Why Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Should Always Be Taken Seriously
Deep Vein Thrombosis is a blood clot (thrombus) that forms in one or more deep veins in the body, usually the legs. Deep Vein Thrombosis produces leg pain or swelling, although it can sometimes occur without warning. DVT can occur due to certain medical conditions that affect blood clots, such as inactivity following surgery or an accident or being confined to a bed. The risk with Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is that the clot can come detached and travel to the lungs, obstructing essential blood flow, which is called as a pulmonary embolism.
What are the symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?
DVT Signs and Symptoms for early detection:
A DVT usually forms in one leg or arm. Symptoms aren’t always present in those who have a DVT. But symptoms can include:
- Swelling in the affected leg or arm
- Pain in the legs (Typically beginning from the calf, and one may mistake it for cramping)
- Warm sensation in the affected area
- Skin that is red or discolored
Symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include:
- Breathing problem
- Sharp chest pain
- Pain in the back
- Cough (sometimes with bloody sputum/phlegm)
- Sweating more than normal
- Fast heartbeat
- Feeling dizzy or fainting
What causes a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?
- Family history of DVT
- Vein Damage from Surgery
- Trauma or Injury
- Inflammation of the vein due to infection
- Sitting for long periods
- Varicose veins
- Old age
- Injury or surgery
- Pregnancy with a history of clotting disorders
- Oral contraceptives
- Immobility or inactivity ( (paralysis, prolonged travel)
- Smoking and tobacco use
- History of heart failure or pulmonary embolism
- Genetic factors
- Clotting disorders
The Best Ways to Diagnose Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT):
Early DVT diagnosis is critical for effective treatment and recovery. To diagnose this disease, The Interventional Radiologist will ask you a few questions regarding your symptoms. A physical exam will be performed to check for any pain, swelling, or discoloration.
The following are some of the standard tests used to diagnose DVT:
- CT or MRI scans
- D-dimer blood test
- Doppler ultrasound Scan
Treatment of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT):
The aim of the treatment is to dissolve the clot and prevent pulmonary embolism.
Medication is frequently used to treat DVT. Blood Thinners, commonly known as anticoagulants, are the most common treatment for DVT. They aid to reduce the ability of blood to clot, preventing blood clots from growing larger. These blood thinners are available in pill form, injectable form, and IV form.
Thrombolytic Therapy is another alternative, which helps to dissolve a blood clot quickly if it is substantial and causes multiple difficulties. Because this treatment has a higher risk of bleeding, it is only administered when absolutely required.
The final alternative is to insert an IVC FILTER into one of the body’s largest veins. Although this will not prevent a blood clot from forming, it will definitely prevent a large clot from entering the lungs. Your doctor will carefully evaluate the risks and advantages of different treatment choices before discussing them with you.
Interventional Treatment for DVT:
Patients with symptomatic acute DVT and large clots commonly perform DVT thrombolysis, a minimally invasive procedure that reduces symptoms and removes the clot from the deep veins. DVT thrombolysis is using ultrasound and x-ray guidance to insert a small catheter into the leg. To remove or shrink the clot and clot-dissolving medicines and mechanical devices can be inserted into the catheter. This procedure frequently uncovers one or more areas of vein narrowing that caused the blood clot to develop. This can be treated by angioplasty (widening the vein) or a stent (a mesh-like tube that keeps the vein open).
While the treatment involves a small risk of bleeding, DVT thrombolysis can help speed recovery from DVT and reduce future scarring of the veins caused by DVT. This may lower the risk of getting a severe condition called Post Thrombotic Syndrome (PTS). Depending on the age of the clot, DVT thrombolysis can be performed as an outpatient procedure or as a one to two-night hospital stay.
How Can Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?
Fortunately, there are steps you may take right now to reduce your risk of DVT. Here are some expert advice and strategies for preventing this medical illness:
- Move around frequently to get the blood flowing
- Attempt to get out of bed as quickly as possible after being confined to it (due to an injury, illness, surgery, etc.)
- During your lunch breaks, try to stretch and walk around (especially if you have a desk job)
- Exercise your legs when you are sitting by tightening and releasing the muscles in your legs
- Avoid wearing clothing that is too tight and instead go for a looser fit.
- Maintain a healthy weight or reduce your body fat percentage.
- Avoid a sedentary way of life.
- Quit smoking
- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Can Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Cause Stroke?
A: No, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) does not cause a stroke or a heart attack.
Q: Can young people also get DVT?
A: DVT can affect anyone at any age. However, risk factors such as pregnancy, surgery, inactivity, leg injury, smoking, and cancer treatment can increase the risk of developing DVT.
Q: Will DVT in pregnancy affect the baby?
A: Although women are 5 times more likely to get diagnosed with Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in pregnancy, it usually does not affect the baby unless there are serious complications.
Q: What foods help dissolve blood clots?
A: These are the foods that dissolve blood clots:
- Grape seed extract
- Garlic cloves
- Vitamin D3 and E rich foods
Q: Is walking good for blood clots?
A: Walking is recommended for people with DVT, as it increases blood circulation from your legs. Inactivity can easily form blood clots, hence walking, especially while inactive for long periods of time, can help suppress the symptoms of DVT.
Q: How long will I have to stay on blood thinners?
A: It depends on what caused your clot. Blood thinners are usually prescribed for 6 months after a DVT. It can take less time if the clot was caused by a single trigger, such as surgery, and you don’t have any other DVT risk factors. It may be longer if it was due to an inherited condition or an ongoing (chronic) disease.
About the Author:
Name: DR . SURESH GIRAGANI
DR. SURESH GIRAGANI CONSULTANT INTERVENTIONAL RADIOLOGIST at Yashoda group of hospitals has more than sixteen years of clinical experience in vascular interventions with a special interest in neurovascular and peripheral vascular disease interventional procedures.