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What Causes Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Have you ever heard the recommendations to get up and walk around or wear compression stockings during long car or plane trips? Sitting for a long time without moving your legs is one of many factors that put you at increased risk of developing deep vein thrombosis. This condition can be dangerous and may require emergency medical treatment. Fortunately, it can be prevented with a combination of lifestyle changes and specialized vein treatment that restores healthy circulation. 

What is Deep Vein Thrombosis? 

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition that develops in the deep veins of your legs. When blood flow in these large veins is affected by a failure in the one-way valves that prevent backflow, this stagnating blood flow can begin to clot. A thrombosis or blood clot forms and can cause redness, swelling, and pain. The biggest risk of DVT is the possibility of pieces of the clot breaking off and traveling to the lungs or other parts of the body, causing a medical emergency.

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What Causes Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Venous insufficiency, which occurs when blood backs up in the deep veins of your legs, can create a sluggish flow that makes blood more likely to clot. Other factors that can combine with this condition to create a DVT include: 

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Medications that increase the risk of clotting, such as oral birth control
  • Long periods of reduced mobility
  • Pregnancy
  • Medical conditions that affect blood clotting
  • Increasing age
  • Family history or genetic risk factors
  • Heart or circulatory system disease

Young, healthy people can still get deep vein thrombosis, but it is much less likely. People at the highest risk have venous insufficiency in combination with one or more other risk factors. Some of these factors are under your control, while others are unavoidable. 

How to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis

When deep vein thrombosis occurs, it can have significant consequences, including permanent effects on the circulation in your legs. By far, the best option is to identify and treat your risk factors to prevent the condition from occurring. 

Lifestyle Changes

Any steps you can take to reduce your risk of DVT will usually benefit your health in general. Quitting smoking alone can make a significant difference in your risk. You can also avoid combining risk factors, such as being especially careful to stretch and move around frequently if you have another risk factor, like pregnancy or a medical condition. 

Laser Vein Treatment

At Premier Vein & Body, Dr. Schwartz uses Venous Duplex Ultrasound to perform vein screenings and determine whether treatment is recommended. This non-invasive, painless screening allows him to see whether the deep veins are functioning properly or whether they have become damaged. 

When venous insufficiency is diagnosed, the gold standard treatment is endovenous laser ablation (EVLA). This treatment uses a tiny needle-like catheter to insert a thin laser fiber into the Great Saphenous Vein, a large vein in the leg prone to damaged valves and backflow. A pulse of laser energy damages the vein walls, causing them to collapse and stopping blood flow. The blood is redirected through healthy veins. 

EVLA significantly reduces your risk of deep vein thrombosis by correcting stagnant blood flow and removing areas where blood could pool and form clots. People with other risk factors should still manage these appropriately. 

Is There Any Downtime After Deep Vein Thrombosis Treatment?

You will wear a compression wrap for several days after treatment, and you should limit yourself to light activities for the first week. During this time, you can and should walk regularly to promote good circulation. After a week, you can usually resume your usual exercise routine and any other activities. Your body will absorb the collapsed vein over time.

Consultations Available Now

To learn more, schedule your consultation with Dr. Schwartz by filling out the form on this page or by calling his practice at 913-451-8346. Premier Vein & Body by Schwartz serves patients throughout the Kansas City metro.

Am I a Good Candidate for Deep Vein Thrombosis Treatment?

If you are diagnosed with venous insufficiency, you are usually a good candidate for EVLT to prevent deep vein thrombosis. Candidates should understand all their risk factors and have reasonable expectations. People with certain medical conditions may not be eligible for EVLT, but only a consultation and review of your medical history can determine whether you are a candidate. 

When to Seek Emergency Help for Deep Vein Thrombosis

While preventative treatment and lifestyle changes greatly reduce your risk, you should still know the signs of a deep vein thrombosis in yourself or someone else.

  • Swelling in one foot, ankle, or leg
  • Heat or pain in the leg
  • Changes in skin color

Signs that a clot may have broken off and caused a dangerous medical condition include:

  • Rapid pulse or breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness or fainting

Not everyone with a DVT will have symptoms, so vein screening is still of great importance.


*Individual Results May Vary


Read from real patients about their experiences with Dr. Schwartz and his team at Premier Vein & Body by Schwartz.

Take the Next Step

If you are interested in learning about deep vein thrombosis, please call us at (913) 451-8346 or complete our online contact form, and one of our trusted staff members will reach out to you. Premier Vein & Body is located in Kansas City, MO, just past the State Line, and proudly serves Leawood, Overland Park, Johnson County, and the entire Kansas City metro area.

** This blog provides general information and discussion about medicine, health, and related subjects. The words and other content in this blog and any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If anyone has a medical concern, they should consult with an appropriately licensed physician.

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