Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is caused by a blood clot in a deep vein and can be life-threatening. Symptoms may include swelling, pain, and tenderness, often in the legs. Risk factors include immobility, hormone therapy, and pregnancy.
When a blood clot forms in one of your deep veins, it’s called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This can cause pain and swelling. If the clot breaks free, it can move through your bloodstream to other parts of your body. In rare cases, it can even cut off blood flow to your lungs.
DVT is tough to detect. That’s why it’s a good idea to know what puts you at risk so you can avoid getting it. Here are some things that increase your chances of DVT:
You’ve already had a blood clot. About 30% of people who’ve had DVT will have it again.
You have a family history of it. If a parent or sibling had DVT, you’re more at risk. If both your parents have been diagnosed, your chances may be even higher.
You’re over age 40. The odds that you’ll get DVT increase with your age.
You’re on bed rest or sit for long periods of time. The deep veins in the center of your legs depend on your muscles to force blood back to your lungs and heart. If your muscles don’t move for a while, blood starts to pool in your lower legs. This makes it more likely for a clot to form.
You’re pregnant or just gave birth. When you’re expecting a baby, your levels of the female hormone estrogen rise. This causes your blood to clot more easily. If you take birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, your chances of DVT also go up. That’s because many of these drugs contain estrogen.
What will treating DVT, a blood clot deep in a vein, do for you?
- It will prevent the clot from growing.
- It’ll keep the clot from breaking off and traveling to your lung or another organ.
- You’ll avoid long-lasting complications, such as leg pain and swelling.
- Treatment prevents future blood clots, too.
Often, medication and taking care of yourself will do the trick. But you may need surgery. Talk to your doctor about which medical treatment options are right for you.