March is Venous Thrombo-embolism (VTE) awareness month. VTE includes Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Emboli (PE).
A Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in the deep veins in the legs. If the clot breaks free and moves to the lung it is a Pulmonary Embolism (PE). The goal is to promote the awareness, prevention and treatment of DVT/PE.
Venous clots are a burden; as many as 600,000 people have DVT/PE each year. More than half of these are undiagnosed and over 100,000 die each year of PE. Most know someone who has suffered with a DVT or fatal PE.
A serious condition like DVT and PE can go undiagnosed when there are no symptoms. At times swelling or discomfort of DVT mimics other conditions resulting in a missed or delayed diagnosis possibly allowing the clot to progress and a fatal PE to occur.
A simple questionnaire can identify your risks for DVT/PE. Recognized risks include hospitalization, recent major surgery or injury, personal or family history of a clotting disorder or DVT, cancer and cancer treatments, pregnancy, use of hormone replacement therapy or birth control products, extended bed rest, prolonged sitting when traveling, obesity and smoking.
If you know your risks DVT / PE may be preventable. Measures like regular activity, healthy eating and talking to your health care provider about preventing blood clots before any surgical procedure or hospitalization are important.
Even if you know your risks and take preventive measures all DVT/PE is not preventable. You should seek help if you have leg pain or swelling, chest pain, shortness of breath or an anxious feeling. Ask you provider if this could be a DVT or PE. If diagnosed and treated early, most blood clots aren’t life-threatening.
Patients ask if vein disease increases the risk of DVT/PE or superficial vein thrombosis (SVT)? Since vein disease reverses or slows the venous flow in the superficial veins it increases the risks of clots. Though an SVT is painful it is not as serious as DVT since there is less risk of PE. Consultation with a vein specialist can determine the best treatment for DVT and SVT. In certain situations SVT may require anticoagulation.
Most DVT’s are diagnosed with an ultrasound and treated with anticoagulation or blood thinners. In special situations DVT’s may be treated with clot busting drugs followed by blood thinners. PE’s required special diagnostic tests (chest CT scans, MRI’s) and treatment modalities based on the severity of the symptoms.
Vein Specialists of the South, LLC treats patients with venous reflux disease, varicose veins, spider veins and leg swelling using the Venefit RF Closure procedure. Venefit is an office based procedure eliminating venous reflux without pain; Walk in, walk out with little to no down time. Let the Vein Specialists diagnose and treat your vein problems for Healthy Legs for Life.