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Aug 9, 2018

Healthy Living Looks at the Condition of Deep Vein Thrombosis

This common health problem usually sees an increase in the summertime when the days are hotter. It’s also common in pregnant women and women who use oral contraceptives and affects the young population between the ages of twenty to fifty years.  Deep vein thrombosis can sometimes lead to death. We find out more in tonight’s Healthy Living.

 

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

It can start with a swollen leg and sudden, but constant pain—something that many adults may choose to power through. But if this seemingly minor symptom turns out to be deep vein thrombosis, then leaving it unchecked can lead to severe complications that may land you in the Intensive Care Unit or even worse cause death.

 

Daniel Godinez

Dr. Daniel Godinez, Internist, BHPL

“Thrombosis is simply in medical terms the formation of a clot. A clot somewhere in your blood flow, in this case in the veins.”

 

Internist at Belize Healthcare Partners, Doctor Daniel Godinez explains that these clots occur most often in the lower parts of our bodies more specifically deep in the legs or thighs.

 

Dr. Daniel Godinez

“In normal conditions your veins in your legs are designed to move your blood from your feet to your heart. Many times you spend time standing or sitting, and it makes it harder for the system to move blood toward your heart because of gravity. If because of that the persons inactive or not moving around then the blood flow moves much slower than normal. When that movement slows down there is a moment when it is not moving at all and that can form easily a clot.  Here at Healthcare Partners, we see deep thrombosis with certainly a regularity. It is relatively common. We see that it happens at certain times of the year especially at summer.  There are certain risk factors or factors that contribute towards the formation of the clot. Basically, you must have a condition where your blood flow slows down in your legs, and that happens very frequently in people who stay in bed for a long period of time.  Also it happens frequently in those travelers who travel long distances. We have heard of people traveling for twenty-four hours nonstop whether on a plane or road or whatever and that slows down the blood flow in the veins. Also, some patients develop the tendency for clots because their blood gets a bit thicker than usual. This is something that we frequently see in pregnant ladies. Why? Pregnancy by itself causes the blood to get thicker. Also certain medications – like when ladies use oral contraceptives.”

 

With those specific risk factors, more women than men develop deep being thrombosis or DVT. Obesity and a sedentary – or inactive – lifestyle are also risk factors for DVT. The greatest danger is when these clots break loose and travel to major organs.

 

Dr. Daniel Godinez

“There are two main risks that come with deep venous thrombosis. One of them is that at times the clot has the ability to move from the place where it forms and moves through the blood flow and reach to the lungs. If the clot is big enough, it can kill you. It’s called pulmonary thrombi embolism, which means a clot that has moved from its original place. We have a good amount of patients who have actually died from that. The other problem we have is after having a clot in the veins, the vein remains sick, and they develop chronic problems like pain swelling and ulcers on the leg, and that is just to the poor circulation that happens there.”

 

Classic symptoms of DVT include:

Swelling in the affected leg. It is very uncommon to have swelling in both.

Pain in your leg – feels like cramping and soreness.

Discolored skin on the leg.

A feeling of warmth in the affected leg.

 

Do know that DVT can occur without any noticeable symptoms. A doctor would administer tests to confirm the clot and treat accordingly.

 

Dr. Daniel Godinez

“There are things that you can do to prevent the formation of clots. Stay hydrated especially in these hot months. Keep active and mobile. Avoid gaining weight, and I would say stop being pregnant, but that’s not possible. Also, judicious use of contraceptives especially oral and that’s basically what can help.”

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