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treating deep vein thrombosis

Can You Treat Deep Vein Thrombosis at Home?

Vein and arteries carry blood continuously throughout your life, keeping your heart pumping and other organs functioning. When you get a cut or scrape, clots prevent blood from spilling out. However, when blood clots for other reasons, it can be a result of life-threatening medical problems. Learn more about blood clots and your treatment options if you discover that you’re suffering from Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

Have vein questions? Contact Gilvydis Vein Clinic in Rockford, IL for more information.

What is a Blood Clot?

Platelets are the part of your blood that is activated when blood vessels are damaged. They release chemicals that attract additional platelets and proteins. These substances stick to each other and the walls of your body to effectively plug the leak. As more particles get tangled with each other, trapping cells and platelets, the clump (or blood clot) grows rapidly, ensuring the damaged tissue is repaired. Then, when it is no longer needed, it breaks up, and your body absorbs the cells again.

When are Blood Clots Dangerous?

If a clot blocks blood flow in a vein, it is considered dangerous. This is typically a result of a trauma, effects after surgery when a person is immobile for an extended time, or no apparent reason at all. When clots form in deep veins, it is called Deep Vein Thrombosis (or DVT) and generally occurs in your pelvis, thigh or calf. Once dislodged, they can block the flow of blood to the lungs and heart, causing a pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal. If you are worried you may have DVT, contact a vein specialist like Dr. Gilvydis for a professional diagnosis.

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Diagnosing the Condition

Although DVT doesn’t always have noticeable signs, if you have difficulty walking or intense pain in your leg, look for additional symptoms such as:

  • The skin on your leg is unusually warm
  • One or both of your legs suddenly swell
  • Your legs appear red or discolored
  • Veins are tender to touch or hard

In severe cases, these symptoms are accompanied by sharp chest pain, sudden coughing with blood presenting, shortness of breath, pain when you breathe or fast heartbeat. Doctors can run tests that help determine if the symptoms are a result of blood clots.

An ultrasound sends sound waves through tissue and reflects back to create a moving image, enabling specialists to see if a clot exists.
Blood tests can indicate whether D-Dimer levels are elevated.
MRI or CT scans can also provide a picture of your veins, revealing a clot.

DVT Risk Factors

If you are over the age of 50 or require surgery in the lower extremities, you may be at higher risk for blood clots. Individuals who are overweight, smoke, have a family history of DVT and stay seated for long periods are more likely to develop DVT.

Medication for Deep Vein Thrombosis

Doctors typically prescribe blood thinners – also called anticoagulants – to stop a clot from growing and new clumps from forming. Depending on the severity of the issue and personal circumstances, medication can be delivered intravenously, injected or taken in a pill form. Clot busters – or thrombolytics – may be prescribed if the clot is dangerous and blood thinners are not working fast enough.

Deep Vein Thrombosis Treatment at Home

In addition to medications, there are lifestyle changes you can make that can help treat symptoms and potentially prevent new clots from forming.

  • Movements and activities that can be completed while sitting down can help the blood circulate. Examples include foot pumps, knee pulls and ankle circles.
  • Get moving by taking frequent short walks.
  • Raising your legs close to hip level help to prevent blood from pooling.
  • Wear compression socks as they reduce swelling and increase blood flow.

Compassionate, Expert Vein Care in Rockford, IL

If you or someone you know suffers from DVT, contact the specialists at Gilvydis Vein Clinic. From diagnostic imaging and medications to personalized treatment plans, our experienced team of physicians has the technology and skills needed to help you achieve the best outcome possible.

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stretching and exercising to improve leg circulation

Get On Your Feet

With shelter in place in Illinois heading into its second month, it’s important to stop and think about how your health may be affected by the restrictions.

Whether you have been binging Netflix shows, trying to finish a 1,000-piece puzzle, or getting lost in a novel, sitting for long periods of time increases the risk for chronic issues such as heart disease and diabetes.

Varicose veins are another medical condition that can develop when veins no longer sufficiently send blood from the legs back to the heart. Our veins have valves that enable the blood to flow forward toward the heart, but those valves can become damaged and weakened over time.

Damaged and weakened valves result in blood pooling in the legs and sitting too long helps gravity push that blood further down in the body. That’s when we increase our risks for serious, life-threatening conditions such as blood clots and deep vein thrombosis.

As the spring weather turns warmer, there isn’t a better time than now to start getting on your feet every day. Keeping your blood flowing and circulating well is important for your health. You don’t have to participate in rigorous exercise every day. Movement of any kind will make an impact on leg vein health. Below are some ideas to get you started:

  • Prop your feet up on a footrest or stool to help elevate your legs throughout the day.
  • Stand up and do some calf raises (stand on your tiptoes, release and repeat) or try a few squats.
  • Take a 30-minute walk (or run) every day. This can help boost circulation and allow your veins to function properly.
  • Participate in an activity such as yoga. There are many great instruction videos available online (check YouTube or your cable provide might have yoga and other fitness resources on demand).
  • Take a bike ride with your family. This is a lower-impact activity that can improve leg health.

If you’re concerned about painful, achy legs, call us anytime or click here to schedule a virtual consultation or in office screening. You can also hear directly from patients about how our minimally invasive treatments helped their leg pain caused by too much standing and sitting on the job.

Tingling in legs: What could be the cause?

We’ve all felt it, that familiar tingling feeling in your leg after you’ve been in the same position for too long, also known as pins and needles. But there are a number of other causes for a tingling sensation in the legs that you may not be aware of, especially if you are experiencing the feeling on a regular basis.

What is the Cause of Tingling in Legs? 

