If you suffer from swollen legs frequently, the cause is worth exploring. While there are several causes for leg swelling, deep vein thrombosis may be the culprit.
What is deep vein thrombosis, and what can it mean for you and your health? The team at Shaheen Vascular is ready to answer these and all of your other questions during your appointment. We invite you to schedule a consultation at our Mountain View, CA, practice.
What Is Deep Vein Thrombosis, and How Does It Happen?
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), also referred to as deep venous thrombosis, is a condition that can develop when a blood clot forms in one or more veins that are deep within the body. DVT can be dangerous and lead to serious complications.
Blood clots within these deep veins can occur for several reasons, commonly because the vein becomes injured or the vein’s blood is moving slowly. These blood clots can block blood flow completely or partially.
Treatment options are available for deep vein thrombosis. Because of the potential issues that could result from DVT, it’s best to discuss your symptoms and options with a healthcare provider to get started on treatment right away.
Deep Vein Thrombosis Causes
Several risk factors could potentially result in deep vein thrombosis. Some of the most common risk factors include:
- Bone fractures
- Surgery, especially procedures involving the abdomen, hips, or legs
- Long periods of sitting or bed rest
- Birth control
- Hormones taken to reduce menopause symptoms
- Varicose veins
While many of the above deep vein thrombosis causes may never actually lead to DVT, it is a potential complication. Therefore, it’s important to become familiar with deep vein thrombosis, its symptoms, and ways to prevent and treat it.
Deep Vein Thrombosis Symptoms
Deep vein thrombosis in the legs is the most common, but DVT can also develop in other areas, like the arms, which could determine the kind of symptoms you experience. Common symptoms include:
- Swelling in the affected leg or arm
- Pain, soreness, cramping, or tenderness
- A feeling of warmth
- Change in skin color, such as red or purple
Other symptoms may develop depending on the area affected. For example, if you’re suffering from DVT in a vein within the abdomen, you may feel abdominal or flank pain.
Sometimes, deep vein thrombosis symptoms can be mild and may not cause much concern. However, if any of the risk factors of deep vein thrombosis apply to you and you’re starting to experience potential symptoms of DVT, it’s best to seek assistance as quickly as possible.
What Is the Danger of Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Deep vein thrombosis alone is not life-threatening. However, if left untreated, blood clots can potentially break free and travel along the bloodstream. When this happens, the blood clot can get stuck elsewhere in the body, which could have dire consequences.
A pulmonary embolism (PE) is one of the common complications of deep vein thrombosis. With PE, the blood clot, or embolus, affects the blood vessels in the lung.
When you suffer from a pulmonary embolism, the blood flow to the lungs is restricted, oxygen levels are affected, and the blood pressure in your pulmonary arteries rises. PE can cause lung or heart damage or even death.
Additionally, a large percentage of those who suffer from DVT also develop post-thrombotic syndrome, causing symptoms that last for months or even years, including:
- Chronic leg pain and swelling
- Pooling of blood
- Discoloration or increased pigmentation of the skin
- Leg ulcers
Deep venous thrombosis can be a serious issue. It can cause a variety of subsequent problems that, when treated, could potentially be prevented.
Deep Vein Thrombosis Treatment Options
Treatment for deep vein thrombosis depends on the patient. We can create a treatment plan and monitor your progress. Depending on how well you respond to the treatment, we can make alterations to provide the best results and keep you as healthy as possible.
Blood thinners, or anticoagulants, are one of the most common forms of treatment for deep vein thrombosis. Blood thinners are a type of medication that makes it more difficult for blood to clot. While this medication doesn’t destroy existing blood clots, it can help prevent blood clots from getting bigger or moving.
Anticoagulants, such as heparin and warfarin, can be prescribed for at least three months. Depending on the success of this medication, you may continue on blood thinners or move on to thrombolytic drugs.
Thrombolytic drugs are introduced into the body intravenously. This medication helps effectively break up existing clots.
We may also recommend additional supportive measures to help treat your blood clot and prevent additional clots, including wearing compression stockings, frequent walks, and elevating the legs whenever possible.
During your appointment, Dr. Shaheen can review the extent of your deep vein thrombosis and provide a personalized treatment plan. As your treatment progresses, you can rely on us to monitor your progress and make any necessary changes to help prevent complications and make the most out of your treatment.
How Can You Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis?
In some cases, deep vein thrombosis can be prevented. This usually depends on your lifestyle and health history. You can take preventive measures, like regular activity and wearing compression socks when needed. Sometimes, though, that is not enough. If you have any common risk factors, you may develop DVT anyway. Fortunately, even if you develop DVT, the right deep vein thrombosis treatment can help you get through it successfully while avoiding future complications.
Book Your Appointment With Dr. Shaheen Today
If you have deep vein thrombosis in the legs or other parts of your body, it can seriously affect your life and well-being. Schedule an appointment at Shaheen Vascular. Dr. Shaheen can provide much-needed answers and create a tailor-made treatment plan, providing peace of mind. We proudly treat patients in Mountain View, CA, and the surrounding areas.