A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in certain veins of the legs, pelvis, or arms. The clot is usually in the legs. DVT may damage the vein and cause the area to ache, swell, and change color. DVT also can lead to sores.
DVT in these veins needs to be treated because the clots can get bigger, break loose, and travel through the bloodstream to the lungs. A blood clot in a lung can cause death.
Blood clots can form in the veins when you are not active for a long period of time. For example, they can form if you need to stay in bed because of a health problem or must sit for a long time on an airplane or in a car. Surgery or an injury can damage your blood vessels and cause a clot to form. Cancer also can cause DVT. And some people have blood that clots too easily, which is a problem that may run in families.
A risk factor is something that makes you more likely to develop a disease.
Here are some major risk factors for DVT:
- You have surgery.
- You have to stay in bed for more than 3 days (such as in the hospital).
- Your blood is likely to clot because of an injury, cancer, or inherited condition.
Here are some minor risk factors for DVT:
- You take birth control hormones.
- You are pregnant.
- You are in a car or airplane for a long trip.