Blood Clots: What You Need to Know About Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep Vein Thrombosis,Dr. Imtiaz Ahmad, Comprehensive Vein Treatment Center

When it comes to your health, especially your vascular health, a little knowledge can go a long way, and may even save your, or a loved one’s, life. While we don’t like using scare tactics as a motivation tool, the fact is that safeguarding your cardiovascular health often comes down to recognizing the early signs of trouble so we can take action. Deep vein thrombosis is a prime example of this, which is why we’ve pulled together the following primer on the condition.

Here at Comprehensive Vein Treatment Center, Dr. Imtiaz Ahmad believes in the old saw: Forewarned is forearmed. With this in mind, he gives his patients in Trenton, New Jersey, the tools they need to preserve their vascular health for years to come.

If you’d like to explore the world of blood clots and deep vein thrombosis, here’s what you need to know and, more importantly, what you can do.

By the numbers

As we stated above, scare tactics aren’t a great way to start a health conversation, but they’re sometimes necessary to drive a point home. So let’s review some of the numbers surrounding deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). According to the CDC, as many as 900,000 people may be affected by DVT/PE in the United States each year, which can lead to serious health complications and sometimes death. Bear in mind that they also call DVT/PE “underdiagnosed and serious, but preventable medical conditions.”

Why preventable? Because some people are more at risk than others, which allows them the chance to be more vigilant.

DVT 101

Before we get into the risks and warning signs, it’s helpful to quickly review what DVT is. As the name implies, the condition is caused when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in your lower leg, thigh, pelvis, and, less commonly, your arm. This clot can cause long-term damage to the valves in the vein in a condition known as post-thrombotic syndrome, but the more serious complication occurs when the clot moves into your lung, which leads to a pulmonary embolism.

If your clot breaks off and moves through your bloodstream to your lungs, it can prevent blood from reaching your lungs, which can be fatal. In less severe cases, the clot may seriously hamper blood flow to your lungs, which can damage your pulmonary system, leaving you with a lifetime of potential complications. In fact, approximately 30% of those who’ve had DVT or PE are at a greater risk of recurrence.

Know the risks

DVT can affect almost anyone, but there are some situations that put you more at risk. For example, if you’ve injured a vein in a fracture or you’ve had surgery in your abdomen, hips, or legs, your risk for DVT is heightened.

And while the injury may not directly affect your vascular health, blood clots can form after prolonged periods of rest or immobility. Think about wearing a cast or being confined to a bed as primary examples.

For women, a rise in estrogen levels can lead to DVT, so consider those things that cause increased estrogen in your body, such as birth control pills, pregnancy, and hormone replacement therapies.

Lastly, your existing health issues can play a significant role in whether you develop DVT, so people with heart or lung disease need to be on higher alert.

If you fall into any of these categories, check with us about taking precautions to head off DVT.

Know the signs

Unfortunately, half of all people with DVT don’t have any symptoms, but it can make itself known through pain and swelling near the affected vein, as well as tenderness and redness. If you’re experiencing any of these signs, get in to see us as soon as possible so we can run a thorough diagnostic evaluation.

If the blood clot breaks off and moves to your lungs, you may experience difficulty breathing, chest pain or tightness, and faintness. You may also cough up blood. In these cases, go straight to the emergency room.

 

If you have any further questions about deep vein thrombosis, we invite you to call us or use the online scheduling tool to set up an appointment.

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