Patients with blood flow problems can experience all kinds of symptoms, but leg pain, tingling, and numbness are very common. What about deep vein thrombosis? This is also a likely complication, a cause of leg pain, and sometimes a life-threatening condition.
Deep vein thrombosis features the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein, usually those found in the leg, because these veins are subject to gravity almost all day long. In some cases, deep-vein thrombosis might only cause swelling and leg pain, but there’s a high chance that you will also experience a more severe complication.
The clot formed in your leg can break off and travel to other body parts. When it reaches the lungs, it can block a pulmonary artery and trigger something called pulmonary embolism. If the clot breaks off and reaches the heart, it can block a coronary artery, causing a heart attack.
That’s why treatment of deep vein thrombosis is so important, and there are many options depending on what is causing the problem in your case. If you think you have this problem, you need to consult your doctor as soon as you’re diagnosed and ensure you get the right kind of treatment for your condition. The most common treatment for deep vein thrombosis involves anticoagulants, medications that prevent blood clots from forming. But patients can also follow some recommendations and lifestyle changes to achieve better results.
In this article, we will cover everything patients should know to understand their doctor’s choices and ask any questions they have about their treatment.
Deep vein thrombosis medical treatment
As mentioned above, the most common treatment for deep vein thrombosis is anticoagulants such as heparin and warfarin.
They are usually given for a variable period that depends on your individual needs. It is typically a minimum of three months, and you should follow your doctor’s instructions carefully because a small mistake in the dosage can be dangerous.
The main side effect of anticoagulation is bleeding, which is why patients with this type of medical treatment need to be very careful if they need surgery and mention their treatment to the doctor to schedule the intervention after stopping anticoagulant medications. In rare cases, the medicine may not work well or may cause you severe problems, so it is essential to be in close contact with your doctor for the initial days and weeks of your anticoagulant treatment. If this happens, your doctor will probably stop giving you the medicine, change the dosage, or give you another option.
Anticoagulant agents are also known as blood thinners, but they don’t really make the blood thin. What they do is change the structure and function of proteins that create blood clots as a body defense.
Anticoagulants can be either direct acting or indirect acting. Direct-acting anticoagulants (DOACs) directly inhibit coagulation factors such as thrombin, which are responsible for blood clotting and healing processes in the body. Indirect-acting anticoagulants (IAACs) bind to blood proteins that prevent them from interacting with other blood proteins that create blood clots.
The most common medications are:
It is a natural glycosaminoglycan produced by basophils and mast cells, both white cells in the blood. Heparin was discovered by a second-year medical student in 1916 and has been used since the 1900s as a blood thinner (anticoagulant). It is available as unfractionated heparin and low molecular weight heparin.
Unfractionated heparin is administered in intravenous infusions, intravenous injections, or subcutaneous injections. Low molecular weight heparin is commonly used as a subcutaneous injection. So, you’re likely to receive heparin in a hospital and not outside of your hospital stay unless a doctor or nurse closely monitors you in your house. The only type of heparin patients use at home is low molecular weight heparin, which is easier to administer and has fewer side effects. And even if you’re given low molecular weight heparin to treat your condition at home, you will be instructed about how to use it and when.
Heparin dose should be determined very carefully by doctors, and it varies from one patient to another. You will probably need to stay in a hospital for up to 10 days until the doctor finds your exact dose.