ARE YOU AT RISK FOR DVT?
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.