An active life interrupted by DVT
At 47, Rick was a healthy, active guy who enjoyed playing tennis and watching sports with friends. One day he twisted his ankle during a tennis match. At the ER, they gave him a walking boot to help stabilize his ankle. Four weeks later, after the boot was removed, Rick noticed that his leg had become swollen. He didn’t think much of it, until a few weeks later when the swelling became unbearable.
Friends urged him to seek care
At the hospital, the ultrasound technician explained that he had a series of blood clots up and down his entire leg. Rick was in shock. Despite the clots, he had continued to work and travel. When the doctors and nurses explained that it was a miracle he was still alive, Rick finally understood the severity of his condition.
Rick discovers he has DVT
Rick had Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) a condition that causes blood clots to form in the deep veins in your body. For most people, these clots occur in the legs. DVT can cause swelling and pain in their legs, but some individuals have no symptoms at all.
The right treatment
The doctors explained that if Rick didn’t have a procedure to remove the clots, he would be in danger of a Pulmonary Embolism (PE). PE is when blood clots travel into your lungs. Luckily, Rick was able to receive treatment, and now he is back to his normal active lifestyle. You can read more about Rick’s story here.
Do you have leg pain?
Do you often sit for long periods of time for work or travel? Are you suffering from pain and swelling in your legs? Early detection can save your life. DVT is a serious condition that can cause a pulmonary embolism (PE) if left untreated. Testing for DVT is safe and non-invasive and can be done in an MVSdoctors.com outpatient center.
Deep vein thrombosis can occur without noticeable symptoms, but if you have any of the following, make sure to see a doctor right away.
Pain in your leg. The pain often starts in your calf and can feel like cramping or soreness.
- Red or discolored skin on the leg.
- A feeling of warmth in the affected leg.
- Injury to a vein
- Certain medications
- Lack of movement- your calf muscles don’t contract to help blood circulate, which can increase the risk of blood clots. This can happen on long car or plane rides.
When to see a doctor
If you develop signs or symptoms of deep vein thrombosis, contact a medical professional right away. The vein care specialists at MVS are trained to detect clotting and all manner of vascular disorders. Early detection and treatment are important to maintaining a good quality of life.
If you have one or more of the following risk factors, see a specialist at MVS to see if you may have DVT.
- Inheriting a blood-clotting disorder. If you have a history of blood-clotting disorders in your family, you could be at risk for DVT.
- Prolonged bed rest, or paralysis. If you’ve recently spent a long time on bed rest, or if you suffer from paralysis.
- Injury or surgery. Both could increase the possibility of blood clots.
- Pregnancy. Pregnancy increases pressure on your veins. If you also have a family history of clotting disorders, this could especially increase your risk.
- Birth control pills, or hormone replacement therapy. Both can increase your blood’s ability to clot.
- Being overweight or obese. If you are overweight or obese, this may put additional pressure on the veins in your legs, which may cause clotting.
- Smoking. Smoking affects clotting and your body’s ability to circulate blood.
- Cancer. Some forms of cancer or cancer treatment may increase your risk.
- Heart failure. This increases your risk of DVT and pulmonary embolism. Heart failure limits heart and lung function in the body, which can increase clots.
- Inflammatory bowel disease. Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or other bowel disorders increase the risk of DVT.
- A personal or family history of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. If you or someone in your family has had one or both of these, you could also be at risk.
- Age. Being older than 60 increases your risk of DVT, though it can occur at any age, including individuals who are healthy and active.
- Sitting for long periods of time. This especially happens for individuals who have just take an extended trip in a car or plane. When your legs remain still for hours, your calf muscles don’t contract, which normally helps blood circulate. Blood clots can form in the calves of your legs if your calf muscles don’t move for long periods.
If you have symptoms or risk factors it’s important to bring these concerns up with your doctor, because you may be at risk for more serious conditions, such as pulmonary embolism.
Pulmonary embolism — a life-threatening complication of deep vein thrombosis
The warning signs and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include:
- Sudden shortness of breath
- Chest pain or discomfort that worsens when you take a deep breath or when you cough
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy, or fainting
- Rapid pulse
- Coughing up blood
Many people find themselves dealing with leg pain and swelling. But it’s important to remember that these symptoms aren’t from aging, they could be signs of a more serious condition. Early detection is the key to keeping DVT from becoming a life-threatening emergency. If you think you may be at risk for DVT, don’t hesitate to request a consultation with Maryland Vascular Specialists today.