What Cause DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis)?

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a serious medical condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the legs. While DVT may initially seem harmless, if left untreated, it can lead to life-threatening complications such as pulmonary embolism.

Understanding the factors that contribute to the development of DVT, as well as recognising its associated risk factors, play a pivotal role in both prevention and early detection efforts.

By comprehensively grasping the underlying causes and potential triggers of DVT, individuals can adopt proactive measures to mitigate their risk and promptly seek medical attention, when necessary, thereby safeguarding their overall health and well-being.

What is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?

Deep Vein Thrombosis, often abbreviated as DVT, is a condition characterised by the formation of blood clots in the deep veins of the body, typically in the legs. These blood clots can obstruct blood flow and cause inflammation in the affected vein. If a blood clot breaks loose and travels through the bloodstream, it can lodge in the lungs, causing a potentially fatal condition known as pulmonary embolism.

DVT Diagram

What are the Symptoms of DVT?

Recognising the symptoms of DVT is paramount for facilitating prompt medical intervention and preventing potential complications. An understanding of the common signs associated with DVT is essential in recognising this condition early and seeking appropriate medical care. Common signs and symptoms of DVT include:

  • Swelling in the affected leg, there may also be some pain or tenderness.
  • Warmth and redness over the affected area.
  • Pain or discomfort, especially when standing or walking.
  • Skin discolouration, such as turning pale or blue.
  • Swelling of the calf or thigh.

It's important to note that some individuals with DVT may not exhibit any symptoms, making it a silent threat that can go unnoticed until complications arise.

What Causes DVT?

Numerous interrelated factors can significantly contribute to the development of Deep Vein Thrombosis. These factors encompass a wide range of influences, spanning from lifestyle choices and medical conditions to genetic predispositions and environmental factors.

Immobilisation: Extended periods of immobility, such as prolonged bed rest or long flights, can increase the risk of causing DVT. Immobility slows down blood circulation, making it easier for blood clots to form.

Injury or Surgery: Trauma or surgery, particularly orthopaedic procedures involving the lower limbs, can damage blood vessels and trigger the formation of blood clots.

Hypercoagulability: Certain medical conditions or genetic predispositions can cause the blood to clot more easily than normal. Conditions such as cancer, inherited blood clotting disorders, and hormonal imbalances (such as oestrogen therapy or birth control pills) can increase the risk of DVT.

Obesity: Excess weight puts added pressure on the veins in the legs, impairing blood flow and increasing the likelihood of blood clot formation.

Smoking: Tobacco use can damage blood vessels and promote inflammation, raising the risk of DVT.

Age: The risk of DVT increases with age, as ageing can lead to changes in blood vessel structure and function.

What are the Risk Factors of DVT?

Expanding upon the causes, it's important to note that several additional factors exist, which can significantly heighten an individual's susceptibility to developing DVT.

These encompass a range of influences, extending beyond the primary causes, and play a crucial role in understanding the multifaceted nature of this condition.

These risk factors include:

  1. Previous history of DVT or pulmonary embolism.
  2. Family history of blood clots or clotting disorders.
  3. Prolonged bed rest or immobilisation due to illness or injury.
  4. Pregnancy or recent childbirth.
  5. Use of hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives.
  6. Cancer and undergoing cancer treatment.
  7. Varicose veins or other venous disorders.
  8. Inflammatory bowel disease or other chronic inflammatory conditions.
DVT Back of Legs

Get a Deep Vein Thrombosis Scan

If you experience symptoms suggestive of DVT or have risk factors predisposing you to the condition, it's crucial to seek medical evaluation promptly. A healthcare professional can perform diagnostic tests, such as ultrasound imaging, to confirm the presence of DVT and initiate appropriate treatment.

Early detection and intervention are key to preventing complications associated with DVT. By understanding the causes and risk factors of DVT, individuals can take proactive steps to mitigate their risk and safeguard their vascular health.

At Ultrasound Care, we offer DVT Scan Ultrasounds for anyone aged 16 and over, for both men and women!

How to Avoid DVT?

Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to Deep Vein Thrombosis. While certain risk factors for DVT, such as age and genetic predisposition, cannot be changed, there are several proactive steps individuals can take to reduce their risk of developing this condition:

Stay Active: Regular physical activity, such as walking or swimming, promotes healthy blood circulation, reducing the likelihood of blood clots.

Avoid Prolonged Immobility: During extended periods of sitting, like long flights or recovery from surgery, move around or stretch your legs every hour to prevent stagnant blood flow.

Maintain a Healthy Weight: A balanced diet and regular exercise help manage weight, alleviating pressure on veins and reducing the risk of DVT.

Quit Smoking: Smoking damages blood vessels and increases inflammation, heightening the risk of DVT. Seek support to quit smoking and improve overall health.

Manage Chronic Conditions: Effectively control underlying medical conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes through regular monitoring and treatment.

Follow Medication Instructions: Adhere to prescribed medications, such as hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives, as directed by your healthcare provider to minimise potential side effects and complications.

Undergo Screening: Consider undergoing screening tests if you have a family history of DVT or other risk factors to facilitate early detection and intervention.

Book in for a Check-Up: Consider booking in for an DVT Scan Ultrasound at Ultrasound Care, especially if you have a family history of DVT or other risk factors. Early detection allows for timely intervention and reduces the risk of complications.

By incorporating these preventive measures into your lifestyle and being mindful of potential risk factors, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis.

Prioritise your vascular health and take proactive steps to safeguard yourself against this potentially serious condition. If you have any concerns or questions about DVT prevention, consult with your healthcare provider for personalised advice and guidance.

Book a DVT Scan at Ultrasound Care

Deep Vein Thrombosis is a potentially life-threatening condition that requires prompt medical attention. By prioritising vascular health and adopting lifestyle modifications to reduce risk factors, we can work towards minimising the incidence and impact of DVT in our communities.

If you suspect you may have DVT or are at risk, don't hesitate to consult with a healthcare professional for guidance and support. For peace of mind, book a DVT Scan Ultrasound with us at Ultrasound Care. Find your nearest clinic and get checked today.