Blood clots can form almost anywhere blood flows within the body. When they form within veins that run through muscles, the condition is termed deep vein thrombosis. This can result in death if the condition isn’t treated, and there are multiple risk factors that contribute to a person’s likelihood of developing these deep vein blood clots.
What are the Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Deep vein thrombosis, also known as DVT, results in pain and swelling near the affected vein. This is the result in inflammation of the surrounding muscle and veins responding to the blood clot, and it results in a swollen, sore and especially tender area. The muscle can be quite painful when pressed near the clot.
Sometimes this impacts the skin, leading to redness and tenderness. If you experience redness, swelling and tenderness in a specific area on your legs especially, consult a vein doctor or seek medical attention right away. Should these symptoms be combined with or followed by shortness of breath, chest pain or coughing up blood, call 911 immediately. This could be a sign that the clot may have migrated to the heart or lungs (known as a pulmonary embolism, or PE, as discussed below)
What are the Treatment Options for DVT?
DVT can be a serious medical condition, because the blood clot can become dislodged and migrate to the lungs. Should the clot migrate to the lungs, it may pose an immediate and potentially fatal health risk. Additionally, blood clots in deep veins are prone to migrate – or break off – because the muscle movements around a vein can dislodge a clot. However, it can even happen without movement.
The most effective way to reduce the risk of DVT is through preventative treatment that focuses on mitigating certain risk factors. Walking regularly, moving the legs every hour and drinking non-alcoholic fluids all help keep blood flowing through the muscles (especially the legs) and lower the likelihood of a blood clot forming within the muscle. Wearing compression hose can help, especially with travel.
Once a clot forms, DVT may be treated through a combination of blood-thinning medications, clot-dissolving medications, a vena cava filter (if medications aren’t a viable option) and compression stockings. When medication is used nowadays it’s usually given in pill form. Occasionally the medication may be injected and multiple treatments might be required. If a person cannot take blood thinners, an IVC filter may be an ootpin. A vein doctor can help advise patients as to the best option for their circumstances.
Your doctor can advise on other recommendations related to hormone treatment, birth control, weight loss and the need for additional clot risk testing when indicated.
How Long Does it Take to Recover from DVT?
It generally takes at least 3 months treatment to treat the clot and reduce the risk of new clots forming. Once this is completed, lifestyle changes and other measures, such as compression stockings, may reduce the risk of clots. Some patients will need to see a hematologist for further risk assessment for future clots in a process called a hypercoagulable consultation. Your vein doctor can advise if this is needed in your case.
Learn More about Deep Vein Thrombosis
If you are interested in learning more about deep vein thrombosis and treatment options, please fill out our Online Appointment Request Form or call any of our clinics in Northwest Portland , Tigard, Happy Valley or Bend, Oregon.