What is deep vein thrombosis?
Pulmonary embolism (PE) usually occurs when a blood clot, called deep vein thrombosis (DVT), often travels to your lungs and lungs in your leg and blocks a blood vessel. This can cause low oxygen levels in your blood. It can damage the lungs and other organs and even cause heart failure.
Pulmonary embolism can be fatal, so if you have deep vein thrombosis, you should be aware of this risk. Follow your deep vein thrombosis treatment plan to prevent clots from enlarging and to prevent new clots.
Symptoms of deep vein thrombosis
Some blood clots in the veins of the legs do not cause any symptoms. However, when blood clots form in large veins, they usually cause:
- A sensation of heaviness in the leg, particularly when you’ve been standing
- Leg pain and tenderness
You can check for edema by pressing your finger on your leg. If you have edema, pressure from your finger will create a small gash in your leg for several seconds. Pulmonary embolism does not cause any symptoms, mild symptoms, or severe symptoms indicating a life-threatening emergency. Symptoms become more severe when the blood clot is large.
Symptoms of large clots include sudden shortness of breath and chest pain. Pain is like a knife. This can be very serious if you breathe deeply. If the pulmonary embolism is very large, the symptoms can be more dramatic. They can include epileptic seizures, severe shortness of breath, and coughing up blood. Large pulmonary embolism can cause sudden death.
Causes of deep vein thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis blood clots usually prevent your blood from circulating or clotting, that is, venous damage, surgery, certain medications, and limited movement.
Risk factors for deep vein thrombosis
Almost anyone can have a deep vein thrombosis. However, certain factors can increase the chance of having this condition. The chance increases even more for someone who has more than one of these factors at the same time.
- Injury to a vein
- Slow blood flow
- Increased estrogen
- Certain chronic medical illnesses
- Other factors that increase the risk
- Injury or surgery. Venous or surgical damage increases the risk of blood clots.
- Inheriting a blood clotting disorder. Some people inherit their disorder, which makes it easier for the blood to clot. This condition does not cause the blood to clot unless it is combined with one or more risk factors.
- Heart failure. This increases your risk for deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Because heart and lung function is limited in people with heart failure, symptoms of a small pulmonary embolism are also more common.
- The pregnancy. Pregnancy increases the pressure on the veins in the pelvis and legs. Women with the inherited bleeding disorder are at special risk. The risk of blood clots from the uterus lasts up to six weeks after giving birth to your baby.
- Sitting for long periods of time while driving or flying. When your legs are on for hours, the muscles in your calves do not contract, which generally promotes blood circulation. If your calf muscles do not move for a long time, blood will clot in your calves.
- Of smoking. Smoking affects blood clotting and circulation, increasing the risk of deep vein thrombosis.
- Some types of cancer increase the number of substances in your blood that can cause your blood to clot. Certain types of cancer treatment also increase the risk of blood clots.
If a person suspects they have DVT, they should seek medical help immediately. Before performing the physical exam, the doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and medical history.
- Venogram: If ultrasound and D-dimer tests do not provide enough information, the doctor may order a scan. The doctor will stain the vein in the foot, knee, or groin. X-ray images can follow the color as it moves to reveal the location of the blood clot.
- D-dimer test: Blood clotting Fibrinolysis D-dimer is the protein component of blood after clotting. A test result that reveals more than a specific result for a D-dimer indicates a blood clot. However, with some inflammatory conditions and after surgery, this test may not be reliable.
- Other imaging scans: MRI and computed tomography show the presence of clots. These scans can detect blood clots when tested for other health problems.
- Ultrasound: This type of scan can detect clots in the veins, changes in blood flow, and whether the clot is severe or chronic.
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe a medicine called a thrombolytic to dissolve the clot. These drugs can save your life, but they can also cause bleeding. You must be in the hospital and the staff will take care of you.
For some very serious cases, a specialist may need to perform surgery. If your symptoms are not life-threatening, or the thrombolytic use is too dangerous, your doctor may prescribe medicine that will stop the clotting process or prevent the platelets in your blood from sticking together. They don’t break down clots, but they don’t get bigger when your body melts.
Once you get deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, the goal is to shrink and prevent further clots. Take the anticoagulant prescribed by your doctor and go through all subsequent appointments to make sure you do not develop this condition again.
- Avoid sitting for a long time. When you have to travel by plane or car, get up and walk every hour with the blood flowing through your legs.
- Try to exercise more. Being active can prevent blood clots from forming.
- Wear compression stockings. These put gentle pressure on the legs to prevent swelling and keep the blood from clotting. They help prevent both deep vein thrombosis and PTS.
- Keep your legs horizontal while seated to help your blood flow faster.