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Common Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis

• Written by Georgia Fearn


Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that develops within one of the bodies deep veins, this usually occurs in the leg. This medical condition can potentially be extremely serious, so urgent medical treatment is essential. The presentation of a DVT can vary hugely, from presenting many noticeable symptoms, to no symptoms at all.

In this article, we will go into more detail about the common symptoms of deep vein thrombosis. For more information about the condition as a whole take a look at our in-depth article. To find out more about other common conditions affecting the elderly you can see our guide to the 20 most common medical conditions.

What Causes the Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis?

According to Thrombosis UK, thrombosis is the formation of potentially deadly blood clots. These can form in any of the arteries or veins within the body, having massive implications to your health. Blood clots in your veins can potentially lead to death due to parts breaking off the clots and blocking the blood supply to the lungs. A blood clot that travels to the lungs is known as a pulmonary embolism. This can be a complication of DVT.

Deep vein thrombosis is a specific type of thrombosis that occurs in one of the body's deep veins. This is commonly the leg. The deep vein in the legs runs through the muscles of the calf and the thigh. You may have no noticeable symptoms with DVT. However, due to the blood clot within the deep vein, you will sometimes experience local symptoms in the area of the clot such as pain and swelling. In the next section, we will go into more detail about the symptoms you may experience if you have DVT.

The Most Common Symptoms

There are some more common symptoms of deep vein thrombosis, but it is important to remember that there are some other less common symptoms which could also present if you are suffering from DVT. If you are ever in doubt, it is imperative to get it checked out by a medical professional. Symptoms vary in severity from very mild to much more severe.

Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Pain, swelling, and tenderness - This will usually occur in one of your legs, with the pain often specifically in your calf. However, depending on the location of the clot, this could present in your arm or both legs.
  • A heavy ache in the affected area.
  • Reddish/blue skin discoloration in the affected area.
  • Skin that is warm to touch.
  • A mild fever.

DVT usually affects one leg, although this is not always the case. According to the NHS, the pain may also worsen when you bend your foot upwards towards your knee. It is important to note that the symptoms of DVT, for some people, can feel very similar to other conditions such as a pulled muscle.

The condition affects around one in 1000 people in the UK every year, so only a percentage of people presenting with these symptoms will actually have deep vein thrombosis. However, it is vital to contact your medical professional if you are worried you may have a DVT, so other conditions can be ruled out.

Pulmonary Embolism as a Result of Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis can often go undetected. This is because it can feel similar to a pulled muscle or may present few symptoms. If left untreated, however, DVT can result in serious complications.

One of the potential outcomes of leaving DVT untreated is a Pulmonary Embolism. According to the NHS, around one in 10 people with DVT will develop a Pulmonary Embolism. This occurs when a clot breaks away and travels to the lungs.

The common symptoms of a Pulmonary Embolism are:

  • Breathlessness – This usually comes on suddenly but can also gradually worsen over time.
  • Chest pain - A sharp stabbing pain that may worsen on taking deep breaths.
  • Sudden collapse.

As it can present itself with few to no noticeable symptoms, it is vital to be aware if you may be at higher risk of developing deep vein thrombosis. While anyone can develop DVT, there are certain factors which may increase your risk. These include personal or family history, being inactive for long periods, having specific treatments which cause your blood to clot more easily, being pregnant, or being overweight.

Deep vein thrombosis is a very serious, potentially life-threatening condition. Therefore it is so important to be aware of the symptoms and the implications of having the condition. An urgent medical assessment is always needed if you have this medical condition, which highlights the importance of being aware of the signs and symptoms. If you are ever in doubt of any symptoms you are experiencing, you should contact a medical professional.

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Personal Alarm Information

The personal alarm system has been designed to help those who suffer from conditions such as deep vein thrombosis. Our alarm users wear a pendant button on their wrist or around their neck, and simply push the help button if they fall or feel unwell. The alarm connects them to our 24/7 Response Team, who respond rapidly and send help to the user's home - through emergency contacts and the emergency services if they're required.

Deep vein thrombosis is one of many medical conditions which qualifies you for VAT Exemption. This means that you will not need to pay and VAT when you purchase an alarm. For more information please give our customer service team a call on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, complete our contact us form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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