Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition that arises when a blood clot develops in a deep vein, especially those located in leg veins. This condition can be quite dangerous and lead to a medical emergency if a thrombus (smaller clot) breaks loose and is carried by the bloodstream to the lung, which then leads to difficulty with breathing and can potentially even be fatal.
Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists provides first-class podiatric services, but we care about the overall health and wellness of all of our patients. We want you to understand the causes, treatment, and preventative measures for this condition that can start in your lower limbs.
Deep Vein Thrombosis Causes and Risk Factors
Part of the concern with this condition is the fact that clots can potentially be caused by a variety of factors that interfere with proper blood clotting and circulation. Specific risk factors that make it more likely for an individual to develop thrombosis include:
- Prolonged bed rest or sitting – Legs that remain still for extended periods, like during a hospital stay or while on a long flight, means your calf muscles don’t help blood circulate by contracting as they normally do.
- Surgery or injury – As the body responds to an injury or an invasive surgical procedure, it is more likely to develop blood clots than it would otherwise.
- Excessive weight – Being obese or overweight can increase the pressure placed upon veins in the legs and pelvis.
- Smoking – This habit increases the risk of DVT by constricting blood vessels and affecting clotting functions.
- Inherited blood-clotting disorders – Some individuals are simply predisposed to blood that clots more easily than it does for other people. Typically, another risk factor needs to be combined with this one to lead to issues.
- Pregnancy – Women who are pregnant have increased pressure in the pelvis and leg veins, which is especially risky for those who also have an inherited clotting disorder.
Other risk factors for this condition include birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, some forms of cancer, heart failure, bowel diseases, and old age.
Deep Vein Thrombosis Symptoms
Being able to recognize the symptoms of this condition will enable you to receive help at the earliest possible opportunity. In some cases, there are no signs or warning, but be sure to come in for an evaluation if you experience pain in the thigh or calf muscles, abnormal swelling in the leg, and/or unusual warmth and redness.
Treatment for DVT depends a bit on the particular situation. In some cases, a clot may require hospitalization and a surgical procedure. In other instances, the condition can be managed with the use of medication. Blood-thinning medications can also be used to prevent the formation of additional clots. Compression stockings are another form of conservative care that can help some patients.
Preventative Measures for Deep Vein Thrombosis
Whereas treatment options exist, it is best to avoid the risk of potentially dangerous situations that comes with this condition. When it comes to prevention measures, it is worth taking measures to reduce weight and give up smoking.
If you are expecting an extended period of immobility, like an airplane trip or long car ride, make plans to move around as much as possible. This might entail walking up and down a plane or train aisle every couple of hours or taking periodic breaks during a road trip to get out of the car and stretch out your legs. Additionally, drinking plenty of water and avoiding caffeine and alcohol can help as well.
Complete Foot and Ankle Care in Austin, TX
At Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists, we consistently raise the bar for patient expectations and then strive to raise it even higher. This means helping you understand conditions like deep vein thrombosis and providing state-of-the-art treatment options for a wide range of foot and ankle conditions.
Find out for yourself why our patients choose our Austin, TX podiatry practice by scheduling your appointment with us today. Contact us online or call (512) 328-8900 for more information.