Frequent episodes of a tingling sensation in the legs and feet can be the result of many common causes, some of which are benign and some that are more sinister in nature.

Anxiety: Tingling & Numbness

People who suffer from anxiety can have some symptoms that vary wildly in frequency, duration, and severity. But many people experience tingling, numbness, or pain in the extremities as a result of chronic anxiety or stress that can worsen when trying to go to sleep or during a panic attack.

Systemic Diseases Causing Leg Tingling

Diabetes is the perfect example of how systemic disease can cause a tingling feeling in the legs. Many people with lifelong diabetes or uncontrolled adult-onset diabetes suffer a complication known as diabetic neuropathy, which typically starts in the feet and legs and can progress to the arms and hands.

Diabetic neuropathy is the result of nerve damage that is caused by chronically high blood sugar levels and can have other symptoms such as a burning sensation, feeling of numbness, and pain in the affected limbs.

Sciatica Causing Tingling in Legs

Caused by damage or pressure on the sciatic nerve, the tingling, pain, or numbness sciatica can cause usually starts in the buttocks of the affected leg and travels down the leg to the ankle and sometimes into the foot. It usually only affects one leg at a time and is generally treated with anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy.

Vitamin Deficiencies leading to Leg Tingles

Many vitamin deficiencies can cause tingling in the extremities. A Vitamin B12, or cyanocobalamin, deficiency is the most notable of these and can lead to pernicious anemia, which can cause peripheral neuropathy. Other vitamin deficiencies that can cause tingling and similar symptoms in the extremities include:

  • Pyridoxine or Vitamin B6
  • Niacin
  • Thiamine or Vitamin B1
  • Tocopherol or Vitamin E

An electrolyte imbalance can also cause tingling in the legs. Potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium are the four main electrolytes that carry an electrical charge and help regulate nerve impulses. When they are out of balance, this can lead to the irregular firing of the nerves and the sensation of numbness or tingling in the extremities.

Bacterial or Viral Infections Causing Tingling

Many infectious diseases can cause damage to the nerves in the body resulting in severe complications and symptoms. Some of these infections include:

  • Shingles or herpes varicella-zoster virus
  • Lyme disease
  • Herpes simplex virus
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • HIV/AIDS

The herpes virus is the most notorious of the above infectious conditions, especially when it comes to nerve damage, which is typically found in the nerves of the face, ears, eyes, and extremities. Symptoms can range from mild discomfort to excruciating pain and can last for months or years after an active infection.

Symptoms of Venous Diseases 

Vein diseases like deep vein thrombosis or DVT, and even varicose veins, can cause tingling in the legs. This is because venous disease disrupts the normal flow of blood throughout the body and can lead to blood clots, which can cut off the blood supply to nerves.

For example, deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot that forms in the deep veins of the leg. A DVT can be large enough to put pressure on surrounding nerves, or cut off blood supply to the nerves causing the pins and needles sensation, numbness, and even pain in the leg.

DVT can be a dangerous condition if left untreated. A piece of the clot can break away and travel to the lungs leading to a pulmonary embolism, which can be deadly. Call your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Sudden shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Pain in the chest can become worse when inhaling deeply, eating, bending over, coughing, or exercising
  • A bloody cough
  • Irregular or rapid heart rate
  • Sweating excessively
  • Dizziness or lightheaded feeling

Don’t suffer from leg tingling any longer.

If you are in Illinois, call us today at (815) 981-4742 or contact us online.

The link between deep vein thrombosis & pulmonary embolism

Deep vein thrombosis is a venous disease that is often associated with pulmonary embolism. But what exactly is the link between these two diseases?  To answer that, we need to know a little bit about both.

What is DVT or Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Simply put, deep vein thrombosis is a clot of blood that has formed in a deep vein of a limb. These blood clots typically form in the pelvis or legs, but they can develop in the arm as well. Deep vein thrombosis can be asymptomatic. In fact, almost half of all sufferers do not have any symptoms, but those who do often experience the following:

  • Pain in or around the area or limb affected
  • Inflammation or swelling around the area affected
  • Tenderness in the skin above the clot, the skin may be warm to the touch
  • Discoloration or redness of the skin near the clot
  • Heavy sensation or fatigue in the legs
  • Sudden appearance of veins that are easily visible in the skin

If you notice these symptoms or they appear suddenly, it is important to find a vein doctor right away.  Vein treatment can successfully alleviate the symptoms of DVT and prevent further damage to blood vessels. But if left untreated, deep vein thrombosis can quickly become a pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal.

What is a Pulmonary Embolism or PE?

One of the more serious side effects of deep vein thrombosis is a pulmonary embolism, also known as PE. A pulmonary embolism happens when a piece of the blood clot breaks away and travels through the bloodstream to the lungs. Like deep vein thrombosis, a pulmonary embolism may not have any symptoms. However, if there are symptoms, they typically include:

  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent coughing
  • A “wet” cough that contains blood
  • Dizziness or a lightheaded sensation
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Chest pain that gets worse with a cough or deep breath
  • Unexplained sweating

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention right away.

DVT/PE Treatment

Treatment of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism is aimed at primarily at prevention:

  • Preventing further growth of the clot
  • Preventing a piece of the clot from breaking away and traveling to the lungs
  • Preventing another deep vein thrombosis from forming in another vein

At Gilvydis Vein Clinic, our doctors use state-of-the-art ultrasound vein mapping to pinpoint the DVT and run blood tests to determine the extent of the venous disease.

Dr. Gilvydis will tailor your treatment to your needs which may include blood thinners to dissolve the clot. If you think you have a DVT or venous disease, contact us today to schedule a consultation at our Sycamore or Geneva medical offices.