DVT Awareness Month
What is DVT?
There are two types of veins: deep and superficial. Your deep veins are large veins surrounded by muscle, located in the center of a limb. DVT (deep vein thrombosis) occurs when a blood clot forms in that deep vein and causes partial or complete circulation blockage. DVT is also nicknamed, “the silent killer,” because most people are not aware they have it until it's too late. Unfortunately, 2 million people are diagnosed annually, and 300,000 of those people die from pulmonary embolisms resulting from DVT. That’s why it’s so important to spread awareness this month. We want to show you the signs and ways to prevent developing DVT.
What causes DVT?
There are a few different ways that DVT can develop. Anything that prevents your blood from flowing normally can lead to DVT. This could be sitting for long periods, injury to veins, some surgeries, pregnancy, taking birth control, smoking, being overweight or obese, and some forms of cancer. These are all causes for blood to flow incorrectly and lead to DVT. Some people also have a family history of blood clotting that makes them more susceptible, or they have inherited a genetic disorder that causes blood clots. Understanding the reasons DVT develops, and the risk factors can help with prevention and treatment.
Symptoms for DVT are usually very minimal, if any, which is why it’s given that silent killer nickname. But there are still things to look out for, like unusual leg cramps or unprompted swelling. Some other things to be aware of are pain, discoloration, and abnormally hot skin on the affected area.
More Facts and Prevention
It’s important to understand that anyone can get DVT- age and gender don’t play a role in this condition. Blood clotting disorders are usually genetic, so if you have a family history of blood clotting, it’s best to get checked out as soon as possible, as a preventative measure.
DVT is most commonly formed in the legs, typically either in your calf or your thigh, but very rarely can it happen in your arms. It is important to look for those signs of swelling and pain in your legs, especially in your thigh, because a blood clot in your thigh can break off and travel up the bloodstream. The broken-off blood clot gets stuck in the lungs, which is dangerous and can result in a pulmonary embolism.
Regular movement can help decrease your chances of developing blood clots or DVT. Getting regular exercise, walking around throughout the day, especially if you sit a desk for long periods, drinking plenty of water, and maintaining a healthy weight are all ways to lower your risk. If you are traveling for long periods of time on a plane or car, get up and walk around, or pull over to stretch, every so often to keep your blood flow moving.
Compression and DVT
When worn properly, compression garments are beneficial to helping improve blood flow and for preventing DVT. Compression garments help with blood circulation in your ankles and legs, so if you are susceptible to issues with circulation or blood clotting, compression may be the right choice for you.
If you are looking for compression wear for travel, overall wellness and for DVT prevention, we recommend wearing 15-20 mmHg garments. If you are already diagnosed with DVT and are trying to treat it, either 20-30 mmHg or 30-40 mmHg will be right for you. Whether you have DVT or not, be sure to speak with your doctor first about wearing higher medical grade compression levels.
For either prevention or treatment, we have all compression levels on our site that you can shop below:
If you are looking for more resources to learn more about DVT or help those in need, check out some of these resources:
- The National Blood Clot Alliance raises awareness for all blood clotting disorders through hosting informative events and educating on their website. They can also help you or a loved one find a doctor in your area to help treat your disorder.
- The American Blood Clot Association is a nationwide non-profit organization that is dedicated to educating both patients and doctors about DVT prevention and diagnosis.
- There are also online DVT support groups. Check out some Facebook groups like these ones to hear other’s stories, share your own, and have support from those going through the same things.
- You can read personal accounts from people with DVT on the Blood Clot Recovery Network website. These are personal stories and experiences, not medical advice.
DVT is an important issue that often goes overlooked, and spreading awareness is important. If you or a loved one are prone to blood clots or are experiencing any of these symptoms, please go seek medical advice and attention.