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DVT - Making Sense of a Blood Clot in Leg

Blood Clot in Leg

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The human body is one big connected system, and what occurs in the further reaches of it may have an influence on the core organ area in your thoracic cavity. In this instance we’re talking about your legs, those long appendages that make for a whole lot of movement ability that you start putting to use the moment you get out of bed every day. A blood clot in leg is a big deal, and the issue with this health condition is that it’s sneaky – you don’t necessarily know you have a blood clot there.

A blood clot in leg is given the name deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. DVT doesn’t only occur in the legs, it can also occur in the pelvis or arms. The symptoms of blood clot in leg can range from mild warmth that seems like nothing out of the ordinary to acute pain and swelling. If there’s just warmth and maybe a little redness you may not pay much attention to it, and that’s where signs of blood clot in leg can be an indication of a much more serious risk. ­­

We’ll discuss everything related to blood clot in leg here. And considering travelling from an artery in the leg all the way to the heart is about the same as you hitchhiking across the 3 States, we’ll also share some interesting information about animate beings that crossed huge distances like it was no big thing.

Symptoms of Blood Clot in Leg, and Risk Factors

We touched on the basics of symptoms of blood clot in leg earlier, but let’s look at the entirety of them now. Signs and symptoms of deep vein thrombosis can include:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Warmth to the Touch
  • Gradual pain onset
  • Worsening leg pain when bending the foot
  • Leg cramps, often during nighttime and starting in the calf
  • Bluish or whitish discolouration of the skin

However, as mentioned, for some people they won’t experience ANY indicative symptoms of blood clot in leg. And it’s for these people that the risk of not seeing a need for treatment means they’re at greater risk for health complications related to DVT.

But why do people get it, and is it more a genetic predisposition or does it have more to do with life choices? Appears in many cases it’s a combination of both. Here are the most common risk factors for a blood clot in leg:

  • Obesity
  • Heart Attack or Heart Failure
  • Prolonged sitting, often during long travels by plane or motor vehicle
  • Prolonged bed rest or immobility
  • Pregnancy or recent childbirth
  • High altitude, and usually in excess of 14,000 feet
  • Cancer
  • Estrogen therapy or the use of birth control pills
  • Advanced age
  • Heart and respiratory conditions
  • Medical conditions like vasculitis, varicose veins, superficial venous thrombosis (SVT), or disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC)

Any combination of these risk factors increased the likelihood of the person beginning to see signs of blood clot in leg.

Long Way Wanderers

As we’ve alluded to, the major risk with DVT is that a part of the clot may break off and travel to the lungs. If that happens, there is the risk of a pulmonary embolism and in worst cases that can kill you. Even though as blood clots go the long-distance travels that going from a leg all the way up the lungs would seem like a massive undertaking, it’s exactly what can happen.

So while it’s not a good thing to have a blood clot making its way along the mass of vessel and arterial highways in the body, you still have to respect the little guy’s ability to travel such a long distance.

So on the topic of long-distance travellers, how about we begin with a shout out to the Semipalmated Sandpiper! These small shorebirds have big time migratory abilities and can fly further than you likely could ever imagine is even possible for a bird of any size. These pipers migrate to the Southern parts of the United States from Canada, but that’s not where or how they are most impressive.

They may be only two or three times the size of your average blood clot in leg, but a semipalmated sandpiper can fly across the Atlantic Ocean without stopping! Man, that makes travelling from a leg to chest look significantly less impressive in comparison.

And hey while we’re on the topic of long-distance travel, birds, and crossing oceans, we also have to champion the Arctic Tern. They even outdo the sandpipers here, as they make the longest migration in the world – with an average annual round trip distance of some 71,000 kilometers. They fly from the Arctic all the way down to the Antarctic and then back again – every year!

Right, that makes a blood clots travels from legs to torso entirely unimpressive in comparison. At least we were able to make the connection though, and we still haven’t made any mention of the sooty shearwater!

Medications for Blood Clot in Leg

How a blood clot is treated depends on where it is located in the body. Most often, however, it will involve administering of some sort anti-coagulation medication. This treatment approach involves two steps, usually first using a low molecular weight heparin like Lovenox (enoxaparin) to begin immediate blood thinning, and then following it up with an oral anticoagulation medication that is less quickly effective but has better long-term results. Coumadin (warfarin) is the most well know and frequently prescribed medication for this purpose.

Xarelto (Rivaroxaban) is another med administered in response to symptoms of a blood clot, but it is usually prescribed for a different variant of DVT – hospital-acquired DVT. We’ll wrap up this communication with a brief overview of hospital acquired DVT, despite our urges to share with you the equally impressive ocean crossing feats of the leatherback turtle and northern elephant seal!

Hospital-acquired DVT is when a person is immobile or in bed for nearly all of the day following some type of surgery or medical procedure. For some people, this staying in the same position for a long period of time can lead them to develop a blood clot in leg.


IMPORTANT NOTE: The above information is intended to increase awareness of health information and does not suggest treatment or diagnosis. This information is not a substitute for individual medical attention and should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for your pet. See your veterinarian for medical advice and treatment for your pet if you have any concerns.


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