Deep Vein Thrombosis Deep Vein Thrombosis
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

A deep vein thrombosis (throm-BO-sis) is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body. Most deep vein clots occur in the leg or the hip vein. They also occur in other parts of the body. According to the National Heart, lung and Blood Institute, blood clots in the thigh are usually more serious than blood clots that happen in veins in your lower legs.

If a clot in a vein breaks off and travels through your bloodstream, it can lodge in your lungs. This is called a pulmonary embolism (Pul-mo-ner-e-EM-bo-lizm), which is a very serious condition that can cause death.

Blood clots also can occur in veins that are close to the surface of the skin. These types of blood clots are called superficial venous thrombosis or phlebitis. Blood clots in superficial veins cannot travel to the lungs

Preventing deep vein thrombosis depends on whether you have had a clot before or if you are at risk for developing a deep vein clot but never had one. If you have never had a deep vein clot, but are in a situation that may increase your risk be sure to:

– Exercise your lower leg muscles if you will be sitting still for a long period of time

– Get out of bed and move around as soon as you are able after surgery or being ill. The sooner you move around the less chance you have to develop a blood clot

– Take medications to prevent clots after some types of surgery as directed by your doctor.

– Follow up with your doctor

There are many factors that may increase your risk for deep vein clots.

– An inherited condition that causes increased risk for clotting
– Low blood flow in a deep vein, due to injury, surgery, or immobilization
– Sitting for a long period
– Being overweight
– Other medical conditions such as varicose veins
– Being over 60 (although deep vein thrombosis can occur in any age group)
– Pregnancy, especially the first 6 weeks after giving birth
– Central venous catheters now account for almost 1 in 10 cases.
– Taking birth control pills or hormone therapy, including for postmenopausal symptoms

Your risk of deep vein clots increases if you have several risk factors at the same time. For example, a woman with an inherited condition for clotting who also takes birth control pills has an even higher risk to have a blood clot