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    Deep Vein Thrombosis (Blood Clot in the Leg, DVT)

    Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in one of the major deep veins, usually of the lower legs, thighs, or pelvis. A clot blocks blood circulation through these veins, which carries blood from the lower body back to the heart. The blockage can cause pain, swelling, or warmth in the leg. Blood clots in the veins can cause inflammation called thrombophlebitis. If the clot breaks loose and travels through the bloodstream, it can block a blood vessel in the lungs. Called pulmonary embolism, this can lead to severe trouble breathing and even death.

    In the U.S., between 300,000 and 600,000 people per year get deep vein thrombosis. About 100,000 people die each year from pulmonary embolism.

    Recommended Related to DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis)

    Pulmonary Embolism: A Complication of DVT

    A pulmonary embolism (PE) usually happens when a blood clot called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), often in your leg, travels to your lungs and blocks a blood vessel. That leads to low oxygen levels in your blood. It can damage the lung and other organs and cause heart failure, too. A PE can be life-threatening, so if you've been diagnosed with DVT, you should be aware of this risk. Follow the treatment plan for your DVT to stop the clot from getting bigger and to keep new clots from forming.

    Read the Pulmonary Embolism: A Complication of DVT article > >

    Deep Vein Thrombosis Causes

    Three things can cause a clot to form inside a blood vessel:

    1. Damage to the inside of a blood vessel
    2. Changes in normal blood flow
    3. Hypercoagulability, a state in which the blood is more likely than usual to clot

    Anything that contributes to one or more of these three things can cause deep vein thrombosis. The common risk factors are:

    • Sitting for a long time, such as during a long plane or car ride
    • Long bed rest or immobility, such as after an injury or while ill (for instance, after a stroke)
    • Recent surgery, particularly orthopedic, gynecologic, or heart surgery
    • Recent injury to the lower body, such as fractures of the bones of the hip, thigh, or lower leg
    • Obesity
    • Heart attack or heart failure
    • Recent childbirth
    • Being at very high altitude, greater than 14,000 feet
    • Estrogen replacement therapy or birth control pills
    • Cancer
    • Rare, inherited blood-clotting problems
    • Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), a condition in which blood clotting occurs inappropriately, usually caused by overwhelming infection or organ failure
    • Certain heart or respiratory conditions
    • Advanced age

    If a person has one deep vein thrombosis, they are more likely to have a second deep vein thrombosis.

    Deep Vein Thrombosis Symptoms

    1 | 2 | 3 | 4

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