DVT Awareness Month 2023: Overview
March is marked as the awareness month for DVT. This is an initiative of public health aimed to raise awareness about this commonly occurring medical condition. According to the report revealed by The American Heart Association, up to two million people in America are affected by DVT monthly. More commonly the condition is known as blood clotting.
It has also been revealed that 74% of Americans have very little or no awareness of DVT. This is the reason that American Public Health Association aims to raise awareness about DVT. The main purpose of this initiative is to make people aware of the causes and risk factors of DVT. This helps people to manage the symptoms and prevent the chances of DVT.
The condition, Deep Vein Thrombosis, DVT occurs due to blood clot formation in the vein deep inside your body. The condition usually affects the large veins in the thigh and lower legs. However, the condition may also occur in other deep veins located in the arms and pelvis.
Continue reading this article to know the possible facts of DVT. For example, this article is a detailed account of the common causes and symptoms of DVT. The article is concluded with the treatment plans and preventive measures to manage DVT.
Common causes and risk factors of Deep Vein Thrombosis
Being inactive for a prolonged time during travelling or occupational activities may become the reason for a blood clot in the lower legs. However, people with the following conditions may also be more prone to developing deep vein thrombosis:
- Previously experienced DVT, pulmonary embolism, or other blood clot problems.
- Having a family history of blood circulation problems.
- Some medical conditions, including cancer, heart diseases, lung diseases, Hughes syndrome, or thrombophilia are some other causes of DVT.
- People who are going through treatment plans, including chemotherapy and radiotherapy, may be more prone to developing DVT.
- Being overweight or obese is another risk factor contributing to DVT.
- Pregnant women may be at a high risk of blood clot formation in the lower legs.
- People over 60 years of age are also prone to DVT.
- Dehydration and smoking are other causes.
Common symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis
In some cases, people experience no symptoms of DVT. However, in general, the basic symptom of DVT is a pain in your legs. However, based on your conditions or the intensity of the disease, you may also experience the following symptoms:
- Swelling and tenderness in the affected leg, usually thigh or calf.
- Heaviness or aches in the affected areas.
- Skin discolouration, especially at the back of the leg just below the knees
- A feeling of warmness in the affected leg
- In chronic conditions, you may also experience breathlessness or chest pain
In general, DVT affects one leg. The pain in your legs or veins may be worse when you bend your foot upward towards the knees.
How to diagnose Deep Vein Thrombosis?
During the DVT awareness month, healthcare professionals advise you not to ignore if you feel pain and any other symptoms mentioned above. However, you must also consult your GP immediately.
At the initial stage, your GP or healthcare professional will perform a physical check-up to diagnose the causes of DVT. However, to diagnose the problem more deeply they may perform vascular tests to confirm venous thrombosis. The vascular tests may include the following:
- Complete blood count, CBC Test: CBC test tells your GP what amount of each type of blood cell your blood has. This test helps identify infection signs or problems related to blood clotting.
- D-dimer blood test: This test helps your GP check the protein level your body makes when breaking down a clot. A negative result of this test rules out thrombosis presence.
- Doppler ultrasound exam: This test provides images of blood flow by using sound waves. The exam is specifically taken from the affected areas.
- Pelvic MRI: This is a non-invasive test offering clear images of soft tissues, bones, and blood flow in the affected area. Specific conditions, such as pregnancy may cause a blood clot in the pelvis.
The following are other blood tests your GP will suggest if you will have an increased risk of blood clotting. These blood tests may include;
- Protein S and Protein C level
- Genetic tests
- Antithrombin III levels
- Lupus-related problems
Possible treatment plans for Deep Vein Thrombosis
The condition of deep vein thrombosis may be managed by surgical or non-surgical processes. Your GP will recommend or follow the treatment plan based on your condition or results of diagnosing tests:
The following are the most effective non-surgical treatment plans to reduce mild to moderate symptoms of DVT:
- Blood thinner: Blood thinners are medicines also called anticoagulants. These medicines help prevent blood clots to get bigger. As well as this, these medicines may also reduce the risk of developing more blood clots. You must take the medicines under your GP’s instructions.
- Thrombolytics (clot busters): When other medications do not work, your healthcare professionals may suggest Thrombolytics. These drugs are used for more serious types of pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis.
- Filters: This treatment is the best option for people who can not take medications. A filter is placed into the large vein – the vena cava. A vena cava filter prevents the chances of developing blood clots.
- Compression Stockings: Compression socks are specialised garments used for a variety of purposes. For example, compression socks reduce pain, swelling, and other symptoms associated with DVT. You must take care of the right type or size of compression socks. As well as this, the duration of wearing compression socks does also matter for better results. So, it is advisable to consult your GP to choose and wear the correct compression socks.
Your doctor may also recommend surgical thrombectomy if you are having a very large blood clot. On the other hand, surgery may also be recommended if a blood clot causes severe tissue injury.
Possible preventive measures to reduce the chances of DVT
If you feel minor symptoms of DVT or are susceptible to developing DVT, you must adopt some preventive measures, suggested by experts. As well as this, you must also alter your lifestyle to prevent the chances of DVT. Here we come with the most effective preventative measures, suggested by experts, to help control the risks of DVT:
- The very basic tip is to see your GP or healthcare professionals regularly if you are susceptible to DVT.
- You need to take medicines regularly as prescribed by your GP.
- If you are going through bed rest after surgery or illness, you must not take long rest or keep your legs active.
- DVT may also result from dehydration. It is advisable of taking sufficient fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Maintaining a healthy body weight is crucial.
- Having an active lifestyle may also help you reduce the chances of DVT.
- Wearing compression socks helps boost your blood circulation, helping prevent the chances of DVT.
- Doing regular exercises, and taking regular walks may also help.