Blood clots are a common medical condition that occurs when blood thickens and clumps together. They can happen in various parts of the body, such as the legs, lungs, or brain, and can be pretty serious.

One type of blood clot that is particularly concerning is called deep-vein thrombosis (DVT), which occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the leg. If not treated promptly, DVT can lead to complications, such as pulmonary embolism, which can even be fatal.

While most people know what a blood clot is, many are unaware of the risks of blood clots and don’t know how to prevent them. In fact, statistics show less than 6% of Americans have knowledge about blood clots and their prevention.

March is DVT and Blood Clot Awareness Month. Our objective is to equip you with the knowledge needed to comprehend, prevent, and manage blood clots, including DVT.

We have created this article to provide you with comprehensive information about blood clots and DVT, including:

  • What is DVT
  • Types of Blood Clots
  • Signs and Symptoms of DVT
  • Signs and Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism (PE)
  • Risk Factors for Blood Clots
  • Other Common Vein Issues
  • Do’s and Don’ts for Optimal Vein Health
  • DVT Treatment Options
  • DVT and Blood Clot Awareness Month
  • Vascular Screenings and Vein Specialists in Middle Tennessee

After reading, if you have any further questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact our vein specialists.

What is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Deep Vein Thrombosis, commonly known as DVT, is a medical condition that occurs when blood clots form in deep veins, usually in the legs. These clots develop when platelets and fibrin, two essential components of blood, combine and thicken, creating a gel-like substance.

There are various reasons why blood clots can form, and we will discuss the risk factors for developing them shortly. But first, let’s understand arterial and venous clots, the two primary types of blood clots – arterial clots and venous clots.

Arterial clots originate in the arteries, the essential vessels that transport oxygenated blood from the heart to various body parts. When these clots form, they have the potential to induce severe medical conditions, including heart attacks and strokes.

Venous clots, on the other hand, develop within the veins and can give rise to complications if they migrate to the lungs, a phenomenon known as pulmonary embolism. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a specific type of venous clot that occurs within the deep veins, commonly in the legs. These clots should be addressed swiftly to mitigate associated risks.

The likelihood of experiencing DVT is approximately 1 in 1000 per year, though specific factors can significantly elevate this risk. It’s also important to understand that blood clots can be a serious matter with potentially deadly consequences. As many as 100,000 people die of blood clots each year.

While these statistics can sound alarming, it’s important to remember that blood clots are often preventable with proper care and attention. In addition, vascular screenings, early detection, and treatment can significantly reduce the risk of more serious complications.

Signs and Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Unlike some medical conditions that may manifest subtly, DVT often presents with noticeable indicators. However, DVT can also be asymptomatic in some cases. So, if you have a family history or any risk factors, you should consider regular vascular screenings.

When symptoms do occur, they typically manifest in the affected extremity, commonly the legs. But there are other signs of DVT. If you notice the following signs and symptoms, it’s important to bring them to your doctor’s attention promptly:

  • Swelling of the Affected Area
  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Redness of the Skin

For more information on the signs of DVT, read 6 Early Signs of DVT and What You Can Do.

Left untreated, DVT poses the risk of complications, as a fragment of the clot can detach and travel to the lungs, leading to a pulmonary embolism (PE). Common signs and symptoms of PE include:

  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Faster than Normal or Irregular Heartbeat
  • Coughing Up Blood
  • Very Low Blood Pressure, Lightheadedness, or Fainting

Should you experience any of the above signs or symptoms of PE, it is imperative to seek immediate medical attention. Pulmonary embolism can be potentially fatal.

Risk Factors for Blood Clots

Several factors contribute to the development of blood clots, including DVT.  These risk factors can be broadly categorized into – medical conditions and procedures, lifestyle factors, and genetic predispositions.

Medical Conditions and Medical Procedures That Can Cause Blood Clots


Certain cancers and cancer treatments can increase blood clotting factors.

Heart Disease

Conditions affecting the heart, such as heart attacks or heart failure, can disrupt blood flow and contribute to clot formation.

Inflammatory Disorders

Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease can trigger an inflammatory response that may lead to clot formation.


Surgical procedures, especially those involving joint replacement, can lead to temporary immobility and a higher risk of clot formation.

Prolonged Immobility

Extended periods of immobility, such as bed rest, can impede blood circulation and increase clotting risk.

