10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About DVT
6. What if I can't take blood thinners, or the clot is really big?
Doctors use drugs called thrombolytics to quickly break down a big clot that threatens to cut off blood flow. Your doctor will want to keep a close eye on you, because the medication can cause uncontrolled bleeding.
Or your doctor may recommend surgery to put a vena cava filter -- a tiny umbrella-like device -- inside the big vein that goes to your lungs. It can catch a dislodged clot before it causes trouble.
7. Can I exercise while being treated?
You can still move around and walk after you've been diagnosed, but you should take it easy. After about a week, you can gradually build up your activity level.
Talk to your doctor about what exercise you like to do and whether it's safe.
8. Can DVT cause a stroke or heart attack?
A clot from a deep vein can't move to the heart to cause a heart attack or to the brain to cause a stroke. But a blood clot in an artery -- called arterial thrombosis -- can.
9. Are there any lasting effects after DVT?
Some people have occasional pain, swelling, and skin color changes where the clot was. This is known as post-thrombotic syndrome.
10. What are my chances of having another DVT? Can I prevent it?
One-third of people with DVT or PE will have a second bout within 10 years. Preventing that depends on what caused yours in the first place.
Some things, like age and inherited blood disorders, can't be helped. But you can make some changes to lower your risk, such as losing weight and being more active. On long trips or when you have to sit for a long time, you'll need to stretch your legs, get up, and move around.
If you have to go to the hospital for any reason, explain to the staff that you've had DVT. They'll likely put you on blood thinners or use compression stockings on your legs to keep your blood flowing and avoid another clot.