What are Deep Venous Disorders?
Some common disorders, or diseases, of the deep venous system that we treat at VeinSolutions in Austin, Georgetown, and Kyle include deep vein thrombosis, blood clots, chronic complications from IVC filters, May-Thurner Syndrome, and pelvic congestion syndrome.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (or DVT) develops when blood thickens and becomes solid forming a clot, typically in the legs. The CDC estimates that as many as 900,000 people in the United States may be affected by it each year.
A blood clot (which could result from a DVT or something else) is solidified or gel-like blood, and can be dangerous and even life-threatening if it makes its way to your heart and lungs.
Blood clots require immediate medical attention, if one is suspected.
May-Thurner Syndrome and pelvic congestion syndrome both occur in the pelvis or lower abdomen area when arteries and veins tangle, overlap, and painfully compress each other or become enlarged like varicose veins.
What causes Deep Venous Disorders?
Deep venous disorders can arise when you experience poor circulation over time and blood flow slows throughout the body.
DVT is brought on by prolonged inactivity (such as a long airplane flight), damage to a vein from an injury or medical treatment (typically involving a catheter), cancer, genetic conditions, and certain medications or hormones.
Blood clots can form at anytime, anywhere in the body as the result of an injury, family history of blood clots, a reaction to some medications such as birth control pills, or a number of other conditions that put excess stress on the body, including pregnancy and obesity.
May-Thurner Syndrome and pelvic congestion syndrome are more commonly diagnosed in women and typically affect those who have experienced multiple childbirths.
What are symptoms of Deep Venous Disorders?
DVT and blood clots are similar in that unfortunately, there often are no symptoms. The most dangerous blood clots are often symptom-free and swift in progression. Shortness of breath, chest pressure, trouble speaking, swelling, pain or redness along a vein though could all be indicators.
If you ever suspect a blood clot, seek medical help immediately.
Those suffering from May-Thurner Syndrome or Pelvic Congestion Syndrome might experience chronic pain or swelling in the lower abdomen, backaches, or frequent difficulty with urination or bowel movements.
How are Deep Venous Disorders treated?
There are several safe and effective treatment options that we provide patients at VeinSolutions to help address and prevent serious blood clots associated with these deep venous disorders.
Prescription blood thinners are most commonly used to treat DVT. Blood thinners are anticoagulant medications that prevent blood clots from getting larger by decreasing the blood’s ability to thicken and clot. These can be administered via pill, injection or intravenously.
Additional treatments include surgical placement of inferior vena cava, or IVC filters at targeted spots in the body and stenting of the iliac veins and vena cava to prevent or catch potential clots from entering the lungs.
As the subject of blood clots and preventing them is a serious one, our board-certified vascular surgeons at VeinSolutions are here to help you better understand these conditions and what we can do to protect your health.
Deep Venous Disorders FAQ
Can I prevent DVT?
You can reduce your risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) by being proactive, understanding your risk factors, and listening to your body. Steps you can take to minimize your chances of developing a DVT are:
- Performing leg exercises and taking frequent short walks to help increase blood flow in the lower extremities.
- Taking blood thinning medication.
- Wearing compression stockings on your legs to increase blood flow.
If I’ve been diagnosed with a blood clot, what is the likelihood of developing another?
If a person has previously had a blood clot, they are at a higher risk of developing another compared to someone who has never had one. The increased risk of developing another clot is dependent on many factors, such as:
- The underlying cause of the blood clot
- Where your original blood clot was located
- Whether you have a genetic/family history of blood clots
Certain events may also increase your risk of experiencing another clot such as:
- Extended hospitalization (over 3 days)
- Experiencing physical trauma.
Is it safe to travel after having a blood clot?
It is safe to travel after having a blood clot as long as you take proper precautions. If traveling by car, you’ll want to stop about every two hours for a short 5-10 minute walk. If traveling by plane, try to choose an aisle or exit row that will allow you to easily stretch your legs and do leg exercises periodically. When it’s safe to do so, walking up and down the aisle is beneficial. Other recommendations may be to wear loose-fitting clothing and drink plenty of water. Talk with your physician before traveling for other suggestions.
When can I exercise?
Walking is the best exercise you can do to prevent a new blood clot. In addition to walking, other light exercises such as swimming are also beneficial and can aid in recovery by reducing swelling, increasing circulation, and helping you feel more like yourself. How often and what type of exercise is best will depend on many factors. Consult your physician if you plan on starting a high intensity exercise such as crossfit.
How long until the leg swelling goes away?
The primary goal of treating DVT is to return patients to full activity. Even with successful treatment, swelling may remain in the lower extremities for some time. By wearing compression stockings, you’ll be able to increase blood flow and reduce swelling over time.
What is my risk of experiencing a blood clot if I have surgery down the road?
There is a known risk of DVT occurring around the time of surgery. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact increased risk but it will depend largely on your other risk factors and the type of surgery being performed. Studies suggest a higher risk of DVT may be present during joint replacement surgeries and certain abdominal surgeries. Talk with us before any major surgery so we can help you reduce your risk of developing blood clots.