Deep vein thrombosis

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Overview

Thrombosis is the medical term for the formation of a blood clot in a blood vessel. In deep vein thrombosis (DVT), the blood clot forms in one of the larger, deeper veins that run through the muscles. Deep vein thrombosis usually occurs in the lower leg.


It often goes unnoticed and dissolves on its own. But it may cause symptoms like pain and swelling. If someone is diagnosed with DVT, they will need treatment to avoid serious complications such as pulmonary embolism. This can occur if the blood clot breaks away from its original site and is carried to the lungs in the bloodstream.


The risk of deep vein thrombosis increases after more major operations such as knee or hip replacement surgery. Because of this, people who have had this kind of surgery are usually given medication to prevent blood clots from forming.

Symptoms

Leg swelling.

Leg pain, cramping or soreness that often starts in the calf.

Change in skin color on the leg — such as red or purple, depending on the color of your skin.

A feeling of warmth on the affected leg.

Causes

Age. Being older than 60 increases the risk of DVT . ...

Lack of movement. When the legs don't move for a long time, the calf muscles don't squeeze (contract). ...

Injury or surgery. ...

Pregnancy. ...

Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) or hormone replacement therapy. ...

Being overweight or obese. ...

Smoking. ...

Cancer.

Risk factors

Age. Being older than 60 increases the risk of DVT . ...

Lack of movement. ...

Injury or surgery. ...

Pregnancy. ...

Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) or hormone replacement therapy. ...

Being overweight or obese. ...

Smoking. ...

Cancer.

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Complications

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition involving the formation of a blood clot or thrombus in a deep vein. One may develop in a large vein deep inside the leg, arm, or other part of the body. Complications from deep vein thrombosis can be very serious. They can include pulmonary embolism (PE), chronic venous insufficiency, and post-thrombotic syndrome. 


You may hear healthcare providers use the term venous thromboembolism (VTE) to describe DVT and PE. They use the term VTE because the two conditions are very closely related. And, because their prevention and treatment are closely related. Pulmonary embolism (PE). PE is a potentially life-threatening complication associated with DVT . ...

Postphlebitic syndrome. Damage to the veins from the blood clot reduces blood flow in the affected areas. ...

Treatment complications. Blood thinners are often used to treat DVT .

Prevention

Drink lots of fluids. Wear loose-fitting clothing. Walk and stretch at regular intervals (for example, when traveling by car, make frequent stops to allow you to get out and stretch your legs). Special stockings that compress the legs below the knee may help prevent blood clots from forming.

Move your legs. If you've had surgery or have been on bed rest, try to move as soon as possible. Don't cross your legs while sitting. ...

Don't smoke. Smoking increases the risk of DVT .

Manage weight. Obesity is a risk factor for DVT . Regular exercise lowers the risk of blood clots.