When a blood clot is formed in a deep vein, often in the leg, the condition is termed as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The other name of the condition is deep venous thrombosis. The femoral or the popliteal veins in the legs may be affected with this condition. This condition may also affect some of the veins in the pelvic region. In some rare cases, the veins in the arms may also be affected with this condition. At this point, I would like to bring it to your notice, that deep vein thrombosis is not the same as varicose veins. In deep vein thrombosis, the blood flow in the vein can either be blocked partially or completely, due to the blood clot.
One of the most common causes of DVT is immobility, caused due to traveling, hospitalization, surgery, trauma, pregnancy, etc. Obesity, coagulation of blood faster than usual caused due to various reasons, trauma, etc., are some of the other causes of deep vein thrombosis. The symptoms of deep vein thrombosis include swelling in the affected leg, change in skin color, skin is warm to touch, etc. In some cases, there may also be pain and tenderness in the affected leg, due to which the person may find it difficult to stand with weight equally distributed on both the legs. We will now see how to treat deep vein thrombosis.
Deep Vein Thrombosis Treatment
The first step in treatment for deep vein thrombosis is the blood test called D-Dimer. With the results of blood test the physician will be able to ascertain, whether the patient indeed has DVT. This test helps in measuring a substance, which is formed, when a blood clot breaks down. The aim of chronic deep vein thrombosis treatment is to prevent the blood clot from growing in size. It is also important that measures be taken to ensure that the blood clot does not travel towards the heart and/or lungs. At the same time, it is equally important that recurrence of blood clots is prevented.
Most patients are prescribed anticoagulants to ensure that the blood clots do not grow bigger in size. The anticoagulants also prevent the blood clot from disintegrating and traveling to other parts of the body. At the same time, they also prevent formation of any new clots. There are two types of anticoagulants, which are prescribed to the patients.
Heparin: It is often prescribed first, as it helps in preventing any further clotting. There are different ways in which heparin can be given to the patient, like intravenous injection, intravenous infusion or subcutaneous injection.
Warfarin: After the initial treatment of heparin, warfarin is prescribed to the patient. It also helps in preventing formation of blood clots. It is normally given in tablet form. Depending on the condition of the patient, warfarin may be prescribed to the patient for anywhere between three to six months. In some rare cases, the patient may have to take the medicine for life long.
A number of patients have benefited a great deal from using warm compress. The warm compress has to be placed on the area affected with DVT. It helps in better circulation of blood in the affected area. It is a part of the superficial treatment, which also helps in preventing any further formation of clots. Using the hot compress also helps in reducing the size of the blood clot, which further helps in the blood circulation process.
The other name of compression stockings is graduated compression stockings. They are prescribed to patients, who suffer from pain and swelling in the legs. Using the compression stockings regularly helps in reducing these symptoms. They may also be given to patients after surgery to prevent the occurrence of DVT again.
If the patient spends the whole day sitting with the legs hanging down or spends substantial amount of time standing, then place the legs on an elevation for as long as possible. When the legs are placed on an elevation, the pressure on the veins is reduced and also blood and fluid accumulation in the legs is reduced. It is best to sleep with a couple of pillows under the feet at night. This will help in regularizing blood supply to the leg region.
Being overweight is not the best thing, when one suffers from deep vein thrombosis. Therefore, measures will have to be taken to lose weight. Remember the weight has to be shed gradually. Shedding off the weight rapidly can give rise to other complications, which the patient least desires.
Exercises also has an important role to play in deep vein thrombosis. It helps in regularizing blood circulation, which in turn helps in treating the condition. After consulting the physiotherapist, the right exercises can be decided. Some of the stretching exercises can also be included in the exercise regime.
It is important to treat the deep vein thrombosis. Treatment measures should be followed as prescribed by the doctor. It is advisable not to self treat the condition, for it can have serious consequences. If you suffer from breathing difficulties, chest pain, palpitations, etc., then it is best to consult your health care professional, as the condition can prove to be fatal.