After you get cut, you want your blood to clot. That mechanism can quite literally save your life. But your blood’s ability to clump up and stop flowing can become a problem if it happens in the wrong area.
Specifically, if you develop a blood clot in one of the deep veins of your body — usually, your legs — you get diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The clot in your leg causes swelling and discomfort, but left untreated, DVT can turn into a life-threatening condition.
Fortunately, our providers at Vascular & Interventional Associates can identify whether your leg swelling is a result of DVT and, if so, offer the right treatment to break up the clot and prevent your DVT from escalating into something more serious. If you live in northern Kentucky or in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area, make an appointment to see our team when you notice unexplained swelling in your legs.
Deep vein thrombosis develops when you get a blood clot in one of the deeper veins in your body, like the ones in your thigh or lower leg. So you can be on the lookout for DVT, here are the main symptoms:
- Swelling in one leg
- Leg pain
- Discoloration of the skin on that leg, especially redness
- Warmth in the affected leg
You should pay particularly close attention if you haven’t moved your legs in a while. Recuperating after an injury or an illness — or even a period of inactivity during travel — can keep your legs still long enough for your blood to clot.
If you notice swelling in your legs, don’t wait to talk to our team about it. The blood clot can break free of your leg and travel up to your lungs. There, it can block blood flow — a dangerous condition called a pulmonary embolism.
DVT and pulmonary embolism
When the blood clot travels to your lungs and causes an embolism there, it may damage your lungs and can be life-threatening if it stops blood from reaching your lungs. Seek immediate emergency medical care if you:
- Are suddenly short of breath
- Have rapid breathing and a rapid pulse
- Faint or feel suddenly lightheaded
- Experience chest pain that gets worse when you try to take a deep breath
- Cough up blood
These signs could indicate a pulmonary embolism, and getting care quickly can save your life.
Don’t ignore signs of DVT
All told, it might be easy to overlook a little swelling in your legs, especially after a period of inactivity. But that swelling could be a sign of DVT. Left untreated, it can escalate to an embolism and land you in the hospital.
Pay attention to your legs, and don’t wait to visit us if you notice unexplained swelling. Here at our office, our team can identify what’s causing the swelling and provide the care you need to prevent it from developing into something more serious.
For specialized care when your legs need it, call our office in Crestview Hills, Kentucky, or request an appointment online today.