Why is March Deep Vein Thrombosis Month?

March is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Awareness Month. It's no coincidence, according to The Vascular Disease Foundation, that the month selected to raise awareness about this potentially fatal disease is the only month named with an action verb. Consumers need to take action to prevent deep vein thrombosis.

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 deep vein thrombosis, Dr. William Julien, DVT, pulmonary embolism (PE). They can also cause permanent damage to the leg veins that result in long-term pain, swelling, change in skin color and skin ulcers.

The Vascular Disease Foundation says that DVT and pulmonary embolism affect more than 600,000 people every year. 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 be similar to 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, with more fatalities than breast cancer, AIDS and traffic accidents combined.

Anyone can develop DVT. The more risk factors you have, the greater your risk. Risk factors include:

When diagnosed and treated early enough, DVT isn't always life-threatening. Risk can be reduced by:

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