Lifestyle Factors That Can Cause Blood Clots


Smoking is associated with increased clotting factors and vascular damage.


Excess body weight can strain the circulatory system, promoting clot formation.

Hormonal Factors

The use of hormonal birth control or hormone replacement therapy can potentially affect blood clotting mechanisms.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Prolonged periods of inactivity, such as sitting for extended periods, can contribute to poor circulation and an elevated risk of blood clot formation.

Genetic Predispositions That Can Cause Blood Clots

Family History of Blood Clotting Disorders

Genetic factors can play a role, and individuals with a family history of clotting disorders may have an increased predisposition to DVT.

Other Common Vein Issues

Blood clots and DVT aren’t the only common vein issues that can impact your veins’ overall health and functionality. There are additional vein issues that can lead to discomfort or complications.

Some other common vein issues include:

Varicose Veins

One of the most prevalent vein issues, varicose veins, occurs when veins become enlarged and twisted, usually in the legs. While often a cosmetic concern, varicose veins can cause discomfort and, in some cases, lead to more severe complications.

Spider Veins

Spider veins are small, dilated blood vessels near the skin’s surface that often appear as red or blue webs. While usually harmless, they can be a cosmetic concern for some individuals.

Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)

CVI occurs when the veins fail to adequately return blood from the legs to the heart, leading to symptoms such as leg swelling, pain, and skin changes.

Venous Ulcers

Prolonged venous insufficiency may result in venous ulcers—open sores on the skin that are often challenging to heal without intervention.


Phlebitis is inflammation of a vein. It can occur in superficial veins (superficial phlebitis) or affect deeper veins (deep vein phlebitis), potentially leading to more severe complications.

May-Thurner Syndrome

This condition involves the compression of the left iliac vein by the overlying right iliac artery, increasing the risk of deep vein thrombosis.

Pelvic Venous Insufficiency (PVI)

Common in women, PVI manifests when the veins in the pelvis struggle to efficiently return blood to the heart, leading to a potential accumulation of blood in the pelvic region. The condition arises when there is compromised circulation in the major pelvic veins.

Healthy Habits for Healthy Veins

The significance of maintaining healthy veins is often not considered until complications arise. Most people are reactive rather than proactive regarding their vein health. However, it’s crucial to shift the mindset and prioritize preventive measures.

When your veins aren’t healthy, it impacts not only the aesthetics but also the functionality of your veins. The nutrients and oxygen your veins carry are vital for the proper functioning of every organ and cell in your body.

Here are some important healthy vein tips to incorporate into your daily routine:

Healthy Vein Do’s

Be Physically Active

Sedentary lifestyles have been linked to an increased risk of venous issues, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Prioritizing regular physical activity is a proactive approach that reduces the likelihood of venous complications and enhances overall cardiovascular fitness.

Exercise, such as walking, jogging, cycling, and weight lifting, is vital in enhancing muscle contractions and facilitating the efficient return of blood to the heart. This rhythmic movement helps counteract gravity’s impact, particularly on blood circulation in the lower extremities.


Additionally, physical activity contributes to the dilation and contraction of blood vessels, promoting overall vascular health.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Carrying excess weight places increased pressure on the veins, particularly those in the lower extremities. This added strain can lead to weakened vein walls and compromised valve function. As a result, the veins may struggle to efficiently transport blood back to the heart.

Adopt a balanced diet and exercise regularly to achieve and sustain a healthy weight, reducing strain on your circulatory system.

Eat Fiber Rich Foods

Fiber significantly contributes to preventing undue pressure buildup in your abdomen. You might be asking yourself how your gut and veins are connected. Good question!

A well-functioning digestive system is vital to mitigating the risk of pressure impacting your veins. The inverse scenario—where pressure in the abdomen builds up due to irregular digestive flow—poses a potential threat to your veins, hindering the smooth circulation of blood.

Eating plenty of fiber-rich foods such as oatmeal, air-popped popcorn, brown rice, leafy greens, broccoli, avocado, chia, and lentils is a great way to support vein health.

By choosing these fiber-rich foods, you proactively contribute to the well-being of your veins, promoting a healthy digestive system and averting potential complications associated with pressure-induced blockages in your veins.

Stay Hydrated

Water is good for your body in just about any way you can imagine. It gives you more energy, improves your skin, prevents muscle cramps, keeps your immune system strong, can aid in weight loss, and is also great for your vein health.

