Many of the terms that are used when describing vascular diseases and conditions can be very confusing, especially for those seeing them or hearing them for the first time. We make every effort to explain your diagnosis and recommended treatment options as clearly and understandably as possible, but during your visits or while reading our website or doing research, you may come across new terminology.
One condition we haven’t talked at length about is DVT, or deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot that usually forms in the extremities (arms or legs) and if untreated, the clot can break off, travel through your bloodstream and lead to a pulmonary embolus, or blood clot in the lung. This is a very serious and potentially life-threatening condition that may require immediate medical attention. Symptoms of DVT include swelling of the affected arm or leg, pain or tenderness, and warmth in the area. If any of these symptoms are noticed, it is crucial that you seek medical advice immediately. However, it’s also possible that a DVT can occur with no symptoms. Usually, a vascular ultrasound is used to determine if a DVT is present or not and will be ordered by your health care provider. If detected, a DVT can be treated medically with anti-coagulants (i.e. “blood-thinners”) and in some severe or urgent cases, through invasive procedures to remove or dissolve the clot.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “deep vein thrombosis can develop if you have certain medical conditions that affect how your blood clots. It can also happen if you don’t move for a long time, such as after surgery or an accident, or when you’re confined to bed.”
There are some practical steps that you can take to help avoid the likelihood that you will develop a DVT.
- Maintain a health weight – being overweight will tend to increase your risk for developing DVTs
- Keep moving – exercise regularly and stay active.
- Avoid long periods of remaining still.
- Wear compression socks or stockings that are designed to enhance blood flow.
DVT is also associated with other vascular issues such as varicose veins and peripheral vascular disease. If you have varicose veins, they may also be a sign of a blockage in deeper which is DVT.