very dangerous if untreated. It can also be difficult to diagnose. Symptoms of the disorder vary but, if you are aware that you have DVT it is best to talk to your physician about testing and prevention of pulmonary embolism.

Common Symptoms can include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Leg pain or swelling (usually in the calf)
  • Clammy, discolored skin
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness

If you notice any of these symptoms it is best to consult your doctor immediately, even if you haven’t previously been diagnosed with DVT.

Postphlebitic Syndrome (Post-Thrombotic Syndrome)

This syndrome is used to describe a number of signs and symptoms caused by long term DVT. These signs and symptoms include swelling of the legs, leg pain, and skin discoloration. This syndrome is caused when damage has been done to the veins. The damage then reduces blood flow in the affected areas. Postphlebitic Syndrome may not occur right away, it may begin a few years after the DVT.

Postphlebitic Syndrome is far more manageable than Pulmonary Embolism. Treatments may include medications, such as aspirin or diuretics, elevation, compression stockings or herbal remedies.

Preventing DVT and Other Complications

If you are at high risk for DVT make sure you are seeing your doctor regularly and taking all the appropriate medication prescribed. You can prevent DVT and other complications with the following steps:

  • Make sure you are moving around and letting your blood flow properly.
  • Avoid sitting or staying stationary for long periods of time
  • Stay well hydrated.
  • Remain vigilant of your level of movement if you are traveling for extended periods of time (exceeding 6 hours)
  • Ask your doctor about compression stockings to wear during times where you will be seated for long periods

Don’t let deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism sneak up on you. Stay proactive when it comes to your health.

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