When blood clots form within the vein, the condition is referred to as deep vein thrombosis. Given in this HealthHearty article, are the various symptoms, which can help identify this condition at the earliest and determine the proper line of treatment.
Deep vein thrombosis is a condition, in which, there is formation of a blood clot or thrombus in a deep vein, usually of the legs or arms. This is usually accompanied by thrombophlebitis, i.e., inflammation of the vein. This condition usually affects the leg veins, like the femoral or popliteal vein. Sometimes, the veins of the arm can also be affected. At times, this condition can also be asymptomatic, however, this happens only if the clot is so small that it does not cause any obstruction to the blood flow. A thrombosis can occur due to, either decreased flow of the blood, damage to the blood vessel wall, or due to an increased tendency of the blood to clot, i.e., hypercoagulability.
Signs and Symptoms
- Unfortunately, around half the cases of deep vein thrombosis do not present any symptoms. This is because, the blood, while flowing through the vessel, tries its best to bypass the clot. If there is even partial blockage of the artery, there are chances of the blood flow still being normal.
- One of the first symptoms of this condition, include, swelling in one or both the legs. This swelling is normally accompanied by redness and discoloration. At times, the leg may even turn bluish, which is a sign that the leg muscles aren’t getting enough oxygen, which is why there is cyanosis, or bluish discoloration of the legs.
- The patient normally, also complains of pain in one or both legs. This pain generally occurs due to insufficient amount of oxygen and blood reaching other parts of the leg. This pain may aggravate on standing and walking.
- A spectrum of DVT symptoms includes, phlegmasia alba dolens, which literally means white leg or milk leg. This is one of the initial stages, when there is just mild occlusion, which makes the leg look pale. It is a sudden and acute process, which then makes the leg rely on superficial veins for drainage. This superficial venous system is not adequate to carry out blood drainage for the leg, due to which, there is edema, pain, and paleness seen in the leg. The temperature of the leg is below normal with a diminished arterial pulse due to a spasm.
- When there is acute and complete occlusion of venous supply to the lower extremity, then the leg becomes cyanosed, painful, and severely edematous. If the condition is not treated at this stage, then it may progress to venous gangrene of the leg.
- In Paget-von Schrötter disease, the symptoms of DVT are observed in the arms. In this condition, there is formation of blood clots in the deep veins of the arms. The most commonly affected veins are the axillary vein and the subclavian vein. This condition is relatively rare, and is seen in young and otherwise healthy individuals. It presents as redness, warmth, pain, and swelling in the arm. It is an emergency condition that should be treated on a priority basis.
It is important that a person does not overlook or downplay these symptoms. This is because, the DVT can easily get dislodged, in which case, through blood circulation, it can get lodged in the lungs and lead to a pulmonary embolism, which is a blockage of the main artery of the lung. This can lead to difficulty in breathing, chest pain, and palpitations, which could eventually be fatal. Thus, signs and symptoms of DVT must be dealt with, on a priority basis, as they may otherwise lead to fatal complications.