A thrombosis is a blood clot in the vein. If blood clots break off, they can travel to the lungs and block the flow of oxygen. This is a pulmonary embolism and requires emergency treatment.
Thrombosis is common. Around 900,000 Americans get this diagnosis every year, a rate of 1–2 in every 1,000. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is the most serious of venous diseases and leads to the sudden death of 25% of the people who experience it.
Signs of DVT
Knowing the signs of DVT can save a life. If you notice any of the following symptoms, seek an emergency medical evaluation:
- Pain in the leg when walking
- A heavy sensation in the leg
- Swelling, tenderness or redness in the leg
On examination, a doctor will be able to feel the blood clot in the vein.
Reducing the Risk of Blood Clots
Certain groups of people have a higher risk of having a DVT so there are things they can do to prevent it.
1. Get regular exercise
Regular exercise and eating healthy help. People who have a higher BMI have a higher risk of blood clots. Long periods of immobility, such as sitting in front of a computer, can be dangerous too.
2. Move around during long flights
Long-haul flights increase the risk for DVT. This is because people sit for hours in cramped seating. If you can afford it, don’t fly economy class and move around as much as possible.
3. Be watchful after pregnancy
Pregnancy increases the risk of clots because of the hormone estrogen, so right after giving birth, look out for symptoms. Estrogen-containing contraceptive pills can also cause clots.
DVT is a life-threatening venous disease, but learning about its risk factors and recognizing the signs will help avoid them.