What is Deep Vein Thrombosis? - Peripheral Vascular Associates
What is Deep Vein Thrombosis? - Peripheral Vascular Associates

What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?


Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a serious condition that occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs. In some patients, the clots may be in more than one vein, but the hallmark of DVT is a swollen arm or leg on either the left or right side.

What Are the Signs?

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)  signs and symptoms can include

  • Pain or soreness when you stand or walk
  • Swelling in your foot, ankle, or leg, usually on one side
  • An area of skin that feels warmer than the skin on the surrounding areas
  • Enlarged veins
  • Red or discolored skin on the leg.

Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) are not always present.

What Causes DVT?

The blood clots of deep vein thrombosis can be caused by anything that prevents your blood from circulating or clotting normally, such as injury to a vein, surgery, certain medications and limited movement.

Many factors can increase your risk of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). The more you have, the greater your risk of DVT.

Risk factors include:

  • DVT can happen at any age, but your risk is greater after age 40.
  • Sitting for long periods. When you sit for long stretches of time, the muscles in your lower legs stay lax. This makes it hard for blood to circulate, or move around, the way it should. Long flights or car rides can put you at risk.
  • Bed rest, like when you’re in the hospital for a long time, can also keep your muscles still and raise your odds of DVT.
  • Pregnancy. Carrying a baby puts more pressure on the veins in your legs and pelvis. What’s more, a clot can happen up to 6 weeks after you give birth.
  • Obesity. People with a body mass index (BMI) over 30 have a higher chance of DVT. This measures how much body fat you have, compared with your height and weight.
  • Serious health issues. Conditions like Irritable bowel disease, cancer, and heart disease can all raise your risk.
  • Certain inherited blood disorders. Some diseases that run in families can make your blood thicker than normal or cause it to clot more than it should.
  • Injury to a vein. This could result from a broken bone, surgery, or other trauma.
  • Smoking makes blood cells stickier than they should be. It also harms the lining of your blood vessels. This makes it easier for clots to form.
  • Birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy. The estrogen in these raises your blood’s ability to clot. (Progesterone-only pills don’t have the same risk.)

How Is DVT Treated?

Treatment for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)  should begin immediately. The goals of DVT treatment are to relieve the swelling and to prevent the clots from traveling to the heart and lungs. Reducing the formation of blood clots by medication is a mainstay of treatment. Actively removing the clots using catheter directed dissolving techniques can dramatically reduce the long term and short term consequences of DVT. Elastic compression stockings may also be used to reduce swelling and prevent blood from pooling in your veins and legs

At PVA, we offer accurate diagnostic testing for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and same day treatment.

Peripheral Vascular Associates is proud to serve the San Antonio community and surrounding areas in vascular disease education, prevention, and treatment for over 43 years. Our vascular physicians are dedicated to helping our patients better understand how we can help them with vascular disease. If you would like more information about vascular health, please contact us or schedule an appointment at (210) 237-4444.

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