Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

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Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT is a medical condition in which blood clots occur in veins, usually in the legs. This disease is relatively dangerous and can have a fatal impact on your health.

Symptoms of deep vein thrombosis include swelling, pain, and chronic pain in your leg. 

If not treated immediately, deep vein thrombosis may run a risk of death. There is a possibility of the blood clots releasing from the veins, traveling up to the lungs, then getting stuck in the arteries. This condition is called a pulmonary embolism. 

Causes of Deep Vein Thrombosis

There are many factors that can cause a person to develop deep vein thrombosis. In particular, people with certain risk factors are more likely to develop this disease. These risk factors include:

  • Elderly people. Generally, deep vein thrombosis is more likely to affect people over 60.
  • Pregnant women. Increased weight in pregnant women puts pressure on the blood vessels around the legs. Blood clots can also occur around 6 weeks after giving birth. 
  • Overweight people. The veins in the legs of obese people are under more pressure and are affected by deep vein thrombosis.
  • Smokers. The blood cells in smokers tend to be thicker and have the potential to damage the lining of blood vessels. When this happens, lumps are easier to form.

Apart from certain risk factors, deep vein thrombosis is also caused by other factors such as:

  • Sitting in the same position for long periods of time. This causes the muscles around the legs to become loose – which can slow down blood circulation. This usually occurs when a person goes on a long trip by car or plane.
  • Undergoing inpatient care. Lying in the hospital bed continuously can also loosen your muscles and slow down blood circulation
  • Genetic blood disorders. Some genetic diseases cause blood to become thicker and more prone to clotting.

Although deep vein thrombosis can be caused by numerous factors, it is not uncommon if a patient diagnosed with DVT experiences blood clots without a specific cause.

When to See a Doctor for Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Patients diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis will be treated by a hematologist. First, the specialist doctor will diagnose the disease using ultrasound. 

Through an ultrasound scan, the doctor will check if the blood in the patient’s body flows normally in the blood vessels.

In addition to an ultrasound scan, a diagnosis can also be made by conducting X-rays of blood vessels, also known as venography. This examination is done by injecting a dye into the patient’s vein, then taking an X-ray to locate the blood clots.

Patients who suffer from deep vein thrombosis due to pregnancy will undergo a slightly different process of examination and treatment. The haematologist will consult an obstetrician and gynecologist first.

Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis

There are several symptoms that indicate a person has deep vein thrombosis, such as:

  • Pain and cramps in one leg – usually occurs in the calf or thigh. 
  • Swelling of one leg.
  • Skin around the affected leg feels warm 
  • Skin redness around the sore leg.
  • Swollen veins

In addition to symptoms affecting the leg, there are also other symptoms such as: 

  • Shortness of breath.
  • Chest pain that gets worse when you inhale deeply.
  • Coughing up blood
  • Increased heart rate.

Treatment for Deep Vein Thrombosis

Treatments for deep vein thrombosis can be done by stopping blood clots. This will help prevent clots from getting bigger, breaking off the veins, and getting stuck  in the lungs.

There are several procedures taken by doctors to stop clotting and prevent the patient from dealing with deep vein thrombosis again in the future, namely:

  • Medications. The medicines commonly used to treat deep vein thrombosis are blood thinners. Doctors will require patients to consume this medicine for approximately 6 months.
  • Thrombolytic medicines. The doctor may prescribe this medicine if the blood clot does not improve after 6 months. Thrombolytics have dangerous side effects that include sudden bleeding. Therefore, doctors rarely recommend it. 
  • IVC filter. IVC or Inferior Vena Cava Filter is a technique that inserts a small, cone-shaped filter into the inferior kafa vein –  the largest vein. This filter will be placed if the patient’s condition cannot be cured through medications
  • Compression stockings. A type of elastic stocking specially designed to press the feet. These stockings are very tight around the ankles, but looser at the knees. The pressure from this stocking serves to prevent blood from collecting in the veins. You can generally find compression stockings at a pharmacy.

In pregnant patients with deep vein thrombosis, the treatment is done in a slightly different way. Patients will be injected with anticoagulant drugs until the sixth week of pregnancy.

Treatment Cost for Deep Vein Thrombosis

The cost for deep vein thrombosis treatment varies — depending on the symptoms, the causes, treatment method, and patient’s condition.  

For more information regarding the estimated costs of deep vein thrombosis treatment, contact Smarter Health

Prevention of Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis is more likely to affect patients with certain risk factors, including:

  • People over 60 years of age
  • Pregnant women
  • Active smokers
  • Obese people

Preventive measures for deep vein thrombosis include: 

  • Exercise regularly. By exercising, you can maintain your ideal weight. Being overweight puts pressure on the blood vessels and causes clots. Therefore, regular exercise can prevent you from deep vein thrombosis. You can run, swim, and cycle.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking thickens your blood and makes it easier to clot. You can try to get used to chewing gum or consume medicines to help you stop smoking 
  • Check your blood pressure regularly. Blood pressure tests should be done at least once a year. Controlling blood pressure can also help prevent deep vein thrombosis.
  • Drink more mineral water to avoid dehydration. According to research, the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis are more likely to develop when a person is dehydrated.

Home Remedies for Patients Diagnosed with Deep Vein Thrombosis

If medications and IVC filters do not work, the doctor may advise the patient to undergo surgery. After surgery, patients are required to recover either in the hospital or at home.

After surgery, home care for deep vein thrombosis patients can be done by regularly consuming medicines prescribed by the doctor. The prescribed medications usually include blood thinners, such as edoxaban, dabigatran, and so on. In addition, patients can also use compression sleeves at home to speed up recovery. 

While sleeping, try to position your feet higher than the pillow end. It is better if you do not use pillows under your legs. This can help prevent pain or a tingling sensation in your legs

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