How do you know if you’re dealing with a ‘regular’ blood clot or a deep vein thrombosis (DVT)? You don’t without some diagnostic tests. However, based on location and symptoms, it may be possible for a physician to determine what type of blood clot you’re dealing with and its severity.
Never attempt self-diagnosis! If in doubt, schedule a visit with your doctor.
A stationary blood clot is called a thrombosis. Most commonly, this type of blood clot causes localized signs and symptoms such as heat on the skin over the affected area or discomfort over that area, which can range from tingling to throbbing to a numb sensation.
A deep vein thrombosis forms inside a deep vein, most commonly in the thigh or calf muscles. Because it is so deep, an individual may not experience any signs or symptoms. However, the dangerous thing about a DVT is that it has the potential to break off, in part or in whole, and travel through the blood vessels.
Clots, regardless of what type they are, all have the potential to slow arterial or venous blood flow. They can even block blood vessels. A blood clot that breaks away from the vessel has the potential to travel to the lungs, where it can cause a pulmonary embolism (PE) or damage to the blood vessels that reduce the ability to oxygenate blood returning to the heart.
A blood clot that enters a blood vessel that supplies blood to the heart can cause a heart attack. A blood clot that travels through vessels supplying the brain can cause seizures or strokes.
Symptoms of a deep vein thrombosis
A deep vein thrombosis may cause swelling or a sensation of deeper leg pain, most typically in the calf muscle or the thigh. However, a DVT can be asymptomatic or exist without symptoms. Primary contributing factors to the development of a DVT include long periods of inactivity such as an extremely sedentary lifestyle, or a surgical procedure and its recovery period, or accidents that require a long healing process.
Primary symptoms of DVT include:
- Redness or skin discoloration on the affected area of the leg
- Pain in the leg – pain can be described as tingling, throbbing, burning, or cramping
- A sensation of warmth in the localized area or the affected leg
- Swelling may occur in the affected leg
It’s important for individuals to know that a DVT occurs without any symptoms. So how do you know when it’s time to see a doctor? If you notice anything different going on with your leg.
A DVT is a serious condition. Individuals with cardiovascular issues, dealing with post-surgical or injury rehabilitation, immobility, or illness are at risk of developing a DVT.