Sunday 25 March 2012

Symptoms of a Deep Vein Thrombosis


I though I'd write a post on how to recognize the symptoms of a Deep Vein Thrombosis or pulmonary embolism because without identification and fast action you could end up with some serious problems or even losing your life. Luckily enough I was able to see my GP provider the next day, not know I had a DVT, but she recognized the symptoms immediately and sent me straight to hospital - she probably saved my life that day given the extent of the clot in my leg and lungs.

What to Look Out For

The signs you should look out for with a DVT are:
  • Pain or tenderness - this can range from an ache or to the point where you can't bear anything on your leg
  • Swelling - I didn't realize how much swelling there was until I put on my jeans
  • Warm to hot skin in the area of the clot(s)
  • Redness or bluish tinge to the leg especially if lowered for long periods of time
  • DVTs normally effect the calf but can occur in the groin, thigh or even the arms


If the clot is left untreated for a period of time you can risk some of it breaking off an traveling to you lung (pulmonary embolism), heart (coronary thrombosis/heart attack) or brain (stroke). There is a vast vat of information out there about heart attacks and strokes and recognizing the symptoms so I will just be focusing on pulmonary embolisms here.
The symptoms to look out for with pulmonary embolisms are:
  • Breathlessness - this may happen suddenly or gradually
  • Chest pain - it may become worse when you breathe in deeply
  • Sudden collapse - call the emergency services immediately
If you are asthmatic or suffer from any other respiratory condition you might find it a little difficult to gage whether or not this is a bad episode of your condition or if it relates to clotting. If you are ever in doubt seek medical attention immediately, it is better to get yourself checked over and find out it was 'nothing' than to suffer the effects of a clot and risk losing on organ, or worse your life.

One of the after effects of you may experience, especially from a large clot, is venous insufficiency. This term means that the valves in the vein do not work properly so the blood flows back down the leg instead of back to the heart which causes blood and fluid to pool in the feet and ankles.

Another complication of deep vein thrombosis is post-thrombotic syndrome which is experienced by at least 50% of DVT patients. PTS occurs when the body releases enzymes to create scar tissue from the clot causing the vein to narrow which leads to pain, swelling, fatigue, and even skin changes such as ulcers from poor circulation. 

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I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has every experienced this. Please leave or comment, or email me if you would like to share.

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