DVT Awareness Month: How does DVT affect your daily life?

Author: Urieliz Cintron

If you are a third-semester medical student just like myself, you must be taking Pathology 1 and would know a lot about Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVTs). My closest friends and family members, who know me, know how much I like to go on a road trip in Puerto Rico and that I can easily drive more than 2 hours to go watch the sunset in the West. After researching today’s article about DVTs, I will make sure to stop and stretch my legs for a bit during my road trips and long flights. Now, let us get serious about DVTs.

March is Deep Vein Thrombosis Awareness Month. I would like to begin by letting you know how you can prevent blot clots. The best way that we can prevent them in our daily lives is by maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and being aware of the signs and symptoms of blood clots (which I mention later in this article). If you are sitting down for a long periods of time (i.e. on a long flight or road trip), try to stand up every couple of hours (2-3 hours) so you can walk or stretch your legs. If you are having a surgery soon, talk to your doctor about the risk of having blood clots. Also, just talk to your doctor in general if you have any condition that can increases your chances of having blood clots.

What is the importance DVT awareness?

DVTs, like the name suggests, are blood clots that form in deep veins. They mostly form in the leg, arm, thighs, or pelvis. These clots can detach from the vein wall and travel to the lungs causing a pulmonary embolism (PE), which can potentially be lethal.

What risk factors are associated with DVT?

Probably the most known risk factor for DVT is prolonged bed rest. For example, patients who are hospitalized for a long time. Patients that inherit a blood disorder where the blood clots more easily and patients with certain cardiovascular diseases. Patients who have injury or surgery that increase the amount of blood clotting (such as hip and knee replacement surgery).

What are the symptoms of DVT?

There are four major symptoms associated with DVT. These are swelling, pain or tenderness, redness or discoloration of the skin, and skin that is warm to touch.

What are the symptoms of a PE?

As mentioned before, a PE is a blockage of the pulmonary artery because of a blood clot that detached from a deep vein. This can cause symptoms such as difficulty breathing, coughing (could cough blood), chest pain that worsens with breathing deeply, and irregular heartbeats.

As always, If you have any concerns about DVT, PEs, or risk of developing blood clots, do not forget to talk to your doctor, or to contact me in a few years 😊.

Sources

Venous thromboembolism (VTE). (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2021, from https://www.worldthrombosisday.org/issue/vte/

Uptodate. (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/deep-vein-thrombosis-dvt-beyond-the-basics

About clots. (2019, August 06). Retrieved March 23, 2021, from https://www.stoptheclot.org/about-clots/

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