The presence of deep vein thrombosis in your legs might not seem like a cause for alarm. However, what you might not know is that it’s a ticking time bomb that can only lead to worse conditions if not treated right away.
For one, it can block the flow of blood back to your heart, and it can even damage those one-way valves that are found in your veins. Fortunately, early detection can help you prevent such things from happening and seek appropriate treatment immediately.
That said, here are the early symptoms you need to watch out for so you can detect DVT before it worsens:
- Swelling in one of your legs (in rare cases, you might experience swelling in both of them)
- Skin discoloration in your legs
- A warm feeling in the affected leg
- Pain that has the same feeling as soreness or cramping
- Red, swollen, or hard veins in your leg
What are its possible causes?
“DVT doesn’t just occur suddenly. In fact, there are a lot of possible causes alongside risk factors that can cause you to develop the condition. It’s basically caused when a blood clot blocks a vein, thereby blocking proper blood flow in the body,”says Dr.Samaan,a cardiologist at Doctor Spring.
Clotting can be due to a number of reasons such as the following:
- Damaged blood vessels that might occur during surgery. There’s also an increased risk of developing blood clots when you’re engaged in very little to no movement at all during a bed rest following surgery.
- Taking certain medications which can raise the chances of blood clotting
- Inactivity such as sitting frequently for long periods of time, causing blood to gather in your legs
- Hypercoagulability, a condition that causes your blood to clot more than usual
- Trauma to your body, especially in the lower extremities
- Vasculitis and other related medical conditions affecting the veins
- Pregnancy or childbirth
Apart from these causes, you are also 33% more likely of developing another DVT within just 10 years once you have suffered from a recent deep vein thrombosis.
How is the condition treated?
As mentioned earlier, DVT is a serious condition that should be treated immediately. Therefore, after confirming any of the early symptoms, it’s advised that you consult your doctor for appropriate treatment.
Here are some of the treatments used to deal with deep vein thrombosis:
Without the need to undergo surgery, your doctor will prescribe certain medications designed for thinning your blood. Medications like enoxaparin, heparin, or warfarin are all designed to make it a lot harder for your blood to clot. Apart from that, they also reduce the chances of you getting more blood clots.
However, if your case is more severe where blood thinners can be ineffective, your doctor will use thrombolytic drugs instead. These drugs break up clots and prevent them from occurring. However, it’s a more invasive procedure than other medications.
Filters could be an option if you can’t take thinners. With this treatment, clots are prevented from entering your lungs by placing a filter inside your vena cava. However, filters can sometimes be risky as they can instead cause DVT if left inside for too long. They’re only advised to be used for a short-term period.
3. Compression Stockings
A compression stocking can do wonders in preventing swelling on your legs, thereby reducing your chances of developing blood clots and DVT. Your doctor might have you wear it on a daily basis.
How to prevent DVT from happening
Fortunately, there are several ways you can follow to prevent the onset of DVT in the first place. They’re as follows:
1. Make a lifestyle switch
If you’ve been living a sedentary lifestyle up ‘til now, then it’s time to switch it up. Instead of sitting on the couch all day, you should incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Light exercises such as walking and biking can do a great job of preventing DVT from occurring.
Also, you need to keep your diet in check. Engage in a high-fiber diet and eat lots of fruits and vegetables. If you smoke, then now’s the time to quit! While it might sound difficult, you can actually make use of nicotine patches or prescription medications to make the process a lot easier.
It’s also advised to get up from your chair at least once every hour – and avoid crossing your legs! Doing so will only hamper blood flow which increases the chances of developing blood clots.
2. Consult your doctor regarding your medications
Another way to prevent DVT is informing your doctor about the medications you’re taking. If you’re taking birth control pills, make sure to inform your doctor about it. The same goes for hormone replacement therapy or high-dose estrogen pills.
It also helps if you inform your doctor if you’ve suffered from blood clotting problems or if any of your close family.
The Bottom Line
Deep vein thrombosis can be a serious condition but one that can be prevented. Regular exercise, proper diet, and lifestyle changes can significantly prevent the likelihood of you getting it. However, if you’re already suffering from the condition, then don’t hesitate to talk with your doctor about it immediately.