DVT Awareness Month - Know Your Risks
March is DVT Awareness Month, so it gives us an opportunity to emphasize the importance of deep vein blood clots and phlebitis in varicose veins. The National Blood Clot Alliance has helped improve public awareness of this health concern, and a recent update is very educational. As is stated on the organization's website, “Each year, blood clots kill more individuals than AIDS, breast cancer, and automobile accidents combined,” says Sara Wassenaar, DDS, and Board President of the National Blood Clot Alliance. “We need to improve the recognition of this important public health issue, and ensure that people understand that blood clots can affect anyone.”
As specialists in venous disease, we have seen patients with uncomplicated varicose veins, advanced venous disease, superficial and deep vein clots (DVT) for many years and we are very experienced in treating all of these conditions. Varicose veins in the legs can lead to significant complications, one of which is phlebitis, as the flow in these enlarged twisted veins in abnormal and sluggish. Clots limited to the superficial veins are painful, but not typically a source of serious health concerns. Symptoms are short term and managed with anti-inflammatory medications and ice.
On occasion, these superficial clots extend into the deep venous system, and when this occurs, this DVT can lead to serious health complications, especially if the clot moves to the heart of lungs. Even clots that remain in the deep system can lead to chronic leg swelling, discoloration and limitation of activity. DVT occurs in about 600,000 Americans annually and is responsible for between 60,000 and 100,000 deaths each year.
Varicose veins are easily and effectively treated in the office, and restoration of normal venous flow improves leg health while reducing the risk of forming blood clots. Because untreated venous insufficiency is often a progressive problem with steadily enlarging surface veins, earlier treatment limits the extent of what needs to be done. Patients should know that their medical insurance companies recognize the importance treating varicose veins, so coverage is often quite good.
As leaders in the field of venous disease, both Dr. Rosenberg and Dr. McNeill have launched the Venous Thrombosis Center at CVL to highlight this serious health issue. We encourage patients with previously diagnosed blood clots, or those patients with concerns about the potential for developing clots to seek evaluation. Effective treatment can go a long way in reducing your risk of a serious health issue.