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DVT/PE

What is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?

A DVT is simply a blood clot (thrombus) that has formed in a deep vein.  Although a DVT can occur anywhere in your body, it usually forms in your leg. If a DVT breaks loose and travels to the lungs it is called a pulmonary embolism (PE).  A pulmonary embolism is a very serious condition and often fatal.  Diagnosis and treatment of a DVT is meant to prevent PE. 

DVT Prevention

Blood is meant to flow through our bodies.  When blood is not being pumped effectively it has a tendancey to pool and can form a DVT.  Awareness and education of the condition and its risk factors is the best prevention.  If you are at risk for getting a DVT, your healthcare provider can discuss prevention treatments which may include compression stockings. 

Who is at risk for DVT?

Some of the risk factors associated with DVT are recent surgery, sedentary occupations, history of DVT, smoking, being overweight, injury with long periods of immobility, age, travel, family history of blood clots and vein disease.  For a complete list of risk factors, visit www.venousdisease.com 

How can I tell if I have DVT?

Unfortunately, DVT is a difficult condition to detect, and is often symptomless. If symptoms occur, they may include intense pain or cramping in the calves, tenderness, swelling, warmth or changes in skin color.

Using Compression Therapy

An effective way to keep your legs healthy during long periods of  being immobile such as air travel, injury or after surgery is wearing graduated compression stockings. Compression stockings exert a comfortable pressure on the outside of the leg to support the veins and vein valves which promote blood flow. If you think you are at risk for a DVT, consult your primary care provider.

 

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