DVT refers to deep vein thrombosis. Unlike most other chronic venous diseases, it can progress into something deadly. If your wondering just what is DVT, the name describes the problem perfectly. First off, it happens in one of the deeper veins in your body. These veins are usually in the leg. Thrombosis comes from the term thrombus, the medical word for a blood clot. In other words, DVT is a blood clot deep in the leg veins. It’s not the worst place to have a blood clot, but it comes with its own problems (see our page on DVT symptoms). Most worrisome is the possibility that the clot will detach and move to a more dangerous location. In sum, like all blood clots, it needs treatment as quickly as possible.
Deep vein thrombosis actually shares causes with other chronic venous diseases. The clots form when blood stops circulating properly. This could be caused by a problem with the valves that help pump blood through the veins. It could be because the veins have lost their elasticity with age. Alternatively, it might happen when the veins’ pressure increases, as commonly happens to women who are pregnant. Long periods of bedrest, such as during recovery from surgery, increase the risk of blood clots.
There are other common factors, some of which you have more power to address. Obesity, like pregnancy, increases the pressure in the veins, which can contribute to blood clots. Weight loss is the obvious (though not always the easy) answer. People who sit for long periods of time, whether frequent flyers or people on road trips, are also at risk. If you’re flying, take the chance to walk around, stretch, and contract your calf muscles when the fasten seatbelt sign turns off. The same applies to drivers: stop at rest stops for the chance to get your calf muscles working to decrease your risk of clots.
As you can already see, many people are at risk of DVT. However, the real danger of DVT is what happens if the clot breaks loose. Sometime after forming, the clot may break free and travel through the veins to the lungs. A blood clot in the lung—called pulmonary embolism—is just as bad as it sounds. One study estimates that about 15% of people who had been diagnosed with pulmonary embolism died within three days. Not surprisingly, the earlier the issue was addressed, the more likely the patients were to survive. So, start as early as you can by stopping it while it’s still DVT.
The “Vein” in our name isn’t just for show! While the disease may sound scary, Dr. Seiger knows how to diagnose this problem and when to call in help from a specialist. Call us at 800-400-8346 and set up an appointment! We will help diagnose whether you have DVT, and if you do, our experienced and sympathetic staff will help ease your fears and go over treatment options. With over 25 years of experience, who else would you trust? Click here to learn more!