Are You at Risk for Deep Vein Thrombosis?
The circulatory system is composed of two main types of blood vessels: veins and arteries. Arteries are responsible for delivering blood from the heart to the organs and tissues of the body, supplying them with the necessary oxygen and nutrients they need to function properly. The veins are responsible for returning this blood to the heart.
When returning blood from the lower extremities, veins must push blood against the flow of gravity with the help of the leg muscles. Each time the leg muscles contract, blood is pushed up the leg and back to the heart. When a patient does not move for long periods of time and does not contract his or her muscles, the blood in the deep veins of the leg becomes stagnant and can form a clot, also called a thrombus. This condition is known as deep vein thrombosis, or DVT.
Deep vein thrombosis is a very serious condition that can have life-threatening effects. If a clot formed in the deep veins were to break lose, it has the ability to travel through the bloodstream and lodge in the lungs, causing pulmonary embolism and possible death. The condition occurs equally in men and women, but the risk increases with age. Below are a few of the factors that can increase a person’s risk for DVT:
- Sitting for long periods of time, such as when flying or driving
- Injury or surgery that may disrupt blood flow
- Certain forms of cancer
- Heart failure
- A personal or family history of pulmonary embolism or DVT
- Inheriting a blood-clotting disorder
MountainView Hospital of Las Vegas offers patients a free deep vein thrombosis risk assessment form to fill out and discuss with their physician. If you have any questions about the dangers of deep vein thrombosis or if you are in need of an experienced and knowledgeable physician in the Las Vegas area, call our Consult-A-Nurse referral line today at (702) 233-5300, or contact MountainView Hospital online.