The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - News -

Obesity, high blood pres­sure, and smok­ing are all known haz­ards to your health. But did you know that de­hy­dra­tion, a re­cent preg­nancy, pro­longed im­mo­bil­ity, or vari­cose veins can also trig­ger a life-threat­en­ing con­di­tion known as DVT. Deep vein throm­bo­sis (DVT) threat­ens a mil­lion Amer­i­cans each year. Yet, sur­pris­ingly, we have lit­tle or no aware­ness of this con­di­tion or its symp­toms.

DVT oc­curs when a blood clot forms in one of the large veins, usu­ally in the legs, lead­ing to ei­ther par­tially or com­pletely blocked cir­cu­la­tion. If left un­treated, this clot has the po­ten­tial to move into the lungs and pro­duce a pul­monary em­bolism re­quir­ing im­me­di­ate med­i­cal at­ten­tion. The clas­sic signs of DVT are leg pain, swelling, ten­der­ness, or dis­col­oration of the skin. Pro­longed air travel has also often been as­so­ci­ated with DVT. For­tu­nately, if caught in time, DVT is com­pletely treat­able.

Any­one, even if they are oth­er­wise healthy and ac­tive, can be af­fected. Many ath­letes have re­ceived treat­ment for DVT, in­clud­ing ten­nis star Ser­ena Wil­liams and base­ball player Tony Gwynn. Politi­cians Richard Nixon, Hil­lary Clin­ton, Dick Cheney and Dan Quayle ex­pe­ri­enced DVT. NBC war correspond­ent David Bloom died at the age of 39 while cov­er­ing the war in Iraq. His death was blamed on a pul­monary em­bolism orig­i­nat­ing from a blood clot in his leg. Prior to col­laps­ing, Bloom had spent days cramped and over­heated in a mil­i­tary tank.

Early iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of DVT can pre­vent fa­tal con­se­quences. Al­though pre­ventable, al­most 300,000 Amer­i­cans die an­nu­ally from DVT and its pri­mary com­pli­ca­tion, pul­monary em­bolism. By the time you show symp­toms of a pul­monary em­bolism, it might be too late for you to re­ceive emer­gency care. Typ­i­cal symp­toms of a pul­monary em­bolism are short­ness of breath, rapid pulse, per­spi­ra­tion, sharp chest pain, or low blood pres­sure. Only your doctor can de­ter­mine if you are at risk for Deep Vein Throm­bo­sis. A re­view of your per­sonal his­tory and cur­rent health with them can help you to know your per­sonal risk and de­velop a plan to ad­dress them.

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