"Typically, a person calls saying, 'I've had 3 or 4 days of swelling in one of my legs, and it won't go down,'" says Terri Remy, MD, of Primary Care Alexandria in Virginia.
Symptoms usually include swelling and sometimes pain and tenderness. But you won't always have them.
Who Gets It?
You're more likely to get DVT if you:
- Have a blood clotting disorder
- Are obese
- Take birth control pills
- Are pregnant
- Have a chronic condition such as cancer, heart disease, lung disease, or inflammatory bowel disease
- Are in a wheelchair
- Can't get up and move around for a long time, such as on a long flight
Even if the clot doesn't move, it can still be a problem. If it gets too big, it could block blood flow and damage the valves in the vein. This can make your leg hurt, swell, and change color.
The condition is preventable, says Charles Cutler, MD. His advice? Keep your weight healthy, and be active.
If you must stay seated for a long time, move your legs and flex your calves to keep your blood pumping. On a long flight, get up to walk the aisle at least every hour or so. Pull over often during road trips to take short walks.
When an injury or illness confines you to bed, start moving around as much and as soon as possible. Walking is really good for you.