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5 Signs of Deep Vein Thrombosis

5 Signs of Deep Vein Thrombosis

While we spend a good deal of time focusing on heart attack and stroke, did you know that vascular issues — deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) — are the third most common form of cardiovascular disease?

Each year in the United States, about 200,000 people develop DVT, and it’s estimated that as many as 900,000 people could be affected by DVT and PE combined.

These vascular issues are not only common, they can be life-threatening, so it’s worth understanding what you can about them. To that end, the team here at Humble Cardiology Associates, led by Dr. Madaiah Revana, takes a closer look at deep vein thrombosis in this month’s blog post, including some of the more common warning signs of the problem.

A brief description of deep vein thrombosis

In layman's terms, DVT describes a blood clot in one of your major blood vessels, most commonly those located in your legs, thighs, or pelvis, though clots can form in other areas.

As you might imagine, as the blood clot grows, it can disrupt the blood flow in your vein and compromise your circulation. Our biggest concern, however, is if the clot dislodges and makes its way through your veins and into your lungs, where it can create a pulmonary embolism, which is a life-threatening event.

Recognizing the warning signs of deep vein thrombosis

To begin our discussion about the signs of DVT, we’re going to start with the reality that not everyone develops noticeable side effects. About 30% of people with DVT experience no symptoms. More challenging still is the fact that sudden death is the first symptom in one-quarter of people with pulmonary embolism, which, as we discussed, is often tied to DVT.

For those who do develop signs of DVT, they most often include:

  1. Swelling in the area of the clot, usually in your leg
  2. Pain and/or tenderness near the clot
  3. Skin redness around the clot
  4. Skin warmth near the clot
  5. Larger surface veins around the clot

 

These are all symptoms that occur when the clot remains in the original location. If it breaks free and travels to your lung, you will experience a sudden onset of the following symptoms:

 

These side effects point toward a pulmonary embolism, which is an emergency and you need to get to a hospital immediately.

What we do to treat deep vein thrombosis

If we diagnose you with DVT, our overriding goals are to:

To do this, we often start with blood-thinning medications, as well as compression socks that help improve circulation in your legs. We also recommend elevating your legs regularly and strengthening the muscles in your legs to help push blood back to your heart. Moving around can also be helpful.

It's rare that we need to correct DVT surgically, but if the clot poses a significant threat, we can go in with a catheter to place a filter in your vein that will prevent the clot from reaching your lungs.

If you're experiencing any strange and unaccountable symptoms in one of your legs, it’s important to have us check it out to determine whether a clot may be present. This early intervention can make all the difference in avoiding a more serious issue like pulmonary embolism.

If you have more questions about deep vein thrombosis, please don’t hesitate to contact us at one of our two offices in Humble or Houston, Texas. Click here to schedule an appointment.

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