What Causes Deep Vein Thrombosis

Before discussing what causes deep vein thrombosis, let’s get an overview of deep vein thrombosis. In this article, we will be discussing,

1. What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?

2. What are the Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis?

3. What Causes Deep Vein Thrombosis

4. Methods Used to Diagnose Deep Vein Thrombosis

5. Prevention and Treatment Methods.

What is Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a medical condition where blood clots are formed in the deep veins. These clots could form in any part of the body, but they are commonly found in the deep veins of lower limbs. This disease may not show early visible symptoms, but leaving deep vein thrombosis untreated would cause the veins to break loose, affecting the blood circulation and ultimately creating several blood blockages in other parts of the organs.

Every year, more than hundred thousand people get affected by deep vein thrombosis, and the major susceptible age is known to be above 40 years.

What are the Symptoms of  Deep Vein Thrombosis

Symptoms of this disease can either be due to the disease itself or complications which may consist of,

  • Cramping or heavy pain in both the legs or affected leg
  • Feeling the tender vein
  • Warmth, swelling and enlargement of the leg with visible blood vessels.

If the condition is complicated by pulmonary embolism, there can be a,

  • Continuous or periodic chest pain while breathing or coughing
  • Unusual heartbeat (cardiac arrhythmias)
  • Dizziness or faintishness
  • Color change in skin
  • Bleeding when coughingWhat Causes Deep Vein Thrombosis

What Causes Deep Vein Thrombosis

Causes of Deep Vein Thrombosis include:

  • Engaging in Track events

Athletes who engage in track events such as marathon are prone to this vein disease as they run for long distance using a high level of energy while being dehydrated.

  • A previous history of DVT, pulmonary embolism or blood clots
  • Surgery

Veins could get affected during a major surgery in legs, abdomen or hip.

  • Long term immobilization

Bed rest after surgery or after a long flight is also a possible period when blood clots could form in veins because the blood circulation slows down during this period.  

  • Vitamin D deficiency

Research has found that the people who do not consume an adequate amount of vitamin D with their meals, or people who live in cool climates are more prone to this disease.

  • Bowel diseases

Persons suffering from bowel diseases, or have undergone previous surgeries for treating this, have a high risk of blot clots as they remain dehydrated.

The growth of tumours causes tissue damages and chemical release in the body that could trigger vein blood clots. Liver cancer and leukaemia are diseases that commonly result in blood clots.

Excess weight can result in this condition since heaviness makes the veins pressured and cause blood clots. If overweight females take birth control pills, it is said their risk is doubled.

  • Continuous use of Birth Control pills or undergoing Hormone Replacement Therapy

Menopause period in females or who are on birth control pills have increased levels of estrogen in their blood circulation, causing a higher risk of this disease. Males with high levels of testosterone are also at risk.

  • Pregnancy

Pregnant mothers carry more weight, making them prone to this condition. If the mother is over-weight and old, the risk of blood clots in veins is higher.

  • Premature birth

Although the exact reason is not known, premature babies are at risk.

  • Smoking

Smoking causes adverse effects in lungs and heart as chemicals get released into the body, causing blockages in blood veins.

Deep vein thrombosis could be due to any other reason not mentioned above, and family history could also affect the onset of this condition.  

Do not ignore any symptoms mentioned in the list and consult the doctor immediately so that this condition can be treated easily with appropriate pharmacological or surgical care, depending on the severity of the disease.

Methods used to diagnose Deep Vein Thrombosis

  • D-dimer test- A blood test which is used to identify fragments of blood clots found inside blood vessels.
  • Doppler ultrasound scan- A method which is used to assess the speed of blood flow in veins. Any slowing of the blood flow due to an obstruction will be revealed using this small instrument.
  • Venogram- A contrast dye, which is a liquid in nature is injected into a foot vein which will travel up to the deep vein system and get obstructed at a site with a clot. This obstruction would be identified with the help of X-ray.

Prevention and Treatment 

  • Anti-coagulants like Heparin and Warfarin
  • Usage of compression stockings
  • Quitting smoking and alcohol
  • Avoiding risk factors
  • Regular exercises

 Image Courtesy: 

“Blausen 0290 Deep Vein Thrombosis” By Blausen.com staff. “Blausen gallery 2014”. Wikiversity Journal of Medicine. DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 20018762. – Own work (CC BY 3.0) via Wikimedia

About the Author: Embogama

Embogama is a passionate freelance writer for several years. Her areas of interest include general medicine, clinical medicine, health and fitness, Ayurveda medicine, psychology, counseling and piano music