How Serious is DVT?
A blood clot happens when there is excessive blood loss in the body. In normal cases, this blood clot dissolves on its own. Other times, the clot travels to places where it shouldn’t, such as the heart, legs, thigh, and pelvis. A blood clot that reaches deep or large veins is called DVT or deep vein thrombosis.
Medication and compression are two useful treatments for DVT. If discovered early, this condition can be cured. If not, it can lead to serious health issues. Statistics suggest that more than one-third of the people suffering from DVT will experience long-term complications later. Many life-threatening conditions are resulting from deep vein thrombosis, and one such condition is pulmonary embolism. Here, a piece of clot travels all the way to the lungs through the bloodstream. If the clot is big enough to prevent blood from entering the lungs, the result can be fatal. Almost 25 percent of the people with DVT experience sudden death from pulmonary embolism. In fact, every year, the CDC estimates 60,000 to 100,000 deaths from PE in the United States alone.
Apart from the known signs and symptoms of deep vein thrombosis such as pain, tenderness in the leg, swelling of body parts, and skin itching, there are obvious symptoms that need immediate attention, such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, and coughing up of blood. People with deep vein thrombosis will experience recurring episodes within a decade of the initial occurrence.
Heart failure is another symptom and result of deep vein thrombosis or DVT. Here, the obstruction of blood flow occurs in the pulmonary arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs. As a result of excessive strain on the heart, it fails to pump enough blood to the organs as it should. More than 50 percent of people with heart failure live for less than five years after initial diagnosis. Post-thrombotic syndrome is another symptom and result of deep vein thrombosis or DVT that people should be worried about. In normal conditions, blood flows from the veins in the arms and legs back to the heart and lungs to be purified or re-oxygenated. In a patient with DVT, the blood clot prevents this from happening, causing it to pool. As a result, ankles and legs swell along with pain and discomfort. The swelling of the legs and arms is known as edema or lymphedema.
If the swelling becomes serious, the surrounding skin may break down, and skin infection may develop. Wounds might not heal, leading to immediate DVT treatment. This condition is called venous stasis ulcers. In medical terms, it is called post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) or post-phlebitic syndrome. The severity of pain and swelling depends on the severity of the deep vein thrombosis itself. In fact, about 40 percent of people experience post-thrombotic syndrome if they have DVT. It is more likely to occur within six months of having DVT. It may also occur within two years. Development of Post-thrombotic syndrome is unlikely after two years.
Most complications from deep vein thrombosis or DVT can be avoided by adopting a healthy lifestyle and diet. According to cardiologists working for NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, prevention through good food and exercise daily is the best DVT treatment available in the world.