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Blood Clot in Leg

Blood Clot in Leg

The condition of blood clot in leg is commonly referred to as 'Deep Vein Thrombosis' (DVT). This article covers some important aspects of this condition.
Bhakti Satalkar
Last Updated: May 19, 2018
Blood clots in leg causes pain and swelling of the leg. But, its symptoms usually go unnoticed till they assume gigantic proportions. If the blood clot detaches itself, it can travel to the heart or to the lungs causing blood vessel blockage. According to statistics, deep vein thrombosis is the third most common cause of death in the United States.
Causal Factors
» It is most commonly caused due to sitting for long periods at a stretch. Dick Cheney, the former Vice President of the United States of America, suffered from deep vein thrombosis due to extensive air travel during his visit to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Australia. Sitting on long haul flights was said to be the reason behind this problem. Similarly, sitting for long periods during car travel can also lead to the formation of a blood clot.
» Injury caused to the blood vessel can also result in this condition. In some conditions, the blood vessel can be damaged, which in turn can give rise to the condition. Other than the trauma caused to the veins, it can result from injuries to the bones of the hip, lower leg, or thigh.
» People, who are obese, are more prone to it, as the excess weight is known to exert pressure on the veins. Similarly, women may suffer from it after childbirth, due to the pressure exerted on the system by the growing baby.
» It can also be formed due to a person's advanced age.
» It is also formed due to change in the blood flow. It can arise out of turbulence, or blood supply can be blocked either partially or completely. A rare condition called hypercoagulability is also known to give rise to the condition. In this condition, the blood has an unusual tendency to clot often, that causes deep vein thrombosis.
» Prolonged illness resulting in bed rest or immobility due to injury can also lead to the formation of a blood clot. Trauma to the lower body can also be responsible for clot formation.
Climbing high altitudes, use of birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, cancer, etc., are some of the other causes of blood clots in the leg. Dehydration is likely to give rise to such a condition, if the person does not consume adequate quantity of water consistently. This causes the blood to become sticky, which in turn leads to clots.
What Indicates the Problem?
Most of the time, the small clots do not produce any kind of symptoms. Over a time, the defense mechanism of the body is able to breakdown these clots without leaving any long-term effects. However, this is true if the clots are small. The symptoms are displayed, when the clots are bigger in size.
The large clots are the dangerous clots, as they partially or completely block the supply of blood. The symptoms of the large clots are enumerated here:
☞ There is a noticeable change in the skin color. Usually the skin color changes to red. In some cases, there can be discoloration of skin and the skin can either have bluish or white discoloration.
☞ Swelling of the affected leg is the most common symptom of its formation in the leg.
☞ It becomes difficult to stand erect or put weight on the affected area due to pain and tenderness. This condition restricts one's daily movements as well.
☞ Another symptom of deep vein thrombosis in the leg is that, the skin feels either hot or warm when touched.
☞ Tightness or pain in the thighs can also be caused by blood clots. The pain is usually noticed while walking.
☞ At times, the veins on the surface of the skin are widened due to the clots.
☞ There will be a noticeable change in color of the skin around the blood clot.
☞ People with this condition may suffer from cramps in the legs, especially during the night.
Treatment Measures
In most cases, a blood clot dissolves on its own. However, if the clot is big in size, then measures will have to be taken to get rid of the condition. Anticoagulants have an important role to play in treating this condition. It helps in thinning the blood, by altering certain chemicals in the blood, so that clots are not formed easily. Using compression stockings helps in preventing formation of any more clots.
After going through a medical procedure, it is important, that one walks around regularly. Walking ensures that the blood supply to the legs is normalized and reduce the risk of clot formation. If bed rest has been advised, at least for a few minutes the legs should be placed on an elevation, this will ensure that undue pressure is not exerted on the legs.
It is important not to neglect any of the symptoms as the clots can be fatal. However, it is most important to prevent the condition itself. If a person spends a number of hours a day sitting in a single place, it is best to take a break after every 30 to 45 minutes and walk around to increase supply of blood to the lower parts of the leg. Similarly, taking small walks on long journeys (either long flights or road journeys) at regular intervals is recommended. In most cases, before a medical procedure in the lower part of the body the patient is given an anticoagulant. People with obesity should work towards reducing their weight in order to prevent deep vein thrombosis.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.