Deep Vein Thrombosis (aka DVT): What it is and how to treat it

Deep Vein Thrombosis photo

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the right leg. Notice the swelling and slight discoloration

What is DVT?

Deep vein thrombosis, aka DVT, is the result of blood clots that form in the one of the deep veins of the leg or pelvis.

Deep Vein Thrombosis Treatment in WV

Symptoms of DVT

With such a scary sounding name, you may be surprised to learn that DVT’s usually are symptomless. However, that doesn’t mean that there are never any symptoms. The most common symptoms of DVT are:

  • Pain and heaviness
  • The DVT affected leg will oftenfeel painful, become red and tender to the touch, and feel heavy.

Dangers of DVT

DVT’s are so dangerous due to the fact that the blood clot can break free and make its way through the bloodstream into the lungs where it becomes trapped again. The result is a life-threatening condition called pulmonary embolism.

Risk Factors for DVT

The more of these risk factors you have, the greater your risk of developing DVT. These risk factors are:

  • Prolonged bed rest
  • Inactivity, such as with sit down jobs, long car trips, and air travel.
  • Genetic conditions that lead to an increased risk of clotting
  • Cancer and cancer treatment
  • Varicose veins
  • Pregnancy and 6 week postpartum
  • Age over 60
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Taking birth control pills and hormone replacement pills
  • Having a central venous catheter
  • Thickening of the blood from dehydration

Treatment for DVT

Treatment for DVT includes blood thinners, anti-clotting medication, and surgery.

Post Thrombotic Syndrome

Post thrombotic syndrome occurs in up to 40% of patients after a DVT. This condition causes chronic swelling of the legs with accompanying pain and discoloration of the skin. Skin ulceration may also develop.

How to Prevent DVT

The majority of people at risk of DVT can take steps to reduce their risk of developing DVT. These are:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Drink plenty of fluids, particularly water
  • Maintain a healthy weight & lifestyle
  • Elevate your legs when possible
  • Wear graduated compression socks
  • Limit the wearing of high heels

You should also see a vascular specialist to ensure that conditions such as varicose veins and post thrombotic syndrome are being properly treated.

Contact WV Vein and Skin Centers of Beckley and Charleston today for all of your vein care needs.

Charleston, WV office: 304-926-1001

Beckley, WV office: 304-252-3900