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The Dangers of DVT

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is the primary cause of a condition called pulmonary embolism. After heart attacks and strokes, pulmonary embolisms are the third most common cause of death due to cardiovascular disease.

And that’s why Kishore Arcot, MD, at Memphis Vein Center encourages you to seek help as soon as you have symptoms like leg pain and swelling. He provides effective treatments that eliminate DVT, restore your venous health, and prevent serious complications.

How DVT develops

DVT occurs when a blood clot develops in the deep veins located below the skin’s surface. Deep veins are surrounded by muscles or located along bones. By comparison, superficial veins are close to the skin’s surface and typically carry blood to the deep veins. 

Blood clots normally occur when platelets (cells in your blood) bind together, creating a clot that stops bleeding. This type of clot naturally dissolves and disappears.

But DVT blood clots don’t develop to stop bleeding and they don’t go away. They appear when your blood flow slows down, which lets the blood thicken and clots develop. 

Certain medications, health conditions, smoking, and pregnancy increase your risk of developing blood clots. And your blood flow may turn sluggish if the vein is injured. But DVT frequently develops after you spend a prolonged time sitting or on bed rest, such as after surgery or during an illness.

Why DVT is dangerous

DVT is dangerous because it can quickly turn into a life-threatening condition called a pulmonary embolism. This problem occurs when the clot in your vein breaks free and travels through your bloodstream to your lungs.

Once inside the small arteries in a lung, the clot gets stuck and significantly slows or stops the flow of blood. This places excessive pressure on your heart. Without treatment, the pressure strains your heart, affecting its ability to function, and leading to death.

Pulmonary embolisms cause a range of symptoms. Don’t wait to seek medical attention if you experience:

Chances are you will have DVT symptoms — leg pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness — before experiencing signs of a pulmonary embolism. At that stage, we can treat the DVT and prevent pulmonary embolism or other DVT complications.

Other DVT complications

Other DVT complications don’t pose the immediate threat of a pulmonary embolism, but they can lead to health problems. When you have DVT, it affects blood flow and increases the pressure inside your veins. These clots are also associated with damage to the vein wall. 

The changes that the clot causes lead to post-thrombolytic syndrome, which is chronic venous insufficiency resulting from DVT.

Chronic venous insufficiency means that blood isn’t flowing through your vein properly because the valves are damaged. Damaged venous valves allow blood that should be going up your leg (toward your heart) to flow back down your leg.

As the refluxing blood accumulates in the vein, you develop problems such as:

Venous stasis ulcers are especially worrisome because they won’t heal unless you get intensive wound care. Without medical care, these ulcers keep enlarging and put you at risk of developing serious skin and bone infections.

If you develop symptoms of DVT, protect your health by scheduling an evaluation at Memphis Vein Center in Memphis, Tennessee. Call our office today.

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