Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is an ailment, in which, blood clotting or coagulation takes place in our deep vein systems. Let us explore more about the symptoms and treatment for this disease.
Thrombus means a clot. When blood clots occur in deep vein systems they result in the reverse flow of the blood to the heart and to the lungs eventually.
In medical parlance, this condition of reverse flow is known as pulmonary embolism (PE). The blood clot is known as embolus and the process of blood traveling back to the lungs through heart is known as embolism. The seriousness can be understood by the fact that almost 30% of DVT leads to pulmonary embolism. A survey has found out that about 60,000 people in the US die of PE annually. More often than not, the death due to PE is misunderstood to be caused by heart attacks.
Similar to DVT, the superficial thrombophlebitis occurs in superficial system of veins leading to the formation of swelling, pain, and redness on the skin surface of the area. Like DVT, it is not so serious a problem. Every part of the body is prone to be affected by Deep vein thrombosis, however, the thighs, legs, and pelvis are affected more frequently.
Deep vein thrombosis is caused by several factors including injury to the veins, decreased blood flow in the veins, and the tendency of the blood to clot. Hence, people affected by paralysis, with a cast on the leg for healing a fractured bone, confined to bed for longer duration for medical or surgical reasons, and sitting crossed legs for longer duration are at a higher risk of developing this disease.
The tendency of the blood to clot is increased because of certain conditions. While some conditions are developed in one’s life, some others are inherited by birth. Use of birth control pills, the state of pregnancy, the decease cancer, and ulcerative colitis and some unusual blood conditions are examples of acquired conditions. Deficiencies in blood components, on the other hand, are owned by birth.
Tenderness and pain in the legs, swelling, increased warmth, and redness of the skin, are some of the common symptoms. The malaise can be examined with the help of x-rays, Doppler scans, plethysmography, and blood tests. The causes for increased clotting, known as hypercoagulability can be understood by the means of blood tests.
The most crucial part of the treatment involves remedies to normalize blood clotting. This helps prevent the occurrence of PE in DVT affected person. Heparin is the most common medication that is administered for this purpose. The main function of heparin is to stop blood clotting. Normally, it is administered through veins, and for this reason, the patient needs to be hospitalized. The treatment increases the anticoagulation property of the blood.
Along with heparin, an oral medication called warfarin is used. However, warfarin is slow in its effect. Hence, heparin is continued along with warfarin for at least 24 hours. Warfarin should be continued for at least 6 months. The function of warfarin is to increase the time taken for blood clotting, known as prothrombin time (PT). The ability of the blood to clot properly is measured by the means of a system called International Normalized ratio (INR). Warfarin is adjusted in such a way that INR is between 2 and 3. People should understand the seriousness of the ailment, and take all the possible preventive measures to avoid it.