Deep vein thrombosis mainly affects the large veins in the lower leg and thigh. The clot can block blood flow and cause swelling and pain. When a clot breaks off and moves through the bloodstream, this is called an embolism. An embolism can get stuck in the brain, lungs, heart, or other area, leading to severe damage.
Blood clots may form when something slows or changes the flow of blood in the veins. Risk factors include:
* After pacemaker catheter has been passed through the vein and groin
* Cigarette smoking
* Family history of blood clots
* Fractures in the pelvis or legs
* Giving birth within the last 6 months
* Heart failure
* Recent surgery (especially hip, knee, or female pelvic surgery)
* Too many blood cells being made by the bone marrow (polycythemia vera), causing the blood to be thicker and slower then normal
You're also more likely to develop DVT if you have any of the following conditions:
* Blood that is more likely to clot (hypercoagulability)
* Taking estrogens or birth control pills. This risk is even higher if you smoke.
* DVTs are most common in adults over the age of 60, but can occur at any age.
* Sitting for long periods can increase the risk of DVTs. This is most likely when one or more of the risk factors listed above are also present.
Novant Health Vein Specialists physicians specialize in a number of state-of-the-art venous procedures and diagnostic tests. To find out more about them, and how these treatments may help you or a loved one, complete the form below and one of our specialists will contact you.