Blood clot in the vein of the leg
Blood clots in the vein of the leg Open pop-up dialog
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more deep veins in your body, usually in your legs. Deep vein thrombosis can cause pain or swelling in the legs, but it can also occur without symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of DVT can include:
- Swelling of the affected leg. Both legs rarely swell.
- Pain in the leg. The pain often starts in your calf and can feel like cramping or pain.
- Red or discolored skin on the leg.
- A feeling of heat in the affected leg.
- Deep vein thrombosis can occur without visible symptoms.
When to see a doctor
If you develop any signs or symptoms of DVT, contact your doctor.
If you develop signs or symptoms of pulmonary embolism (PE) – a life-threatening complication of deep vein thrombosis – see an emergency doctor.
The warning signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism include:
- Sudden shortness of breath
- Chest pain or discomfort that gets worse when you take a deep breath or cough
- Dizziness or lightheadedness, or fainting
- Rapid pulse
- Rapid breathing
- Coughing up blood
Anything that prevents your blood from circulating or clotting normally can cause a blood clot.
The main causes of DVT are damage to a vein from surgery or trauma, and inflammation from infection or injury.
There are many factors that can increase your risk of developing DVT. The more risk factors you have, the higher your risk for DVT. Risk factors for DVT include:
- Age. If you are over 60, your risk of DVT increases, although it can occur at any age.
- Long periods of rest, eg. B. while driving or flying. When your legs stay still for hours, your calf muscles don’t contract. Muscle contractions usually increase blood flow.
- Longer bed rest, eg. B. during a long hospital stay or paralysis. Blood clots can form in the calves of your legs if your calf muscles do not move for a long time.
- Injury or surgery. Damage to the veins or surgery can increase the risk of blood clots.
- Pregnancy. Pregnancy increases the pressure in the veins in your pelvis and legs. Women with a congenital bleeding disorder are particularly at risk. The risk of blood clots forming during pregnancy may persist for up to six weeks after your baby is born.
- Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) or hormone replacement therapy. Both can increase your blood’s ability to clot.
- Being overweight or obese. Being overweight increases the pressure in the veins in your pelvis and legs.
- Smoke. Smoking affects blood clotting and circulation, which can increase the risk of DVT.
- Cancer. Some forms of cancer increase the amount of substances in your blood that cause the blood to clot. Some forms of cancer treatment also increase the risk of blood clots.
- Heart defect. This increases the risk of DVT and pulmonary embolism. Since people with heart failure have impaired heart and lung function, symptoms caused by even mild pulmonary embolism are more noticeable.
- Inflammatory bowel disease. Bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis increase the risk of DVT.
- A personal or family history of DVT or PE. If you or a family member has had one or both of them, you may be at a greater risk of developing DVT.
- Genetic. Some people inherit genetic risk factors or disorders such as factor V Leiden that make blood easier to clot. The inherited disease alone may not cause blood clots unless it is associated with one or more other risk factors.
- Not a known risk factor. Sometimes a blood clot can occur in a vein without an identifiable underlying risk factor. This is called an unprovoked VTE.
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