Did you know?
- According to the Vascular Disease Foundation, blood clots affect over 600,000 Americans each year and cause more deaths each year than the more well-publicized conditions of breast cancer, AIDS, and motor vehicle accidents.
- Blood clots are a leading cause of preventable hospital deaths in the United States.
- Blood clots are the leading cause of maternal death in the United States.
- One-half of clot patients will have long-term complications and one-third will have a recurrence within 10 years.
- An estimated $10 billion in medical costs in the US each year can be attributed to DVT and Pulmonary Embolism (PE).
What is DVT?
Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot in the deep veins in the legs. These clots can break loose and travel to the lungs, causing a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism (PE). DVT’s can cause permanent damage to the leg veins that result in long-term pain, swelling, change in skin color and skin ulcers.
Some people experience swelling and varying levels of discomfort in the affected area, while others don't feel anything at all. The symptoms of DVT can also be similar to those of other conditions, like a pulled muscle. Because some people with DVT don't have any symptoms, and because the symptoms can masquerade as a more benign ailment, there's often a delay in diagnosis. That's when DVT can be fatal. DVT/PE is the fourth leading cause of death in western society.
What Causes Blood Clots (DVT and PE)?
Blood clots may form when either the flow of blood in a vein slows, damage to a vein occurs, or the blood is more clotable. Many factors can increase a person’s risk for developing a blood clot in a vein.
Common risk factors for developing a blood clot include:
- Being paralyzed
- Prolonged sitting
Surgery and Trauma:
- Major surgery (especially of the pelvis, abdomen, hip, knee)
- Bone fracture or cast
- Catheter in a big vein (PICC line, central venous catheter, or port)
- Birth control pills, patches, rings
- Pregnancy, including up to 6 weeks after giving birth
- Estrogen and progestin hormone therapy
- Cancer and chemotherapy
- Heart failure
- Inflammatory disorders (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease)
- The kidney disorder called nephrotic syndrome
Other risk factors:
- Previous blood clot
- Family history of clots
- Clotting disorder (inherited or acquired)
- Older age
- Cigarette smoking
- Varicose veins
Tips for Preventing Blood Clots (DVT and PE)
- Stay active. Immobility increases the risk of developing clots. If you've been sitting for a long period of time (such as long-distance travel) stop and take a break to stretch your legs.
- Maintain an ideal body weight.
- Know your risk factors for developing a clot and discuss these with your doctor.
- Know your family medical history. Make sure your doctor knows about any history of blood clots.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed or is experiencing symptoms of DVT, please contact our office to set up an appointment with one of our board certified endovascular surgeons to discuss which treatment option works best for you. We have 3 convenient offices located thoughout Broward and Palm Beach Counties.