What is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and does it affect me?

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition in which a blood clot forms inside a deep vein, commonly located in the calf or thigh.  DVT occurs when the blood clot partially or completely blocks the flow of blood in the vein.

Complications from DVT kill up to 200,000 people a year in the U.S. – that’s more than AIDS and breast cancer combined!!

Here are some facts to know about Deep vein thrombosis:

  • DVT most often occurs in the lower limbs (extremities), including the thigh or the calf.
  • You are more likely to get DVT if you are over 40, are very tall and/or if you are obese.
  • Certain cancers may cause clotting factors in the blood to increase.  Clotting factors may also be affected as a result of an infection or injury to a blood vessel or following surgery.
  • Pregnant women are 5 times more likely than non-pregnant women to develop DVT; risk increases in the third trimester and immediately following delivery.
  • Prolonged periods of sitting still can slow down the blood flow and lead to blood “pooling” or accumulating in the extremities.
  • Symptoms of DVT may include pain, tenderness, swelling or discoloration of the affected area, and skin that is warm to the touch.  Some DVT are silent and may be present with minimal symptoms.

There is also evidence that long-haul flights may increase the risk of developing DVT.  The risk is due to prolonged immobility, which can happen during any form of long distance travel, whether by car, bus, train or air.

Treating Deep Vein Thrombosis

How is it treated?  Medically speaking there are drugs (Anticoagulants and Thrombolytic Agents) and surgical procedures to remove the clots.  Some practical measures are elevating the affected leg whenever possible, applying heat to relieve pain and reduce swelling, avoiding long periods of immobility and wearing compression socks or compression hoses that will help to prevent pooling.

Wearing compression socks/hoses is an inexpensive and practical way of taking care of yourself and helping avert Deep Vein Thrombosis.  Compression socks are also good for people who have varicose veins and/or edema.  When buying compressions socks make sure you are fitted for them by somebody that’s knowledgeable and takes the time to measure your ankle and calf; like the staff of trained pedorthists at Lucky Feet Shoes in both Riverside and Rancho Cucamonga.

Jerick Sobie, Board Certified Pedorthist

Lucky Feet Shoes

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