Deep Vein Thrombosis
What is deep vein thrombosis?
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is when a thrombus (blood clot) occurs in the deep veins of your body, usually the legs, however they can also develop in the chest, arms and other areas of the body. Having symptoms of DVT can be serious to your health, not only does it cause severe swelling and pain in the affected area, but the blood clots can get stuck in blood vessels, break loose and travel to important bodily functions, such as your lungs, brain or even heart. Having blood clots could cause serious organ damage and in some cases, death.
What causes deep vein thrombosis?
Deep vein thrombosis is caused due to lack of blood flow. The main side effect from slow blood flow is blood clots. Causes from deep vein thrombosis’s poor blood flow vary. Some causes may include:
Immobility: Lack of mobility decreases blood flow. It is recommended to try to be active throughout the day, even if it is only a 15 minute walk every few hours.
Accidents: Serious accidents can cause damage to the normal functionality of veins and cause blood flow to decrease in certain areas of the body.
Confinement: Confinement to a nursing home bed or hospital bed can cause decreased blood flow due to immobility. Calf muscles should be moved regularly to help veins push blood back up the body.
Surgery: More often than not, soon after any procedure that requires the reduction of blood flow to a part of the body, blood clots can form due to tissues, proteins and fats loosening in the veins. Damage to vein walls can also release chemicals that trigger blood clots.
Weight: Being overweight or obese adds pressure to the veins trying to circulate through the legs and pelvis.
Heritage: Some people may inherit blood clotting disorders that makes them more prone to blood clotting.
Pulmonary Embolism and Deep Vein Thrombosis
A pulmonary embolism may be preventable with the treatment needed with deep vein thrombosis. A pulmonary embolism is caused when a large blood clot or several clusters of blood clots block a lung artery. Serious conditions that may occur due to a deep vein thrombus breaking loose are lung damage, low oxygen, and damage to organs due to low oxygen levels. If there is a blood clot that is large enough or too many blood clots that get into an artery, death can occur. Symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include: shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing up blood. 50% of people who are affected with a pulmonary embolism claim they did not have symptoms, so it is recommended to visit a doctor at least once or twice a year for a check up.
Treatment for Deep Vein Thrombosis
In order to reduce the damage blood clots do to organs, anticoagulants must be used. There are several types of anticoagulation methods. Some of them are:
Consult with a doctor before the use of any of these methods.
Heparin: Blood thinner injection used to prevent blood clots.
LMWH: Low molecular weight heparin is used to either prevent or treat a blood clot. Injections are given once or twice each day.
Vitamin K: Used for helping against blood clots and preventing excessive bleeding. Vitamin K is obtained from eating leafy greens, meats, cheeses, eggs, and synthesized bacteria.
Daily Recommended Vitamin K
- 0-6 months
- 7-12 months
- 1-3 years
- 4-8 years
- 9-13 years
- Girls: 14-18 years
- Pregnant or breastfeeding: >19 years
- Pregnant or breastfeeding: 19-50 years
- Boys: 14-18 years
- Men: 19+ years
- Micrograms per day
- 2 micrograms
- 2.5 micrograms
- 30 micrograms
- 55 micrograms
- 60 micrograms
- 75 micrograms
- 75 micrograms
- 90 micrograms
- 75 micrograms
- 120 micrograms
Post Thrombotic Syndrome
Around 50% of people who have experienced deep vein thrombosis can develop Post Thrombotic Syndrome (PTS). PTS symptoms include ulcers or sores, redness or rashes, chronic swelling and leg pain. Inflammation in veins block blood flow and cause damage to the veins valves. When valves are damaged, they tend to leak, causing pools of fluids and blood, which can become blood clots.