Blood clotting is a necessary function in the human body as it prevents excessive bleeding following an injury. However, blood clotting can also be deadly, as some clots form inside of the body, restricting blood flow and oxygen to vital organs. When clots prevent normal blood flow and oxygen to the brain, there is a stroke. When clots develop in the coronary arteries, a deadly heart attack can occur. Blood clots that form in the veins and travel to the lungs can cause a pulmonary embolism (PE). Find out why blood clots in lungs (PE) are so dangerous and how they are connected to venous disease and leg health.
PE (Blood Clots in Lungs) and Venous Disease
Blood clots in lungs or PE are not formed in the lungs. Rather, the blood clots form elsewhere in the body, primarily the legs. There they are known as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). If these clots break free, they can travel to the lungs, causing a life threatening PE.
Recent studies have also found a link between varicose veins and DVT, though it is unclear if varicose veins are the cause or if the two conditions merely share the same risk factors.
Other factors that increase the risk of developing a DVT include:
Recent injury or surgery
Side-effects of medications
Weight gain and obesity
Prolonged bed rest
Side-effects of other medical conditions
Prior history of blood clots
Family history of blood clots.
Symptoms of DVT and PE
You can learn how to recognize blood clot symptoms, and how to respond to your symptoms, with these tips. Do not wait. Seek medical attention.
DVT often does not show any symptoms. Up to 50% of patients with DVT may be asymptomatic. If you have the following symptoms, however, call your doctor or contact our office right away:
Unexplained leg pain
Difficulty walking or pain with walking
Tender area of the skin that is red or warm to the touch
Unexplained itching in the affected area
The earlier a DVT is diagnosed and treated the better the chance of resolving it before it becomes a serious health problem. Especially if it’s before it breaks free and travels to the lungs, causing a life-threatening PE.
Our Better Veins for Life principles are lifestyle changes that help anyone who has venous disease or just wants to live healthier everyday. These five changes can improve your leg health and circulation, reduce leg heaviness and discomfort, and even prevent further vein damage.
Obesity increases the risk of varicose veins and DVT, as it places additional pressure on leg veins, slowing healthy circulation. Additionally, the sedentary lifestyle associated with being overweight slows healthy blood flow, increasing the risks of clotting. Learn more about obesity and venous disease.
Elevate your legs daily to promote healthy circulation. Your feet must be higher than your heart, allowing gravity to assist with healthy blood flow from your legs back to your heart. Do this every evening before bed for at least 30-minutes. Learn more about leg elevation.
When you can’t flex or move around, compression wear does a lot to ensure healthy circulation. Wearing medical grade graduated compression socks reduces your risk of developing blood clots during long flights or if you’re stuck at your desk all day at work.Learn more about the health benefits of compression.
Tight, restrictive clothing and high heels contribute to unhealthy circulation, varicose veins, and even blood clots. Restrict your high heel wear and opt for fashionable flats. Make sure your pants fit comfortably and do not dig into your skin. Learn more about how to make healthier fashion choices.
Even when you follow these recommended lifestyle changes, you can still develop varicose veins, DVT and PE. Do not ignore symptoms of varicose veins, DVT or PE simply because you live a healthy, active lifestyle. Blood clots can happen to anyone.
Before a Blood Clot Develops, Treat Your Varicose Veins!
Don’t wait to get help for varicose veins. Too many of our patients waited until the pain was unbearable and the veins were large, bulging, and bleeding. By evaluating even small varicose veins or discussing leg discomfort with our team, you can prevent more painful, life threatening, and expensive care in the future.
Whether you have visible varicose veins or general leg discomfort, contact Vein Specialists of the South for an evaluation. In addition to guiding you through our recommended lifestyle changes, we offer expert medical treatment for venous disease. By treating your veins and engaging in a healthy and active lifestyle, you can reduce your risk of developing DVT and PE.
Typically, our treatments are minimally invasive and performed right in our office. No general anesthesia, hospital stay, or downtime is required, and our patients often leave with instructions to apply a simple self-adhesive bandage and take over-the-counter acetaminophen (Tylenol) to manage any discomfort.
Dr. Kenneth Harper, founder of Vein Specialists of the South, has evaluated more than 22,000 patients and performed over 18,000 procedures since 2000. Dr. Harper is a leader in comprehensive vein care, having focused on diagnosis and treatments for varicose veins, spider veins, venous ulcers, and leg swelling since 1997.