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Deep Vein Thrombosis Health Center

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Danger! Deep Vein Thrombosis

Could you have a life-threatening blood clot?

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:

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:

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.

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