Deep Vein Thrombosis (or DVT for short) occurs when a blood clot develops in a person’s deep veins, especially those in the legs. It occurs most often in people over the age of 60 and can be very dangerous if the blood clot breaks free and travels through the bloodstream to the lungs blocking blood flow. For that reason, if your elderly parent complains of any of the following symptoms to you or her home care provider, you will want to bring her to the doctor as soon as possible.
Symptoms of DVT
- -Swelling in one of her legs, oftentimes, the calf area.
- -Pain in her leg. The pain often starts in the calf and can feel like cramping or soreness.
- -Red or discolored skin on the leg.
- -A feeling of warmth in the affected leg.
While DVT can happen without any specific causes occasionally, there are some definite risk factors that can put your parent at a greater risk for developing a deep vein thrombosis. If she already has a genetic risk factor (certain conditions such as factor V Leiden can cause the blood to clot), that may increase the possibility of your parent developing a DVT. And while it may not increase her risk a lot, trying to avoid these risk factors when possible will decrease the likelihood of your parent developing a deep vein thrombosis.
- Age. As your parent gets older, the risk increases, especially after the age of 60.
- Sitting for long periods of time, such as when driving or flying. If your parent has to sit for long periods of time, such as during a long car ride, flight, or even a movie, her calf muscles don’t contract. Without muscle contractions, the blood flow can slow down and not circulate as well. A simple stand-up and stretch every 60 minutes can help reduce the risk of blood clots being created in this way.
- Prolonged bed rest. If your parent is on bed rest because of a recovery while in the hospital or at home, or if she has mobility issues, blood clots can form in the calves of her legs when her calf muscles don’t move for long periods.
- Injury or surgery. Injury to your parent’s veins or surgery can increase the risk of blood clots.
- Hormone replacement therapy. If your parent is currently under a hormone replacement regimen, it can increase her blood’s ability to clot. Make sure to review the possible side effects of any medication she is taking.
- Being overweight or obese. Being overweight increases the pressure in the veins in your parent’s pelvis and legs.
- Smoking. Smoking affects blood clotting and circulation, which can increase your parent’s risk of DVT.
- Cancer. Some forms of cancer increase substances in your parent’s blood that cause the blood to clot. Some forms of cancer treatment also increase the risk of blood clots. It is always a good idea to talk to your parent’s doctor to see if this is something you should be especially aware of.
- Heart failure. Heart failure increases your parent’s risk of DVT and pulmonary embolism. Because individuals with heart failure have limited heart and lung function, the symptoms caused by even a small pulmonary embolism are more noticeable.
- Inflammatory bowel disease. Bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, increase the risk of DVT.
Being aware of the risk factors as well as the symptoms will help you and your parent be alert to when and if a DVT occurs.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Home Care Services in San Clemente CA, please contact the caring staff at Canaan Home Care today!