Skip to content

Deep Vein Thrombosis Health Center

Danger! Deep Vein Thrombosis

Could you have a life-threatening blood clot?
Font Size
A
A
A

Who Is at Risk for Deep Vein Thrombosis? continued...

Some diseases, health conditions, habits, and treatments can also increase the risks of getting deep vein thrombosis. They include:

  • Obesity
  • Advanced age
  • Smoking
  • Dehydration
  • Pregnancy
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease or stroke
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Birth control pills

In many people, the risk factors are compounded. For instance, if you have heart disease, you might not get as much exercise as you once did. You become more sedentary and start gaining weight. Combining heart disease, excess weight, and immobility dramatically raises your risk of deep vein thrombosis.

DVT: Symptoms and Warning Signs

The classic symptoms of DVT, which are confined to the affected area, typically the lower leg, include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Redness or discoloration of the skin

But unfortunately, about half of the time, deep vein thrombosis has no symptoms at all. Or it may have uncommon symptoms. Often, the first symptom is pulmonary embolism, when a blood clot breaks off and moves into the lungs.

Typical symptoms of a pulmonary embolism are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid pulse
  • Sweating
  • Feeling of apprehension
  • Sharp chest pain that worsens when you breath deeply
  • Low blood pressure
  • Unconsciousness
  • Coughing up blood

One DVT Survivor's Story

Sherry Wilcox knows that deep vein thrombosis can have unusual symptoms. In July 2003, at the age of 38, Wilcox went to a Georgia hospital with intense pain in her chest and back. Doctors ran tests and assured her that she was fine.

Two weeks later, Wilcox collapsed in the middle of a meeting. She spent the next few months in and out of the hospital, yet her doctors were still stumped. In desperation, she agreed to her gynecologist's recommendation to get a hysterectomy. It didn't help.

It was only three months after her first trip to the hospital that Wilcox finally was diagnosed with DVT, once she finally showed the typical symptoms. The blood flow was so blocked that her leg swelled up by four inches and turned purple.

Wilcox has a degree in nursing and she knew about deep vein thrombosis. But she never considered that she might have it.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Today on WebMD

TAG dvt blood clot
Symptoms, causes, risk factors, and more.
businesswoman in airport
Tips to prevent another clot.
 
blood thinners
Tips for DVT.
Blood clots in artery
Causes and treatments.
 
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Slideshow
Having Surgery Tips To Reduce DVT Risk And More
Slideshow
 
New DVT Therapies On The Horizon
Video
Atrial Fibrillation Guide
Slideshow
 

WebMD Special Sections