March is national Deep-Vein Thrombosis Awareness Month, a public health initiative aimed at raising awareness of this commonly occurring medical condition and its potentially fatal complication, pulmonary embolism.
Deep Vein Thrombosis DVT:
Signs and Symptoms
Deep vein thrombosis DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in one of the deep veins of your body, usually in your legs, but sometimes in your arm. The signs and symptoms of a DVT include:
- Swelling, usually in one leg (or arm)
- Leg pain or tenderness often described as a cramp or Charley horse
- Reddish or bluish skin discoloration
- Leg (or arm) warm to touch
These symptoms of a blood clot may feel similar to a pulled muscle or a “Charlie horse,” but may differ in that the leg (or arm) may be swollen, slightly discolored, and warm.
Contact your doctor as soon as you can if you have these symptoms, because you may need treatment right away.
Signs and Symptoms
Clots can break off from a DVT and travel to the lung, causing a pulmonary embolism (PE), which can be fatal. The signs and symptoms of a PE include:
- Sudden shortness of breath
- Chest pain-sharp, stabbing; may get worse with deep breath
- Rapid heart rate
- Unexplained cough, sometimes with bloody mucus
Call an ambulance or 911 immediately for treatment in the ER if you experience these PE symptoms.
Know your risk for blood clots. The first and most important thing you can do to protect yourself from a life-threatening blood clot is to learn if you are at risk.
Below is a list of some of the most common risk factors for blood clots. Know your risk:
- Hospitalization for illness or surgery
- Major surgery, particularly of the pelvis, abdomen, hip, knee
- Severe trauma, such as a car accident
- Injury to a vein that may have been caused by a broken bone or severe muscle injury
- Hip or knee replacement surgery
- Cancer and cancer treatments
- Use of birth control methods that contain estrogen, such as the pill, patch or ring
- Pregnancy, which includes the six weeks after the baby is born
- The use of hormone therapy, which contains estrogen
- A family history of blood clots
- Confinement to bed
- Sitting too long, especially with legs crossed
Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider if any of these risk factors apply to you and know your risk for blood clots. Call Dr. Mathai at Premier Vein Specialists to discuss any risk factors you may be worried about. Our FREE Screening may help save your life. Call 717-412-7226.