Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is a blood clot in a vein that travels deep within the body as opposed to a superficial venous thrombosis, which is close to the surface of the skin. Deep vein thrombosis is more serious because of the increased risk for the clot to break off and travel to the lungs, leading to a serious condition called pulmonary embolism, which can be life-threatening. Deep vein thrombosis can happen in any part of the body, but the legs and pelvis are the most common. It can occur from a variety of causes.
After surgery that results in bed rest, a clot is more likely because of lack of movement in the legs and other parts of the body. This decreases the blood flow, and the slower flow causes the blood to pool, which in turn causes the molecules to stick together, resulting in clotting. Being under general anesthesia for longer than 30 minutes increases the risk as well. If the surgery damaged veins, a clot is more likely to form at the site of the damage. Damaged veins can release chemicals that cause blood clotting.
Illness and Injury
An illness that results in three or more days of bed rest can make deep vein thrombosis more likely for many of the same reasons as the bed rest following surgery. An injury that impedes the flow of blood to body parts, especially the legs, hip or pelvis, can lead to the condition as well. People over the age of 60 are more likely to develop DVT, although it can happen at any age. Those who have experienced deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism in the past are at increased risk for it to happen again. Some treatments for cancer cause it also.
Pregnancy and Child Birth
There is an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis for women during pregnancy and the first six weeks after giving birth. Those who give birth via C-section are at even higher risk. Hormone therapy for birth control or postmenopausal symptoms can trigger it as well.
Other factors that create an increased risk for deep vein thrombosis include:
• Conditions that make the blood thicker than normal, including inherited blood disorders
• Traveling, if the trip is lengthy and keeps the individual from being able to move around
• A central venous catheter that may be in place to allow access to the blood stream for administering medical treatment
Individuals who are at risk for deep vein thrombosis and experience any of the following symptoms should contact our doctor right away:
• Warm skin at or near the affected region
• Pain or tenderness in the affected muscle
• Sudden muscle fatigue
• Flushed and/or discolored skin in the affected area
• Visible surface veins
Schedule Your Appointment Today
If you or someone you love has deep vein thrombosis, the medical professionals at Beach Cities Vein and Laser Center are here to help every step of the way. After evaluating your condition, we can create a treatment plan that can help you to say goodbye to your symptoms. Our office is located in El Segundo, and we also serve the Los Angeles and surrounding areas. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to learn more.