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There are several large veins and arteries connected to the heart that branch out and become tinier as they wind throughout the body. Arteries and veins are both types of blood vessels that transport blood throughout the body in a process known as circulation. Arteries transport oxygenated blood out of your heart while veins deliver deoxygenated blood back to the heart.
Introduction
 
A deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot that occurs in the large deep veins of the arms, legs, thighs, or pelvis. It can block or reduce blood flow in a vein and may dislodge and move down the bloodstream, potentially causing a pulmonary embolism, stroke, heart attack, or even death. Deep vein thrombosis is a potentially life-threatening condition that needs medical attention immediately. It can be treated with medications or surgery.
 
Anatomy
 
There are several large veins and arteries connected to the heart that branch out and become tinier as they wind throughout the body. Arteries and veins are both types of blood vessels that transport blood throughout the body in a process known as circulation. Arteries transport oxygenated blood out of your heart while veins deliver deoxygenated blood back to the heart.
 
Causes
 
Deep vein thrombosis may happen in the large deep veins of the arms, pelvis, thighs, or legs. Risk factors such as immobility or prolonged bed rest can increase the likelihood of developing deep vein thrombosis.
 
Symptoms
 
A deep vein thrombosis may cause redness, swelling, warmth, and pain. If in the leg, the leg may discolor, swell, and cramp profusely. In the arm, it may cause swelling in the neck or upper arm.
 
Contact a doctor immediately to avoid potentially fatal medical complications if you suspect that you have a deep vein thrombosis. An embolism, which is when a clot breaks off and moves through the bloodstream, reduces or blocks blood flow in a blood vessel and may cause lung damage, stroke, heart attack, or even death.
 
After experiencing a deep vein thrombosis, some people may develop a painful leg condition that causes a vein to feel hard and very sensitive to pressure. A case in the foot can result in cramping and aching, particularly when flexing the foot or walking.
 
Diagnosis
 
If you suspect that you have a deep vein thrombosis, call your doctor immediately. Your doctor will perform an exam and several tests to determine the presence of a clot. If there is a clot, your doctor will perform several blood and imaging tests to determine its severity. Tests to identify blood clots include a Doppler ultrasound, venography, and impedance plethysmography. 
 
Treatment
 
Depending on the severity of your deep vein thrombosis, your treatment will vary, but the goal of treatment is always to prevent another deep vein thrombosis and an embolism. Anticoagulants, which thin blood, or thrombolytic therapy, which break up clots, may be used in treatment. Some people may need clots removed via surgery or a catheter. If unresponsive or unable to tolerate anticoagulants, a patient may need a permanent filter put into their vein to prevent large embolisms from making their way into the lungs.
 
Prevention
 
If you are at risk for deep vein thrombosis, your doctor may recommend anticoagulants or blood thinning medications. Minimize immobility by walking frequently and moving your feet during car or plane trips. Maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and drinking lots of water may help.
 
Am I At Risk
 
Risk factors for deep vein thrombosis include cigarette smoking, birth control pills, obesity, bone fractures, recent surgery, history of cardiovascular problems, prolonged inactivity, high blood pressure, history of polycythemia vera, immobility, some cancer tumors, hypercoagulability, and age over 60.
 
Complications
 
Experiencing one deep vein thrombosis increases your risk of developing another. Be aware of the symptoms and immediately contact your doctor if you suspect having one. The possibility of an embolism is a major concern because of the potential for stroke, heart attack, lung damage, or death.
 
After experiencing a deep vein thrombosis, some people may develop a painful leg condition that causes a vein to feel hard and very sensitive to pressure. A case in the foot can result in cramping and aching, particularly when flexing the foot or walking.