The Danger of a Blood Clot

iStock 96Deep vein thrombosis - blood disorder abstract.4047984 The clotting mechanism of our blood cells is crucial in stemming the flow of blood in a cut or wound. But it can be life threatening when it occurs inside our veins. Blood clots in the veins are known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Dr. Stevens can diagnose and provide non-surgical treatment of DVT at Premier Heart & Vein Care. 

What is deep vein thrombosis and where does it occur? 

Deep vein thrombosis occurs when the flow of blood in the blood vessels changes, or the clotting system of the blood vessels is abnormal. When a clot forms, the patient has deep vein thrombosis (DVT). 

DVT can occur in any vein, but it is most common in the legs. This can occur in a small vein in the leg, or the vein can travel the entire length of the leg. A clot in the leg can lead to swelling, pain, and color changes in the leg. 

Clots are always a concern, but when a clot detaches from the wall of a vein and travels to the lungs, this can be life threatening. This is known as a pulmonary embolism (PE). 

DVT and PE are collectively known as venous thromboembolism (VTE). 

What are risk factors for VTE? 

  •     Family history of DVT or PE
  •     Blood clotting disorders
  •     Sitting for prolonged periods
  •     Recent surgery
  •     Current or recent pregnancy
  •     Current or previous cancer
  •     Certain medications such as oral contraceptives
  •     Injury or trauma
  •     Excessive weight
  •     Smoking

Why is a pulmonary embolism dangerous? 

When blood clots break free and travel to the lungs, they are usually small enough that blood can still get around the clot and into the lungs. The flow has decreased, however. In some cases, the clot is large enough to block most of the blood flow, and this can lead to heart failure. 

What are the symptoms I may have a PE? 

Common symptoms for a pulmonary embolism: 

  •     Shortness of breath
  •     Chest pain when taking a deep breath
  •     Cough, sometimes bloody or with a frothy pink quality
  •     Increased heart rate

From the prescription of blood thinning medication to recommending a thrombectomy, Dr. Stevens has the experience you need to deal with your vascular problems. If you have any of the symptoms of DVT or PE, call us immediately at (805) 540-3333. 

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