What You Need to Know about DVT

January 11, 2016

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a potentially serious condition that is sometimes associated with varicose veins. While DVT can go undetected for some time, possible complications from the condition can become life-threatening if DVT is left unchecked. The staff at Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin wants to educate their patients about DVT to help prevent serious complications from occurring.

What is DVT?

DVT is a condition in which a blood clot forms in a deep vein of the body, usually the leg. The clot may not cause any symptoms or problems as long as it remains in its original location. However, these clots sometimes break free from their initial location and travel through the bloodstream. If they reach the lungs, it can lead to a complication known as a pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolisms block blood flow to the lungs. If immediate medical treatment is not provided pulmonary embolisms can result in death.

Who Gets DVT?

It is difficult to predict who will develop DVT. However, there are a few factors that can increase your risk for this condition:

  • A history of blood clots or blood clotting disorders
  • Prolonged bed rest due to illness, injury or surgery
  • Long days of travel by plane or car
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Some medical conditions
  • Pregnancy
  • Taking some types of hormones

Symptoms of DVT

Many people with DVT do not know they have the condition because no noticeable symptoms are present. When symptoms do appear, they often include leg pain or swelling. If a pulmonary embolism occurs, symptoms often will become more noticeable and may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Feeling dizzy, fainting
  • Accelerated pulse
  • Coughing up blood

These symptoms indicate a life-threatening situation is occurring and emergency medical attention is required.

Benefits of Imaging

Doctors that specialize in the treatment of varicose veins typically offer vein screenings to determine whether any underlying medical vein conditions exist. Screening tests are non-invasive and commonly utilize ultrasound technology to visualize blood flow through the vessels and scan for any possible problems. These tests can detect DVT as well as a condition known as chronic venous insufficiency or CVI. This condition is characterized by damage or weakening of the vessels and is a common cause of varicose veins.

Treatment Options

Treatment of DVT most commonly involves the use of blood thinning medications. Sometimes, more invasive procedures involving vascular catheters with “clot dissolving” medicines, inferior vena cava filters, or surgeries may be recommended.

Vein screenings help us determine why varicose veins formed and if other medical conditions exist that require treatment. The information collected from these tests also allows us to customize vein treatment to the precise needs of each patient. Once the screening is complete, treatment options for varicose veins might include injectable procedures or treatments using lasers to eliminate unsightly varicose veins without surgery.

Vein treatments today involve little discomfort and almost no downtime afterward. If you would like to learn more about how to eliminate your varicose veins and their potential complications, contact Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin today at 800-910-8346.