Every year, March is specified as Deep Vein Thrombosis Awareness month for a reason – DVT is a disease that kills hundreds of thousands of Americans every year. The best vein doctors in Florida know it is a condition in which the large, deep veins of the legs become damaged as the result of disease, injury during surgeries, medications, or other causes and begin to form blood clots or thrombi along their cell walls.
Even if these blood clots remain in place where they formed, they restrict blood flow and thus weaken your immune system and deteriorate your overall health. Frequently, however, the blood clots break free and travel through the venous system to your brain (where they can cause a stroke) or to your lungs (where they can cause a pulmonary embolism, or PE). The latter complication of DVT is so common that physicians refer to it by a single acronym: DVT/PE, which is considered a “silent killer” because most of the people who die from it didn’t even know they were ill. In this article, we explain how you can protect yourself by knowing more about DVT.
Symptoms of DVT you should be aware of
First, the bad news – over half of all cases of DVT produce no symptoms that you would immediately notice. If symptoms do occur, they are usually one of the following:
- Swelling in one or both legs, usually in the calf.
- Heavy aching in the affected legs, along with chronic leg fatigue.
- Pain or tenderness in one or both legs, primarily while standing or walking.
- Red, discolored skin, particularly at the back of your leg below the knee.
- Patches of warmth on the skin surface of the affected leg.
- Visible surface veins.
Risk factors for DVT you should be aware of
Because these symptoms do not appear in all cases, it is often more productive to focus on risk factors that put you at increased risk of developing DVT. Risk factors you can’t do anything about are age (being over 60) and having a family history of DVT or other vein diseases. Risk factors you CAN do something about include smoking, being overweight, and inactivity (especially sitting too much).
Obviously, if these risk factors are present in your life (especially if combined with age and heredity), you should take steps to reduce them. Stop smoking, lose weight, and if your job requires you to sit all day, start to get more exercise. Even taking short “mini-breaks” every hour or so can help to prevent DVT, but if you really want to reduce your risk, start walking briskly for 30 minutes every day. These lifestyle changes are also effective conservative forms of Palm Beach vein treatment.
How do I know for sure if I have (or am at risk of developing) DVT?
The most effective way to be sure is to schedule an appointment with one of the best vein doctors in Palm Beach, such as the doctors at South Palm Cardiovascular Associates. These venous health screenings take only about an hour and are painless and non-invasive, but in almost all cases they can detect signs of DVT or other dangerous vein diseases before they have had time to damage your health irreparably. In the screening, your Florida vein specialist will ask questions about your and your family’s health history and perform tests that may include duplex ultrasound (which allows the doctor to see your actual veins and the blood flowing through them to check for blockages) or venography (a special X-ray procedure that reveals the structure of your veins).
If indications of DVT (or other vein disease) are found, don’t worry – they can be treated. Furthermore, given the advances that have been made in venous medicine, they can be treated painlessly and in about an hour by using minimally-invasive procedures that don’t require anesthesia or incisions.
So even though DVT is a serious disease, it is not one worth losing sleep over. Instead, give us a call at 561-515-0080, schedule a venous health screening, and become proactive about your vein health. It could literally save your life.