Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) , is a blood clot that forms in larger blood vessels deep in the legs. Blood clots occur when blood thickens and clumps together. Most deep vein blood clots occur in the lower leg or thigh but, they can also occur in other parts of your body. A blood clot can occur from inflammation, trauma, or abnormal clotting factors and is simply a mixture of blood components that have formed from a liquid to a solid state.
All blood clots are not the same. It is important to know the difference between a clot in a vein and a clot in an artery. Arteries carry blood away from the heart to other parts of your body. Veins drain the body and return the blood back to the heart and lungs.
Blood clots that occur in arteries can lead to life-threatening conditions such as a stroke, heart attack or loss of blood to an organ. Blood clots that occur in veins are generally not life threatening unless they travel to the lungs.
Your arms and legs have two sets of veins called superficial veins and deep veins. If you develop a blood clot in a superficial vein in the arm or leg it is called superficial thrombophlebitis. Examples of superficial veins are varicose veins and spider veins. Superficial thrombophlebitis may heal on its own but, may require over the counter pain medication such and Ibuprofen, warm compresses, and in rare cases a blood thinner.
When a blood clot develops in the deep veins of your arm or leg it is called a (DVT) and is a serious condition that must be treated immediately. If ignored, a (DVT) can break into small pieces and travel to the lungs causing a pulmonary embolism (PE) which, can lead to death. If diagnosed early, (PE) can be treated with a blood thinner medication.