Related ailments

Deep in the vein

Deep in the vein

People with diabetes may have an elevated risk of DVT, particularly those that have needed surgery or have other inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.

 

The modern life style has given us many comforts but it has put us on few risks as well. One of these is DVT or Deep Vein Thrombosis. And before we get into further details let us first understand the term and its meaning.

 

A DVT is the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein usually in a calf or thigh muscle. It is primarily related to the decrease of blood flow, vascular wall damage and hypercoaguable state. When suffering from this condition, blood that passes through your deepest vein in calf and thighs tends to slow & hence forms a solid clot which becomes wedged in the vein. The deep veins are responsible for returning the blood to heart and lungs and these veins weaken their functions of propelling blood over a period of time especially when a person is confined to immobilization. Presence of hypercoagulable state such as pregnancy, deficiency of antithrombin III, protein C and protein S, my eloproliferative disorders and other hyper viscosity syndrome also increase the vulnerability for DVT. DVT is common in individuals who have a long distance travel especially in the aircraft or car.

 

DVT can partly or completely block blood flow, causing chronic pain and swelling. It may damage valves in blood vessels, making it difficult for you to get around. A blood clot can also break free and travel through your blood to major organs, such as your lungs or heart. There, it can cause damage and even death within hours.

 

Some problems or disorders that can cause the blood to clot are cancer, cigarette smoking, taking estrogens or birth control pills especially when combined with smoking.

 

How to diagnose DVT?
If above symptoms are noticed then physicians should be consulted. For definite diagnosis, blood investigations, Duplex ultrasound, venography and MRI may be the required tests.

 

DVT Treatment
Through Deep Vein Thrombosis treatment, we focus on preventing the clot from becoming massive or from breaking loose and resulting in pulmonary embolism. Second target is to save any kind of lasting effect resulting from it, like leg pain. Eventually, the target moves to reducing the chances of DVT ever happening again to the patient. It is worked on through various measures like anticoagulant medicines which are used as blood thinners, clot busters, Vena cava filters and compress.

 

Anticoagulants as medicines are used as blood thinners, to decrease the blood’s tendency to clot. This might not break the blood clots which have already been formed, but this definitely restrains any further development in its size, while also diminishing any possibility of developing any more clots. In a pregnant woman, it is not advisable to use these blood thinners. If one cannot take medicines, a filter will be inserted into a larger vein, the vena cava that exists in the abdomen. Or doctors may recommend wearing the compression stockings, which prevent blood clotting. These are worn from feet to knees.

 

If a patient is going through pulmonary embolism, which is a more serious type of thrombosis, he/she will be prescribed different medicines. This might also be the case where other medicines might not be responding. In such a case you may be recommended to take expert opinion.

 

How to prevent DVT?

  1. Control Obesity
  2. Avoid sitting in the office desk continuously, It is wise to walk a few steps every  ½ to 1 hour interval to increase the blood flow when the job required long sitting hours.
  3. Avoid tight fitting clothes especially at the time of travelling.
  4. During car journey make a halt every 1 to 2 hours and walk a few steps during every halt.
  5. During air journey also keep taking few steps out of chair.
  6. During forced bed rest, keep pushing the feet against wall at regular interval to make the valves in the legs work to increased blood flow to heart.

 

The symptoms that follow
The seriousness of the diseases takes an upshot when some of the DVT cases cause no symptoms. This is worrisome say doctors because in such circumstances, the patient takes little or no notice at all and the problem keeps aggravating until it erupts suddenly in a major form. However the most common symptoms of DVT are:

  1. Swelling in one or both legs
  2. Pain or tenderness in one or both legs, which may occur only while standing or walking
  3. Warmth in the skin of the affected leg
  4. Red or discoloured skin in the affected leg
  5. Visible surface veins
  6. Leg fatigue

 

This blood clot say experts can also break free and travel to your lungs. This condition is then referred to as pulmonary embolism and can be fatal. In some cases there are still no symptoms but doctor’s advice that you seek immediate medical help if you suffer sudden coughing that may as well bring up blood. The only symptoms can be a sharp pain in the chest, shortness of breath, light-headedness or rapid breathing.

 

 

Post thrombotic syndrome is an another complication of DVT, this happens if the damage caused by a DVT permanently reduces the ability of your veins to efficiently return blood from your lower leg and leads to pooling of fluid. This can eventually lead to long- term pain and swelling. In severe cases these may lead to ulcers on your leg. Limb ischemia is a rare complication that only happens with a large DVT.

 

Keep DVT at bay
DVT is rare in young people and usually occurs in people aged over 40. While there are cases where the condition is simply unavoidable, some lifestyle changes, say experts, can help avert DVT.

 

Staying alert in the air – While on a long flight, it is advisable that you keep way from alcohol or sleeping pills. Be awake enough so you can walk around a little. This is important so that you can boost your blood circulation and keep the muscles in activity.

 

Desk Exercise a little – When at your desk keep moving your feet and calf muscles. Maybe even follow this simple exercise; putting your feet flat on the floor, raise your toes in the air with your heels on the ground, Hold on for 5 seconds and then reverse.

 

Be in action almost always – A little physical exercise every now and then can boost your blood circulation. Exercise further helps improve your lung function which can be highly beneficial if you have had a pulmonary embolism.

 

Be ready to travel – Since you are well aware of your travelling schedules, always keep some light and loose fitting clothes and shows handy.

 

Keep calm – Do not stress yourself and follow the precautions or treatment being offered by your doctor. Remember, the healthier you are, the better the world is.

 

Causes of DVT

The major reason behind blood clots is the change or slowing down of the flow of blood in the veins. The most common risk factors for DVT include:

  1. Bed rest or sitting in one position for too long at workplace or during travel.
  2. Family history of blood clots.
  3. Fractures in the pelvis or legs.
  4. Pregnancy
  5. Obesity
  6. Recent surgery (most commonly hip, knew or female pelvic surgery)
  7. Too many blood cells being made by the bone marrow, causing the blood to be thicker than normal.

 

By: Dr. P K Malhotra

 

 

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