Each year, about 350,000 Americans are diagnosed with Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), a serious medical condition that causes blood clots to form in the deep veins of your body resulting in pulmonary embolism and possibly death. If a blood clot breaks loose and travels through your bloodstream, it can lodge in your lungs cutting off blood flow completely. The condition doesn’t always present obvious symptoms, so you might be at risk and not even realize it.
Signs of DVT
Telltale symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis include:
- Leg pain
- Leg swelling
- Discolored or red skin
- A feeling of warmth
If you experience any of the symptoms of DVT, it’s important to seek professional medical help. The sooner you receive a diagnosis, the sooner you can take steps to improve your circulation and health.
Risk of DVT
Factors that increase your risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis include inheriting a blood-clotting disorder, experiencing an injury to one or more of the veins in your legs, and periods of prolonged bed rest.
You’re also more likely to experience DVT if you’re overweight, smoke, or take oral contraceptives.
To diagnose Deep Vein Thrombosis, Dr. Gerges reviews your medical history and asks about your symptoms and lifestyle. Afterward, he conducts a physical exam, feeling your legs for areas of swelling or tenderness and looking for signs of redness or skin discoloration.
If Dr. Gerges thinks you’re at risk of a blood clot, he orders an ultrasound. An ultrasound is a diagnostic imaging technique that uses high-frequency soundwaves to take pictures of the soft tissues in your body. Ultrasounds can pinpoint blood clots early on before they break off and trigger an embolism.
Treatment for Deep Vein Thrombosis depends on the severity of your symptoms and your risk of the blood clot breaking free and entering your lungs. Usually, Dr. Gerges recommends a combination of healthy lifestyle changes and prescription medication. You might benefit from:
- Blood thinners
- Clot-busting medication
- Compression stockings
- Vena cava filter (device placed in a large vein in the middle of your body to prevent blood clots from reaching your lungs)
During treatment, it’s important to stay physically active. The more you exercise and move around, the easier it is for your blood to circulate as it should.
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