Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) refers to blood clots that form in the deep veins of the body. Most often occurring in the legs or pelvis, DVT can cause pain and swelling. If not properly treated, DVT can lead to a pulmonary embolism, which occurs when a blood clot breaks loose from the affected area and becomes stuck in an artery of the lungs.
Symptoms of DVT
Though it does not always present noticeable symptoms, the following are signs that you may be experiencing DVT in one of your legs.
- Swelling of the calf or thigh
- Pain or cramping
- Warmth or tenderness
- Red or purple skin discoloration
Speak to a heart and vascular expert at Bayhealth about symptoms of DVT.
Risk Factors and Prevention
The most common cause of DVT is lack of movement. Sitting or lying down for hours can prevent the muscles of your legs from contracting, which can hinder blood flow and cause clotting. Other factors that contribute to DVT include the following.
- Age: Men and women over 60 are at greater risk.
- Obesity: Increased body weight puts pressure on your veins.
- Smoking: Cigarette use affects how blood flows and clots.
The best ways to prevent DVT are routine exercise and taking breaks to move your legs when sitting for hours, such as during work or travel.
How We Diagnose DVT
Your heart and vascular expert at Bayhealth may use one or more of the following procedures to diagnose DVT.
- Ultrasound: Doppler ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of the blood vessels.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): A magnetic field combined with radio waves creates three-dimensional images of your body, including blood vessels.
- Computerized Tomography (CT): X-ray signals of the body are processed by a computer in narrow “slices,” ensuring image accuracy.
Learn more about diagnostic procedures at Bayhealth.
Your Bayhealth physician will prescribe medications to treat your DVT. Surgical or interventional procedures are rarely necessary. Learn more about procedures offered at Bayhealth.