Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Awareness Month

Today marks the end of DVT awareness month. This is a public health initiative aimed at raising awareness of this commonly occurring medical condition affecting 1 in 1000 people, with potentially fatal complications.

I am disappointed that this month has not had more publicity. DVT awareness is a cause close to my heart, having suffered from both a DVT and PE in the past, but more important, we lost our 22 year old daughter, Rosie, to DVT and PE in 2011.

A DVT is a partial or complete blockage in the deep veins, usually in the lower leg.

Signs of DVT include

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Discolouration
  • Abnormally hot skin in the affected area

Almost half of DVT episodes have minimal if any of the symptoms and can mimic other conditions ie: Muscle strain, skin infections and phlebitis, inflammation in the vein, making DVT difficult to diagnose.

Diagnosis can be made by a D-Dimmer blood test, if this is increased then a venous ultrasound can be carried out, or a venogram, where a contrast dye is injected into the foot, the dye can be detected on X-ray, highlighting any clots in the veins.

Clots can break off and travel up the blood stream, resulting in a blockage in the lung (Pulmonary Embolism or PE) which can be fatal if undiscovered or left untreated. 1 in 10 individual;s with a DVT will develop a PE.

Symptoms of PE

  • Breathlessness
  • Cheat pain
  • Collapse

Some individuals are at increased risk of DVT, these include:

  • Previous DVT
  • Family History of DVT
  • Obesity
  • Stroke
  • Pregnancy
  • Combined oral Contraceptive pill
  • HRT
  • Undergoing Major Surgery
  • Over the age of 40
  • Those confined for long periods of immobility either through travelling or bed rest.

Treatment is by anticoagulant therapy, either from tablets or injection, these reduce the ability of the blood to clot and stop any existing clots from increasing in size.

If interested in donating to charity please consider, The Thrombosis UK Charity

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