Every year, almost 1 million Americans are affected by deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT leads to death for between 60,000-100,000 people diagnosed with this serious vascular condition.
If you have DVT, seeking medical care right away can save your life. But if you’re like many Americans, you may not be aware of the signs you have this condition. At Hamptons Vein & Vascular in Rutherford and Westfield, New Jersey, Rashmi Sharma, MD, RPVI, and our team have the expertise and skill required to diagnose and treat your DVT.
Dr. Sharma also believes in the power of patient education, so we’ve put together this informative post to explain the signs and symptoms you need to know about this potentially life-threatening condition.
Take a moment to read about DVT and the warning signs that you need to take seriously.
Understanding deep vein thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis occurs when a blood clot forms deep inside your body. This serious condition most commonly develops in the thighs and lower legs, but DVT can occur in other parts of the body as well.
Several conditions can cause the blood clots that lead to DVT, including:
- Injury or surgery
- Leading a sedentary life and lack of exercise
- Some medications (e.g., high-estrogen birth control)
- Being overweight or obese
- Smoking or using tobacco products
Deep vein thrombosis can become a life-threatening medical condition because the blood clot can break away and travel through your body to your lungs or cause a blockage. In these cases, DVT can cause a potentially fatal condition called a pulmonary embolism.
DVT signs to take seriously
The most common sign of DVT is swelling in one leg, foot, or ankle. Swelling on one side only is key because many people experience swelling in both legs for other reasons — especially during the warmer months of spring and summer. Puffiness in both legs or lower extremities is rarely a result of DVT.
Other warning signs of DVT differ depending on where in your body the blood clot forms.
Signs of DVT in the lower extremities include:
- Swelling in one leg, ankle, or foot
- Tender or warm skin on the affected leg, ankle, or foot
- Discoloration in one lower extremity
- Cramping in the affected extremity
- Sharp and/or shooting pain in one foot or ankle
Signs of DVT in the upper extremities include:
- Swelling in one arm or hand
- Neck and/or shoulder pain
- Discoloration in one upper extremity
- Weakness in one hand or its fingers
When DVT occurs in the upper extremities, it can also trigger sharp, shooting pain that travels from your upper arm to your forearm.
Help for deep vein thrombosis
If you have one or more symptoms of DVT, especially if one of your legs appears swollen or puffy, contact us immediately. DVT is a serious medical condition requiring timely treatment.
We evaluate your medical history and symptoms, then conduct a physical exam and any necessary imaging studies, such as ultrasound, to deliver an accurate diagnosis.
If you’re diagnosed with DVT, we provide the care you need to prevent the blood clot from breaking off and causing potentially life-threatening complications like pulmonary embolism.
If you have any of the warning signs of DVT or want to learn more about treatment options for this vascular condition, contact the Hamptons Vein & Vascular office nearest you by phone or online to schedule an appointment right away.