Have you ever experienced a swell in your legs or did you know anyone who did. In some parts of Africa; in Nigeria, for instance, some persons may attribute swollen legs to poisoning or some fetish reasons. But it might interest you to know that it is only a medical condition that can be managed or prevented.
Estimates suggest that 60,000-100,000 Americans die of DVT/PE (also called venous thromboembolism).
– 10 to 30% of people will die within one month of diagnosis.
– Sudden death is the first symptom in about one-quarter (25%) of people who have a PE. (source: CDC)
What Is DVT?
Deep vein thrombosis refers to a blood clot that forms inside a vein, usually deep within the leg
Death or Organ Damage: Part of the clot can break off and travel through the bloodstream; it can get stuck in the lungs, hinder blood flow and lead to death. In some cases breathing challenges, low blood pressure, fainting, faster heart rate, chest pain, and coughing up blood may occur. Such conditions occur when a clot moves into the lungs and blocks the blood supply; it is termed Pulmonary Embolism
Dial 112 for emergency support whenever you experience any of these
After Effects of DVT
You may experience swelling, pain or changes in your skin color even after the initial clot is gone.
This is referred to as post-thrombotic syndrome.
Who is at risk of DVT?
The chances of DVT is higher in persons who smoke, or are overweight, obese, living with cancer
or those who may have had surgery. It also includes pregnant women, ageing persons. It thrives in non active periods such as long travels, prolonged bed rest
Birth control pills and certain postmenopausal treatments may raise the estrogen level in the woman’s blood; consequently, this may increase the risk of DVT
A lot of the time people do not get any initial warning sign but if they do swelling, redness, tenderness and pain around the area of the clot are common.
Causes of DVT?
Surgery, injury, the immune system or other conditions that can damage the inner lining of the vein may cause DVT. Blood clots can be easily formed in Persons with genetic disorders or too much estrogen in their system .Thick or slow flowing blood may form a clot,
Consult your physician
Several options are available to your doctor beginning with a diagnosis. Information that may be helpful to your doctor may include your medical history, medications or other risk factors
An Ultrasound will provide a clear view of the blood flow and reveal any clot.
The d-dimer blood test may also be necessary
What You Can Do
1. Get Compression socks:
Compression socks will provide mild pressure on your legs to enhance blood flow, prevent the formation of clots, reduce swelling and relieve pain. Compression socks are available over the counter else asks your doctor for a prescription so you can get socks with more pressure.
2. Raise your legs
To aid blood flow to the heart and reduce swelling and pain, raise your feet or legs
from the floor when sitting.
Regular exercise is key, avoid been inactive for too long. This helps you stay healthy and reduce the risk of DVT
There are several treatment options available including medications, but it is advisable to consult your doctor and not indulge in self medication, some of the medications used may have side effects hence will require your physicians diagnosis.