Are you at risk for developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT)? St. Louis, MO, vein specialist Dr. Norman Bein of Vein Specialties shares some information on this dangerous condition and discusses treatment options.
What are DVTs?
A DVT occurs when you develop a blood clot in one of your body's deep veins. The clots are more common in the leg, but can also form in the arm. DVTs may cause a potentially life-threatening problem if they break free of the vein and travel to your lungs. When a clot stops blood from entering the lungs, death can occur. DVTs can be very damaging even if they remain in your leg or arm. Damage to the vein's valves may result in chronic pain and swelling in your arm or leg.
Who is at risk of developing a DVT?
You may be more likely to develop the condition if you:
- Are 40 or older
- Recently had surgery on your legs or hips
- Experienced a lower body injury
- Have a family history of DVTs or other vein diseases, such as varicose veins
- Smoke or have smoked in the past
- Are pregnant
- Use hormone-based birth control or take hormone replacement medication
- Are overweight or obese
- Haven't moved for long periods of time, such as when flying
What are the symptoms of DVT?
Many people experience no DVT symptoms and are only aware that they have a problem if the clot breaks free and travels to the lungs. If you do develop symptoms, you many notice pain in your arm or leg, swelling and reddened skin. Your vein may feel very firm or thick when you touch it. If you notice any of these symptoms, please call our St. Louis office immediately.
If the clot travels to your lungs, it becomes a pulmonary embolism. You may experience chest pain, coughing and shortness of breath if this happens. You may also feel nauseated and might vomit blood. Pulmonary embolisms are life-threatening emergencies. Go to the emergency room immediately if you experience these symptoms.
What is the treatment for a DVT?
Medications called anticoagulants are used to break up the clot. Medication therapy is very effective in most cases, but some people may need surgery.
Are you concerned about a possible deep vein thrombosis or another vein issues? Call St. Louis, MO, vein specialist Dr. Norman Bein of Vein Specialties at (314) 993-8233 to schedule an appointment.