Nearly a million Americans suffer from deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, putting them at risk of serious and even life-threatening complications. Yet, because DVT can be difficult to spot early on, many people who have deep vein thrombosis don’t get the treatment they need to prevent those complications.
Our team at Phoenix Heart wants all of our patients in Glendale, Goodyear, Anthem, and Canyon City, Arizona, to learn how to recognize symptoms of DVT so they can get the care they need as early as possible. Here’s what you should look for.
Signs of DVT
DVT happens when a blood clot forms in one of your deep veins. Not only can the clot block blood flow in the area where it’s located, but the clot can also break off and travel to the lungs, preventing blood flow and even causing sudden death.
Typically, DVT affects the veins in your legs, although it can occur elsewhere, too. The most common symptoms of DVT include:
Swelling in the affected limb is the most common symptom of DVT, occurring in about 70% of patients. If your clot is located in your leg, you’ll have swelling only in that leg. If the clot is farther up near your pelvis, you might have swelling in both legs.
Clots in your leg (or arm) can cause cramps and deep aching. You might also have tender spots in the area around the clot. Your pain can vary from mild to intense, depending in part on the size of the clot and the amount of inflammation in the vein. Pain often intensifies with activity or when you flex your foot.
Changes in the skin (redness or scaliness)
Because the clot interferes with normal circulation, it can cause changes in your skin’s texture or appearance. Your skin might appear redder or darker, or you might develop scaling or a leathery texture in the affected limb.
Heaviness or fatigue in the leg
Decreased circulation can result in tired feelings in your legs (or arms), or you might feel like the limb is especially heavy.
Disruptions in circulation can affect the nerves in the limb, too. In addition to restless leg symptoms, you can also develop tingling, burning, or itching in your leg (or arm).
Some DVT symptoms can be similar to symptoms caused by other vessel diseases. Having your symptoms evaluated as soon as possible ensures you get the right treatment to improve your circulation and avoid serious complications.
DVT risk factors
DVT usually happens following an injury or trauma to a vein, or it can develop if the vein becomes inflamed from a disease. Anyone can develop DVT, but like many other vessel diseases, it tends to be more common among people with these risk factors:
- Extended period of immobility
- Older age
- Smoking habit
- Recent leg surgery or injury
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
DVT is also more common among people with certain diseases or blood-clotting disorders.
Be proactive about your vein health
DVT can be successfully treated. The key is having it diagnosed as early as possible to prevent potential complications and more serious health problems. If you think you might be suffering from DVT, or if you have risk factors for DVT, call the office or book an appointment with our team online today.