Causes And Treatment Of Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition where a blood clot forms within veins deep inside the body due to damage to the veins or the blood flowing through them too slowly. These blood clots can partially or completely block blood flow through the vein. Deep vein thrombosis typically occurs in the lower leg, thigh or pelvis, but they also can occur in other parts of your body including your arm, brain, intestines, liver or kidney.
Causes Of Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis is caused by the formation of a blood clot. There are many risk factors that can increase your chances of developing blood clots, such as genetic conditions, cancer and chemotherapy, injury, surgery, not moving for long periods of time, pregnancy, obesity, varicose veins, birth control pills, hormone therapy, COVID-19, or autoimmune diseases such as lupus, vasculitis, or inflammatory bowel disease.
Symptoms Of Deep Vein Thrombosis
DVT typically forms in the veins of your legs or arms, so many symptoms of DVT are associated with those areas. In some cases, people with deep vein thrombosis will experience no symptoms, or the symptoms will be very mild and not cause any concern.
Common symptoms associated with deep vein thrombosis include swelling of your leg or arm, pain or tenderness in the afflicted area, a feeling of warmness where the blood clot is located, skin that is red or discolored, veins near the skin’s surface being larger than normal, abdominal pain, severe headache, and in extreme circumstances, seizures.
Some people will have no idea they are experiencing deep vein thrombosis until the blood clot breaks off and travels to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism. Symptoms of this include chest pain, shortness of breath, cough with blood, lightheadedness and fainting.
Prevention Of Deep Vein Thrombosis
You can reduce your risk of developing deep vein thrombosis by using compression stockings, taking medications, and making lifestyle changes such as staying physically active, eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, and avoiding tobacco products. If there are periods where you are sitting still for long amounts of time, such as at an office job or on long flights, stand up and walk for a bit every half hour. Moving around increases blood flow and helps to prevent blood clots from forming.
Testing For Deep Vein Thrombosis
To diagnose DVT, your doctor will begin by conducting a physical exam and asking about your symptoms and medical history. Your doctor will then conduct a series of imaging tests such as CT scans, MRIs, and MRVs. The most common test given to determine if you have deep vein thrombosis is known as a duplex venous ultrasound, which uses ultrasound waves to show blood flow and blood clots in your veins.
There is also an invasive test that can be given, known as venography, in which your doctor numbs the skin of your neck or groin and uses a catheter to inject a special dye into your veins to see if any blood clots are partially or completely blocking blood flow inside your veins. This test is rarely used now, as less invasive tests are available and can provide similar results, although sometimes it is necessary.
Treatment For Deep Vein Thrombosis
If you do require treatment for deep vein thrombosis, you will likely be prescribed medications such as anticoagulants (blood thinners) or thrombolytic drugs, or you may be told to wear compression stockings. You will also be given frequent blood tests to monitor the progression of your DVT.
In cases of severe deep vein thrombosis, you may require invasive procedures such as a surgical thrombectomy. This is typically only done when the clot that has developed is unusually large or is causing serious issues like tissue damage. This form of treatment can lead to certain complications such as infection, excess bleeding, or damage to the blood vessels, which is why surgery is only done in situations where other methods of treatment are ineffective.
Home remedies that can be done for deep vein thrombosis include a variety of exercises that work to increase the circulation of your blood. These exercises include knee pulls, foot pumps, and ankle circles. The main goals of DVT treatment are to keep the clot from getting bigger and spreading to other veins, prevent the clot from breaking off in your vein and moving to your lungs, lessen the risk of another blood clot developing, and .prevent long-term complications from the blood clot, such as chronic venous insufficiency.