Women & Deep Vein Thrombosis
American women can have a vascular problem called deep vein thrombosis (DVT), also known as a blood clot. DVT most commonly occurs in the deep veins of the legs. DVT can partially or completely block blood flow in the vein. DVT can break off and travel to the lungs, resulting in a pulmonary embolus (PE), which can be fatal. DVT can also permanently damage the veins resulting in long-term leg pain, swelling, skin changes and possibly leg sores. This condition is known as the post-thrombotic syndrome.
Certain women are at greater risk for developing DVT, but it can occur in anyone. Risk factors of DVT include:
- Six to eight weeks after giving birth
- Use of birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
- Family history of clotting disorders
- Extended bed rest
- Long haul travel (long airplane flights)
- Major surgery
Symptoms of DVT include: recent swelling of one leg and/or unexplained pain or tenderness of one leg. Approximately half of people with DVT do not have a recognized symptom.
Symptoms of PE include: sudden shortness of breath, sharp chest pain, and/or coughing up blood.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has given the Vascular Disease Foundation (VDF) a $1 million grant, over the next five years, to develop a public awareness program about blood clots in women. There are two parts to the grant’s education program. The first is to recognize the risk factors for DVT, because effective prevention is available. The second part is to ensure that the public knows the signs and symptoms of DVT.
For more information regarding Women and DVT, please contact the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 1-866-662-8467, or the Information line at 312-MYHEART (694-3278) or request a first time appointment online.
For additional information about DVT, please visit the Vascular Disease Foundation Web site.