Some vein problems, such as varicose veins, are often little more than cosmetic concerns. But for some people, varicose veins can be a symptom of a larger vein issue or circulation problem, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT affects millions of people per year, and according to the Centers for Disease Control, can recur in about 30 percent of patients. Although DVT can happen to anyone, there are a variety of factors that can increase your risk for the condition. Find out if you are at risk for DVT.
Deep Vein Thrombosis Risk Factors
Elevated Hormone Levels
Elevated estrogen levels can increase your risk for developing DVT. Taking hormonal birth control pills or using another hormone based method of birth control often increases the blood’s clotting ability. The elevated hormone levels associated with pregnancy can also put a woman at an increased risk for DVT, up to six weeks after the birth of the baby. Women who are taking hormone replacement therapy may also have an elevated risk.
Injury to a Vein
Some types of injury, such as a bone fracture or muscle injury, can also cause damage to the veins, increasing a person’s risk for DVT. In some cases, the stress put on the body by major surgery, especially surgery in the abdominal, hip or leg area, can also raise the risk for DVT.
Reduced Blood Flow
Good blood flow or circulation helps reduce the likelihood of clots forming. There are several instances when circulation can be interrupted or slowed down. For example, if you need to sit still for long periods of time, such as on a long plane ride or because of bed rest, it is more difficult for the blood to pump from your legs back to your heart. The stalled circulation can make it more likely that a clot will develop.
Genetics or Family History
Some people have an increased risk for DVT because they have a family history of the condition or of pulmonary embolisms. It’s also possible to have a higher than average risk for DVT due to an inherited blood clotting disorder. In some circumstances, a combination of factors, such as an inherited disorder combined with taking birth control pills, increase risk.
Other Risk Factors
Remember that DVT can happen to anyone, even if that person doesn’t have any of the above risk factors. Often times, simply getting older can be enough to raise the risk for the condition, as can having certain diseases or being overweight.
Often, vein treatment for DVT involves finding ways to break up the clot. Varicose vein treatment, such as wearing compression stockings, can help prevent symptoms of Post-thrombotic syndrome from occurring. If you are worried about DVT or other venous issues, scheduling an appointment at a vein clinic to discuss your treatment options with vein doctors and vascular surgeons is a good idea.
St. Louis Vein & Endovascular has several locations in Missouri. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.