It’s a common diagnosis that affects millions of Americans each year. “It’s something that’s worth taking seriously and getting checked out,” said Dr. Rolando Rodriguez, a cardiologist with Lee Health.
If you’re experiencing constant pain or swelling in your legs, you may be at risk for deep vein thrombosis. “Deep vein thrombosis is abnormal clotting of the venous system, usually in the legs but it can be in other deep veins and the abdomen and pelvis,” he said.
Things like age, obesity, varicose veins, a recent surgery, or hormone therapy, can all put you at risk for developing deep vein thrombosis.
“The symptoms in the leg primarily are discomfort and swelling, and those can be variable. Some people depending on the extent of deep vein thrombosis can have relatively mild symptoms, and some people can have dramatic symptoms,” said Dr. Rodriguez. Symptoms that could become life-threatening if left unaddressed. “The more serious side effect or risk from deep vein thrombosis is what’s called a pulmonary embolism, and that’s when the clots actually migrate and go into the lungs, and that can have a very serious effect. People can die from that sort of thing,” he said.
Making it important to listen to your body and talk to your doctor if you’re having frequent leg pain. “Between the symptoms, the exam, an ultrasound, certain laboratory work, people can usually be detected before anything bad happens,” Dr. Rodriguez said.
Doctors typically recommend blood thinners, hydration, compression stockings, and regular exercise to treat deep vein thrombosis--Treatments that can also help to prevent future blood clots.