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Deep vein thrombosis – all you need to know

Deep vein thrombosis is a serious disease in which a blood clot forms in a vein deep under the skin. It is a cluster of blood cells that form something like a lump.

Blood clots often form in the veins in the thighs, but they can form anywhere in fact.

Symptoms of deep vein thrombosis

The most common, typical symptoms that may indicate a thrombosis include:

– swelling of the foot, ankle or leg (most often on one side);
– pain in the foot, leg, calf for no known reason;
– the diseased leg feels warmer to the touch than the other one;
– the skin on the affected limb is often pale or red or even bluish.

Deep vein thrombosis

People who suffer from thrombosis in the upper limb often don’t have these symptoms, so it’s harder to diagnose. However, there are some symptoms that may indicate it. These are for example:

pain in the arm, forearm, neck;
swelling of the arm, hand;
weakness in the hands;
bluish skin tone.

A pulmonary embolism occurs when a clot enters the lungs. It is a life-threatening condition and requires urgent medical attention.

Deep vein thrombosis – causes

Deep vein thrombosis is caused by a blood clot. The clot blocks the vein, preventing blood from circulating properly in the body. Blood clotting can be caused by some factors.

Blood vessel damage – damage to the blood vessel wall can contribute to blockage of blood flow, which can cause a clot to form. Damage can also be the result of surgery.
Inactivity – When you sit down frequently, the blood circulation is restricted and it collects due to gravity in the lower body. If you are unable to move for a long time, the blood flow to the legs is low. This could cause a clot to form.
Medications – Certain medications increase the risk of a blood clot.

Treatment

Deep vein thrombosis is a life-threatening disease and therefore requires specialist treatment. If you notice any disturbing symptoms, it is necessary to contact a doctor as soon as possible. Treatment is mainly based on stopping the blood from clotting and stopping the clot from growing. Treatment also prevents pulmonary embolism. The doctor most often diagnoses thrombosis using ultrasound of the veins and general history and palpitations.

Medicines

If your doctor diagnoses you with deep vein thrombosis, or determines that the risk of developing it is high, he will certainly prescribe blood thinning medications. These are drugs based on substances such as – heparin, warfarin, enoxaparin. They reduce blood clotting and thin it. They also prevent the growth of existing clots.

In the advanced stage of the disease, the doctor prescribes thrombolytic drugs that break down existing clots.

Compression stockings

In the case of a high risk of thrombosis, the use of compression stockings is a good solution. They prevent swelling, blood clots and reduce varicose veins. They are in the form of long knee socks that are worn over the calf or over the knee. You can even wear them every day.

Operation

Your doctor may also refer you to surgery to remove the clots. These treatments are recommended when there is a large number of clots. The surgeon makes an incision in a blood vessel and then removes the clot.

How can I prevent blood clots?

It is worth remembering about movement and physical activity. If you are sedentary, your main job is sitting in front of the computer, try to do light exercise to keep your legs moving and to improve blood circulation. All you have to do is get up once an hour and take a walk around the house. You can also swing your legs while sitting. Also, lift your feet up, keeping your heels on the floor.

If you are at risk of blood clots, try to walk a lot – take a walk, get off 1 stop early, go to a store further downstairs for light shopping. Remember that shorter walks are better than one longer walk.

If you are sitting for a long time, remember to raise your legs high from time to time. When you stand still, blood collects in the lower body and this can lead to clots.

Who is at risk of thrombosis?

Thrombosis is more common in people over 50, However, it can happen also in younger people. Certain factors can contribute to the formation of blood clots. These are for example:

injuries, e.g. fractures;
overweight;
hormonal drugs;
smoking;
low motor activity;
will stay in one position for a long time;
genetic predisposition;
blood coagulation disorders;
tumors;
heart diseases

Recently, there has been a series of discussions about the coronavirus vaccine that may also increase the incidence of deep vein thrombosis, but these data have not been confirmed and no association has been established between the vaccine and thrombosis.

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