Are You At Risk for DVT?
Did you know that every year more people die from blood clots than from breast cancer and AIDS combined? In fact, more than two million Americans are affected by blood clots every year. A blood clot also known a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) can break loose and travel to the lungs resulting in a Pulmonary Embolism (PE), an often-fatal condition. That’s why SIGVARIS, the global leader in medical compression stockings and socks, is working to educate people about DVT prevention.
Clinical evidence supports the use of graduated compression stockings 15mmHg and higher to help prevent the development of DVT. If the DVT can be prevented, the risk of a Pulmonary Embolism is also prevented, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. SIGVARIS manufactures graduated compression stockings designed to fit a variety of lifestyles to help with prevention.
DVT [deep vein thrombosis] is a blood clot that usually forms in the deep veins of the lower leg, or calf which can block the flow of blood. A DVT may cause leg pain or swelling, but can also present with no symptoms. DVT is not usually life threatening, but it can be if the blood clot breaks loose and goes into the lungs. This is known as a pulmonary embolism (PE).
Did You Know?
- 74% of adults have little to no awareness of DVT
- A pregnant woman is 5-6 times more likely to develop DVT than a non-pregnant woman
- 40% of DVT patients will develop more blood clots within 1-2 years
- Wearing compression stockings or socks reduces the risk of DVT and complications
Generally, a DVT is caused by a combination of two out of three underlying conditions:
- slow or sluggish blood flow through a major vein,
- a tendency for a person’s blood to clot quickly, a condition that sometimes runs in families, and
- irritation or inflammation of the lining surface of the vein.
DVT risk factors:
- Prolonged sitting or restricted mobility such as long-distance travel
- Age over 40
- Surgery [especially orthopedic] or major injury
- Excessive weight
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Varicose veins
- High estrogen states, such as in pregnancy or when using birth control pills
- Prolonged bed rest or immobility
Diagnosis of a DVT can be quickly made with a simple ultrasound scan that is painless and risk-free. A specific blood test may be performed to measure “D-dimer” which is a sign of recent clotting. Early diagnosis and treatment greatly reduces your risk of serious complications. There are other tests that your physician may recommend depending on your medical history. The risk factors are cumulative – the more you have, the greater your risk. You and your doctor can work together in high risk situations to reduce the onset of DVT and PE.
- Nearly 50% of all DVT cases have NO recognized symptoms
- Leg pain & tenderness
- Swelling in calf muscle, ankle, foot or thigh – especially in one leg
- Skin that is warm to the touch
Complications of a DVT
About one-third of patients with DVT, develop a long-term complication known as post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS). This condition can show up as chronic pain, swelling and discoloration of the leg, as well as the development of open ulcers, caused by the damage that is done by the clot to valves in the veins. The likelihood of another clot forming is high once you have had a DVT. The effects of PTS are long lasting and can lessen one’s quality of life.
Another complication from a DVT is the condition known as pulmonary embolism (PE) which is when the clot breaks loose and travels through the vessel to the arteries located in the lungs, which is a potentially fatal condition if it significantly blocks blood flow through the lungs.
You can prevent DVTs by:
- Exercising regularly, including stretching and leg movement when travelling
- Smoking cessation
- Maintaining a normal body weight
- Eating a healthy diet
- Wearing compression stockings or socks, which reduces the risk of DVT
Why graduated compression stockings? Your doctor may prescribe compression stockings because they provide a graduated pressure that is more firm at the bottom and becomes lesser at the top of the stocking or sock. This graduation aids in improved blood flow back to the heart because gravity and pressure make it difficult for the blood to flow in an upward direction.
Remember, DVT’s can be prevented and managed and when they are, the complications can be reduced or even eliminated!
Why SIGVARIS? SIGVARIS is the world’s leading manufacturer of ready-to-wear graduated compression stockings and socks. Our product was originally designed by a physician. SIGVARIS offers many natural fiber options and, all of SIGVARIS fibers are double wrapped providing you a durable stocking or sock that is also easier to apply and remove. SIGVARIS prides itself in providing products that deliver a comfortable fit and the compression strength recommended by your physician.
Sources: Brandjes DP. Et al. Lancet 1997, American Public Health Association White Paper: Deep Vein Thrombosis: Advancing Awareness to Protect Patient Lives, February 26, 2003, US Surgeon General Office: www.surgeongeneral.gov, American Venous Forum: www.venous-info.org, Venous Disease Coalition: www.venousdiseasecoalition.org, Vascular Disease Foundation: www.vdf.org.