Deep Vein Thrombosis – A Guide
What is deep vein thrombosis? You may know that deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, can occur as a result of blood clots, or long plane flights. You may even know it can be a potentially serious condition. But did you know wearing compression hosiery can actually help prevent deep vein thrombosis? Here our simple guide reveals all, together with helpful advice on dealing with the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis.
For Deep Vein Thrombosis, Daylong recommends:
What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Deep vein thrombosis is a potentially serious condition that affects one person in every 1,000 in the UK each year. It develops when blood clots form and block one of the larger veins that are found deep within your thigh or calf. Deep vein thrombosis causes great discomfort, and is a cause for concern as it can also a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. The symptoms of deep vein thrombosis include:
- Feeling pain, usually in one leg only, which becomes severe.
- Experiencing a deep ache and a feeling of heaviness around the worst of the pain.
- Skin on the painful leg feeling very warm and looks red.
How to prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis
Wearing compression socks or stockings can help prevent deep vein thrombosis. They can help you feel more comfortable as they help to reduce the pain and swelling in your leg. Your doctor, specialist and your pharmacist can all advise about the correct compression garment. Different styles and colours are now available from specialist compression garment suppliers such as Daylong.
We recommend that you choose a light or moderate compression. Try moderate first as it will be more effective but if you find them too tight then you may have to try light. Remember always check with you GP before wearing compression hosiery.
Medical treatment for deep vein thrombosis is important to begin the process of dissolving the clot. You will be given a medicine to do this called an anticoagulant. The most commonly used ones are heparin and warfarin.
What causes Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Deep vein thrombosis is caused by a blood clot in one of the larger veins. This can lead to a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. The problem occurs when part of the blood clot breaks off, travels around the body, and then blocks one of the smaller blood vessels in the lung. If you have deep vein thrombosis and an embolism in your lung, your condition is known medically as venous thromboembolism (VTE).
There are many different causes of varicose veins, including:
- Age: as you get older the chances of developing deep vein thrombosis increase.
- Obesity: gaining weight adds to your risk of deep vein thrombosis.
- Being immobile: if your risk of DVT is already high, being in hospital for an operation, or travelling on a long-haul flight can result in a blood clot in one of your veins.
- Medical history: if you have had problems with blood clots in the past, your risk of it happening again is increased. A history of thrombosis in the family can also make you more prone to deep vein thrombosis.
- Other illnesses: cancer patients or people living with heart failure or circulatory problems need to be monitored for DVT. Deep vein thrombosis can also be a complication of severe varicose veins.
Top tips to protect your legs if you have Deep Vein Thrombosis
- Stay active: if you have a history of deep vein thrombosis, or are thought to be at high risk of developing it, you need to be particularly careful about any situation in which you are not going to be active. Take regular exercise – get your leg muscles moving. This helps move the blood in your veins back to your heart and prevents blood pooling in your ankles and calves.
- When travelling: if you are going on a flight, particularly a long one, always wear your compression stockings; research from several studies has shown that this is an effective way to prevent DVT during air travel. Flex your leg muscles regularly, and get up and walk around whenever possible. Avoid alcohol and drink plenty of water. You can read more travel tips here – travel tips.
- Going into hospital: if you are having an operation, you will be fitted with compression stockings and your medication may be adjusted. Some patients may need extra help from inflatable compression devices worn around the leg to prevent DVT.
- Wear good quality support stockings or compression tights: if you are worried and want to prevent deep vein thrombosis, one of the easiest ways is to wear compression socks or stockings. This is especially beneficial if you stand or sit for long periods, or are suffering varicose veins in pregnancy.