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Can a blood clot in your leg be dangerous?

We treat a variety of deep venous disorders here at VeinSolutions, and one of them is blood clots.

People can sometimes be confused about the nature of blood clots, especially when it comes to recognizing the signs, and knowing when it is important to seek help.

A blood clot is blood that has become solidified and blocks the flow in arteries, veins or capillaries. They can occur anywhere in the body but most often show up in the heart, brain, arms, legs or lungs.

The type of blood clot that we most frequently see in our vein treatment centers is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) which appears in the legs.

What are signs of a blood clot in the leg or DVT?

The most common signs of a blood clot in the leg include:

  • Swelling that occurs suddenly, lasts for hours, or does not respond to rest and elevation
  • Sharp pain, similar to a cramp or charley horse, that persists and does not fade
  • Changes in appearance of existing varicose veins such as a sudden bulge or hardening of the area
  • Skin that all of a sudden becomes inflamed, tender, red or warm to the touch

When should you seek help for a suspected blood clot in your leg?

If any of these symptoms continue in your leg for more than a day or two, it’s time to contact your physician.

They will typically perform an  ultrasound to diagnose the presence of a blood clot and its exact location. Depending on how far up it is in your leg and the size, your doctor may continue to monitor it for a period of time or prescribe blood thinners right away to help it dissolve.

In very rare cases, a blood clot in the leg can travel up to the lungs and result in a serious condition known as a pulmonary embolism which affects approximately one out of every 1,000 Americans each year.

Signs of a pulmonary embolism can include:

  • Sudden shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • An irregular heartbeat or palpitations
  • Coughing up blood

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to head to an emergency room (ER) right away.

You may be more prone to a pulmonary embolism if you have a family history of them, a personal history of previous blood clots, are a smoker or overweight.

Because our vein specialists are board-certified vascular surgeons, they are well-trained to treat blood clots/DVT in the legs as well as offer numerous aesthetic therapies to improve the appearance of varicose, spider, and reticularveins.

Please contact us here for a consultation with one of our specialists to help you feel, and look your best, or call 512.452.VEIN (8346) in Austin, or 512.501.4287 for Georgetown.

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