Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Question & Answer
On the surface, varicose veins may seem to be a cosmetic issue. In reality, they aren’t something to ignore. Over time, these bulging, branch-like veins can increase your risk of developing conditions that can have a more serious impact on your health. The best vascular surgeons in Orlando at Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center would like to discuss one of the most serious potential conditions often stemming from varicose veins: deep vein thrombosis.
What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Deep vein thrombosis is the medical term for a blood clot. These often form when blood is moving too slowly through your veins and are most likely to form in your lower legs, thighs, or pelvis. Why are they linked to varicose veins? It’s because varicose veins form when valves in your veins are damaged or weakened, making them less capable of pushing blood upward through the leg. As blood pools in the vein, and as a result, a varicose vein is formed — a perfect environment for a blood clot to form.
You should speak to a doctor immediately if you think you may have a blood clot. They often come coupled with the following symptoms:
- Sudden swelling in your leg
- Pain when you stand or walk that often starts as a cramping sensation in your calf
- A painful, warm area develops in your leg
- Skin is red or discolored
DVT Risk Factors
Risk factors for DVT include:
- Long periods sitting or standing
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Birth control or hormone replacement therapy
- Underlying health conditions, such as heart failure or diabetes
- Long-haul flights
- Long drives
- Blood disorders (hypercoagulability or thick blood)
What Causes Deep Vein Thrombosis?
While varicose veins can be a contributing factor to deep vein thrombosis, there are a variety of risk factors to be mindful about. These include:
- Sitting for a long time. Whether it’s for work or travel, sitting can be troublesome for your circulation. Make sure to take time to move throughout the day if sitting for extended periods of time is part of your routine.
- Extended bed rest. Bed rest is common for recovering from an illness or injury, but the lack of movement in the leg can be bad for your circulation.
- Pregnancy. Being pregnant puts excess pressure on the lower legs and pelvis. This can lead to varicose veins and increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis.
- Obesity. Being overweight can also put more pressure on your veins, increasing your risk.
- Smoking. We’ve all heard the dangers of smoking for your overall health. An increased risk of blood clots is just one of the many dangers.
- Birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy. These changes in hormones can increase your risk of clotting.
- Family history. Be mindful of your own family’s vein health. If you have a family member who has experienced blood clots, you may be at a higher risk.
How to Prevent DVT
If you want to prevent DVT, make sure you:
- Stand up and walk around periodically on long flights.
- Take rest breaks and walk around regularly on long car rides.
- Avoid crossing your legs when you sit for long periods of time.
- Talk to your doctor about compression socks if you are at risk of DVT.
- Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.
- Avoid tight clothing, especially if you will be sitting for long periods of time.
- Stop smoking.
- Stay hydrated to keep fluids moving in your body.
How to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis After Surgery
Surgery can put you at risk of DVT because you are immobile for an extended period of time during the surgery and during recovery. DVT is most likely to happen during general anesthesia. Once ambulatory the risk is reduced but increased if sedentary.
To reduce your risk, always follow your surgeon’s and doctor’s instructions. Your doctor may tell you to start walking around a day or two after your operation. Be sure to keep walking and moving as much as you can and as much as your doctor advises. After you return home, get back to gentle physical activity once your medical team clears you for movement.
When Should I Seek Medical Attention?
Deep vein thrombosis should be taken very seriously. If left untreated, the clot can break free from where it formed and be carried through the bloodstream to your lung. This condition, called a pulmonary embolism, can be fatal. You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Any difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Coughing up blood
- Increased heart rate
- Feelings of lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
Pictures Of Deep Vein Thrombosis
Additional Deep Vein Thrombosis Resources
- Cancer and Links to DVT
Connect with a DVT Specialist in Central Florida
Don’t wait to see a specialist if you have concerns about your vein health. The best vascular surgeons in Orlando at Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center are here to help your veins be as healthy as possible. If you have vein concerns, you can schedule a consultation with our specialists by calling 407-545-3385 or 352-658-5547 today.