Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) - Symptoms and Causes (2023)

General description

Blood clot in leg vein

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) - Symptoms and Causes (1)

Blood clot in leg vein

A blood clot in a leg vein can cause pain, heat, and tenderness in the affected area.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more deep veins in the body, usually in the legs. Deep vein thrombosis can cause pain or swelling in the legs. Sometimes there are no noticeable symptoms.

you can haveTVPif you have certain medical conditions that affect blood clotting. You can also develop a blood clot in your legs if you don't move for a long time. For example, you may not move much when traveling a long distance or when you are at rest due to surgery, illness, or an accident.

Deep vein thrombosis can be serious because blood clots in the veins can break loose. Clots can travel through the bloodstream and become trapped in the lungs, blocking blood flow (pulmonary embolism). WhenTVPand pulmonary embolism occur together, it is called venous thromboembolism (VTE).


Symptoms of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can include:

  • leg swelling
  • Pain, cramps or pain in the legs that usually starts in the calf
  • Change in leg skin color such as red or purple depending on skin color
  • Sensation of heat in the affected leg.

Deep vein thrombosis can occur without noticeable symptoms.

When to see a doctor

pulmonary embolism

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) - Symptoms and Causes (2)

pulmonary embolism

A pulmonary embolism (PE) occurs when a blood clot becomes trapped in an artery in the lung, blocking blood flow to part of the lung. Blood clots usually start in the legs and travel up the right side of the heart to the lungs. This is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

If you develop symptoms ofTVP, contact your healthcare provider.

If you develop symptoms of pulmonary embolism (PE), a life-threatening complication of deep vein thrombosis, seek emergency medical help.

Warning signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism include:

  • sudden shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or discomfort that gets worse with deep breathing or coughing
  • Feel dizzy or dizzy
  • fainting
  • rapid pulse
  • fast breathing
  • coughing up blood

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Anything that prevents blood from flowing or clotting properly can cause a blood clot.

The main causes of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) are damage to a vein due to surgery or inflammation and damage due to infection or injury.

Risk factors

Many things can increase your risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The more risk factors you have, the greater your risk ofTVP. Risk factors forTVPinclude:

  • Age.Being over 60 increases the risk ofTVP. ButTVPit can occur at any age.
  • Lack of movement.When the legs do not move for a long time, the calf muscles do not contract (contract). Muscle contractions help blood flow. Sitting for a long time, such as when driving or flying, increases the risk ofTVP. The same goes for prolonged bed rest, which can result from a prolonged hospital stay or a medical condition such as paralysis.
  • injury or surgery.Injury to the veins or surgery can increase the risk of blood clots.
  • The pregnancy.Pregnancy increases pressure in the veins of the pelvis and legs. The risk of blood clots from pregnancy can continue up to six weeks after your baby is born. People with an inherited bleeding disorder are especially at risk.
  • Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) or hormone replacement therapy.Both can increase blood clotting ability.
  • Being overweight or obese.Being overweight puts pressure on the veins in your pelvis and legs.
  • From smoking.Smoking affects blood flow and clotting, which can increase your risk ofTVP.
  • Cancer.Some types of cancer increase substances in the blood that cause blood to clot. Some types of cancer treatment also increase the risk of blood clots.
  • Cardiac insufficiency.Heart failure increases the risk ofTVPand pulmonary embolism. Because the heart and lungs don't work well in people with heart failure, symptoms caused by even a small pulmonary embolism are more noticeable.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease.Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis increase the risk ofTVP.
  • Personal or family history ofTVPoPHYSICAL EDUCATION.If you or someone in your family has had one or both of these conditions, you may be at greater risk of developingTVP.
  • Genetics.Some people have changes in their DNA that make it easier for their blood to clot. An example is factor V Leiden. This inherited disorder alters one of the clotting factors in the blood. An inherited disorder by itself may not cause blood clots unless combined with other risk factors.

Sometimes, a blood clot in a vein can occur without an identifiable risk factor. This is called unprovokedTEV.


complications ofTVPmay include:

  • Pulmonary embolism (PE). PHYSICAL EDUCATIONis a life-threatening complication associated withTVP. It occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) in the leg or other part of the body breaks off and becomes trapped in a blood vessel in the lung.

    Get immediate medical help if you have symptoms ofPHYSICAL EDUCATION. They include sudden shortness of breath, chest pain when inhaling or coughing, rapid breathing, rapid pulse, feeling faint or faint, and coughing up blood.

  • Postphlebitic syndrome.Damage to the veins caused by the blood clot reduces blood flow in the affected areas. Symptoms include leg pain, leg swelling, changes in skin color and skin sores.
  • Treatment complications.Blood thinners are often used to treatTVP. Bleeding (haemorrhage) is a worrying side effect of blood thinners. It is important to have regular blood tests while taking blood thinner medications.


Lifestyle changes can help prevent deep vein thrombosis. Try these strategies:

  • Move your legs.If you've had surgery or are on bed rest, try to move as often as possible. Do not cross your legs while sitting. This can block blood flow.

    When traveling, take frequent breaks to stretch your legs. When on an airplane, stand up or walk around occasionally. If you are traveling by car, stop every hour and walk. If you can't walk, do leg exercises. Raise and lower your heels, keeping your toes on the floor. Then lift your toes, keeping your heels on the floor.

  • smokelessSmoking increases the risk ofTVP.
  • Manage weight.Obesity is a risk factor forTVP. Regular exercise reduces the risk of blood clots. As a general goal, try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. If you want to lose weight, keep it off, or reach specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more.

By the staff at the Mayo Clinic

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