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Footnotes / Blog

Lower Extremity Blood Clots (DVT)

Sunday, October 29th, 2017 Elizabeth Anthony

Deep Vein Thrombosis

When a blood clot forms in a deep vein in the body, most often the legs, it is known as a deep vein thrombosis. Clots can be caused by certain medical conditions, or can present after a period of immobilization (e.g. after surgery or long hospitalization). Deep vein thromboses are dangerous because of the risk of the clot breaking off and traveling through the veins to your lung’s. This is known as a pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Swelling in one leg
  • Redness in one foot/leg
  • Pain in calf
  • Increased temperature of affected leg

Sometimes there are no signs or symptoms of a blood clot in the calf, but if you do develop these signs, you should see your physician.

What are the Risk Factors for DVT?

  • Inherited clotting disease
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Birth Control Pills
  • Cancer (malignancy increased risk of blood clotting)
  • Immbolization/Sitting for long periods
  • Surgery
  • Overweight/Obese

Prevention

  • Stay Active! Exercise reduces the risk of blood clots and increased circulation to the extremities.
  • Quitting smoking can greatly reduce the chances of developing a DVT.
  • Losing weight can take pressure off the veins in the lower extremity which would allow blood to flow more freely.

How are DVT’s Diagnosed? 

An ultrasound of the veins of the lower extremity can detect blood clots in the veins. A specific blood test can also be done which would show elevated levels of “D-Dimer”, indicative of a blood clot.

Treatment

Treatment consisits of taking an anticoagulant (blood thinner) can decrease the body’s ability to form blood clots and prevent existing clots from enlarging. Blood thinners are given in anticoagulant and pill forms.

More serious DVT’s may require a clot buster through an IV to break up the clot.

Some physicians opt to place a filter into one of their patient’s vein, which is believed to decrease the chance of clot formation.

Compression stockings are always reccomended to people who have suffered lower extremity blood clots.

 

The licensed podiatrists at Innovative Foot and Ankle are all trained detecting blood clots in the lower legs, and can have you tested and sent for treatment if you are diagnosed. We have four offices in the northern New Jersey Counties of Essex, Union, Hudson and Bergen.