Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, typically in the leg. A blood clot is a gel-like mass formed by platelets that can block a vein. This causes significant problems, as blood flow past the clot is decreased.
March is Deep Vein Thrombosis Awareness Month. According to research from the American Health Association, 74 percent of Americans have little or no awareness of DVT, yet two million people are affected each year.
What should you know about this disease and it’s prevention?
How Serious Is a DVT?
A thrombus (blood clot) that loosens can become lodged in the lungs, which can be life threatening. Called pulmonary embolism (PE), this occurrence proves fatal about 25 percent of the time, causing as many as 100,000 fatalities annually.
Blood clots can affect anyone, at any age. Unfortunately, not everyone with deep vein thrombosis experiences noticeable symptoms. The most common signs of DVT include:
- Leg pain
While these symptoms may be confused for a pulled muscle or another similar condition, it’s important to see a doctor – especially if you’re at increased risk for DVT or pulmonary embolism.
Symptoms of pulmonary embolism include shortness of breath, rapid breathing and heart rate, chest pain and lightheadedness. A person experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention right away.
DVT Risk Factors
Immobility is a big factor in the development of deep vein thrombosis. If you have been sedentary for a prolonged period, perhaps in the hospital or recovering from surgery at home, blood circulation may be negatively affected. Other risk factors include:
- Old age
- Family history
Blood clots claim more lives each year than AIDS, breast cancer and motor vehicle accidents. For Deep Vein Thrombosis Awareness Month, help us spread the word about this dangerous health concern. Please share this article using the social share buttons below.
To assess your symptoms, address vein issues or discuss risk for blood clots, request a consultation today.