Deep vein thrombosis is a condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in the legs.
This condition sometimes develops when you don’t move for a long period of time, such as after surgery or an accident when you are confined to bed for an extended amount of time. It can also occur if you have certain medical conditions that affect how your blood clots. This condition can be very dangerous, since the blot clots in your veins can break loose and travel through your bloodstream before lodging in your lungs and blocking blood flow, which can lead to death.
Once you are diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis, treatment is usually focused on preventing the blood clot from growing any larger, as well as preventing the clot from breaking loose and causing further, potentially life-threatening complications. It is also important to reduce your chances of developing this condition again in the future. To accomplish these goals, there are many different treatment options.
Most of the time, anticoagulant medications (also known as blood thinners) are used to treat deep vein thrombosis. Though blood thinners cannot break up existing clots, these drugs work by decreasing your blood’s ability to clot, which can also prevent existing clots from growing any larger, as well as reduce your risk for developing additional clots.
There are many different anticoagulant medications including injections and oral medications. Some of the most commonly used include Lovenox (enoxaparin), Fragmin (dalteparin), Arixtra (fondaparinux), Coumadin (warfarin), and Xarelto (rivaroxaban).
Blood thinners can have serious side effects if you take too much or too little, so be sure to follow your doctor’s specific instructions for taking the medication. You will probably need to take this medication for at least three months when dealing with deep vein thrombosis.
If blood thinning medications are not working or if you are experiencing a more serious type of deep vein thrombosis, your doctor may recommend a different type of medication. Thrombolytics, also known as “clotbusters,” are a type of medication that activates tissue plasminogen. They are administered through an IV line or through a catheter and break up blood clots that have become dangerous. Thrombolytic medications are only given in an intensive care ward of a hospital because they are only used in life-threatening situations and can cause serious bleeding.
If, for whatever reason, you are unable to take medications to thin your blood, you might need a procedure that involves inserting a filter into your vena cava, a large vein in your abdomen. This will prevent any clots that might break loose from lodging in your lungs and causing pulmonary embolism.
Deep vein thrombosis can also cause swelling. Compression stockings are worn on your legs from your feet to your knees and can prevent his swelling from occurring by applying pressure to the area of the clot. This pressure will also reduce your risk of future clotting.
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