Deep vein thrombosis is a condition caused by a blood clot in a deep vein. It most commonly occurs in the legs.
What are the Symptoms?
Deep vein thrombosis can be insidious; half the time, there aren’t any symptoms. When there are symptoms, they tend to occur suddenly. A person should, therefore, get to our office if they develop any of the following:
• Swelling in one or both legs
• Visible veins
• Tenderness or pain in one or both legs
• Abnormally warm skin on a leg
• Tired legs
• Discolored or reddish skin on a leg
Sometimes, a blood clot breaks loose. If it ends up in the lungs, it can cause a potentially lethal condition called pulmonary embolism. The patient should call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately if they develop any of the following symptoms:
• Sharp chest pain
• Sudden coughing that might bring up blood
• Severe lightheadedness
• Hyperventilating or shortness of breath
What Causes Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Deep vein thrombosis is caused by a blood clot, which in turn is caused by poor blood flow that allows blood cells to clump together and form a clot. Blood clots themselves have multiple causes. A susceptibility to forming blood clots can run in families.
Many diseases of the cardiovascular system increase the chances of developing a blood clot. Examples include atherosclerosis, peripheral artery disease and heart failure. Polycythemia vera is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow produces far too many blood cells that might crowd together and form a clot.
Any disease or condition that renders the patient bedridden or immobile increases the risk of blood clots. If the patient lies flat and can’t move their legs, the blood will eventually collect in the legs, and the cells might clump together. A patient who has undergone major surgery is also at risk of developing blood clots. Pregnancy increases the chance of blood clots. Smoking or being overweight increases the risk of blood clots.
Some medications might cause a patient to develop blood clots. Examples include hormone therapy medications, birth control pills and some breast cancer drugs.
How is Deep Vein Thrombosis Treated?
The primary goals of treatment will be to keep the clot from breaking loose and getting to the lungs and to keep it from getting any bigger. Preventing the formation of more clots will be a secondary concern.
Our doctor may prescribe anti-coagulants or blood thinners. While they can’t break down existing clots, they do prevent new clots from forming. Thrombolytics or clot busters are prescribed if the blood thinners don’t work or the patient is in serious condition. Catheter-directed dissolving methods may also be used. Compression stockings prevent the patient’s legs from swelling. They are generally worn on the lower leg from the knee to the foot.
During a consultation at Peripheral Vascular Associates, you can get your questions about deep vein thrombosis answered. Let our medical professionals be your guide as you determine which treatment method is best for relieving you of your symptoms. We have locations in San Antonio, Boerne, Corpus Christi, Del Rio, Floresville, Hondo, Jourdanton, New Braunfels and Uvalde. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.