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As blood clots go, a deep vein clot (DVT) is particularly worrisome. They’re very serious but often underdiagnosed. A DVT usually occurs in the lower leg, thigh or pelvis. If a piece of the clot break offs and travels in the bloodstream to the lungs, it can cause damage to the lungs or even result in death. This is called a pulmonary embolism.
A DVT can also damage the valves in the veins and result in a condition called post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS). Its symptoms include leg swelling, discoloration and ulcers, and pain. PTS can strip people of their ability to walk and earn a living. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one-third of the people who have a DVT will go on to develop PTS.
If you have one or more of the factors below you may be at risk for a DVT:
- History of DVT
- Genetic blood-clotting disorder
- Use birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
- Pregnant or six weeks post-partum
- Overweight or obese
- Confined to bed rest or have limited movement
- Injury to a deep vein
- Age 60 or older (risk increases with age)
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