Adequate fluid intake is crucial to support blood flow and prevent dehydration. Well-hydrated blood flows more easily, preventing strain on your veins. Dehydration, on the other hand, thickens the blood, increasing the risk of clot formation and potential vein issues.

Keep your veins healthy by staying hydrated—thin blood means smooth circulation, reducing the chances of complications.

Take Regular Breaks

Incorporating short breaks into your routine, especially if your work involves prolonged sitting, prevents blood stagnation and supports overall vein health. Lengthy periods of sitting can impede blood circulation, leading to stagnation and potentially contributing to vein-related complications.

Regular breaks to stand, stretch, and move around promote healthy blood flow. This simple yet effective practice helps alleviate the pressure on your veins, preventing the development of issues such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Elevate Your Legs

Elevating your legs when resting is a beneficial practice that actively supports blood circulation and mitigates the risk of blood pooling. When you elevate your legs, gravity works in your favor, aiding in the smooth return of blood to the heart.

This position helps reduce the pressure on the veins in the lower extremities, minimizing the potential for blood to accumulate or pool. Elevating your legs is a preventive measure against vein-related issues, particularly those associated with venous insufficiency.

Wear Compression Stockings When Needed

Wearing compression stockings, especially during extended periods of immobility or long flights, is a practical measure to support healthy blood flow and minimize the risk of vein-related complications.

Compression stockings exert gentle pressure on the legs, aiding in efficient blood circulation and assisting the veins in returning blood to the heart. By mitigating the effects of gravity, compression stockings help reduce the likelihood of blood pooling or stagnation, addressing concerns such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

If you’re considering compression stockings, it’s advisable to consult with a vein specialist to determine the appropriate compression level and type of stockings based on individual needs.

Manage Stress

Chronic stress can have adverse effects on the circulatory system, potentially contributing to the development of vein-related complications. Stress triggers the release of hormones, such as cortisol, impacting blood vessel function, leading to increased blood pressure and potential strain on the veins.

Incorporating stress-reducing techniques, such as meditation or yoga, is vital to mitigating the impact of stress on vein health. These practices foster relaxation, reduce tension, and contribute to overall cardiovascular well-being.

Get Vascular Screenings and Seek Vein Treatment

If you observe any irregularities in the functioning of your veins or sense any discomfort, it’s essential not to take any chances—consult a vein specialist promptly.

Receiving care from experienced and highly-trained professionals, like those specializing in vein health, ensures comprehensive support for your well-being. These specialists have successfully assisted numerous patients in reclaiming their health through tailored treatments.

Early detection of vein issues is crucial, as these conditions may exacerbate without necessary lifestyle changes or intervention to prevent further damage to your veins. If you have a family history or other risk factors, seeking professional care, including vascular screenings, can make a significant difference in managing and addressing potential vein problems.

Healthy Vein Don’ts


Smoking is a harmful habit that can have significant adverse effects on vascular health. It increases the risk of vascular damage and blood clot formation. The toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke, including nicotine and carbon monoxide, have direct adverse effects on blood vessels.

Nicotine has vasoconstrictive properties that narrow blood vessels. This, in turn, elevates blood pressure and places added stress on veins. Carbon monoxide diminishes the blood’s oxygen-carrying capacity. This reduces oxygen supply to tissues, including those in the veins.

This combination of factors compromises blood flow and heightens the risk of blood clot formation. This is particularly true in conditions like deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

To mitigate these risks, it is crucial to quit smoking.

Drink Excessive Alcohol

Excessive alcohol consumption poses a risk to vein health by contributing to dehydration and increasing the likelihood of clot formation.

Alcohol has dehydrating effects on the body, and when combined with inadequate fluid intake, it can lead to thicker and stickier blood. Dehydrated blood is more prone to clot formation, heightening the risk of conditions such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Limiting alcohol consumption is a crucial measure to maintain optimal vein health, ensuring proper blood viscosity and reducing the potential for clot-related complications.

Sit or Stand Too Long

Prolonged periods of sitting or standing can negatively impact vein health, especially for individuals with existing vein issues or risk factors. When you remain sedentary for too long, blood circulation becomes sluggish, increasing the risk of blood pooling and clot formation.

Taking breaks to move, stretch, or change positions is crucial to prevent stagnation in blood flow, promoting healthier circulation and reducing the risk of vein-related complications.

Wear High Heels Excessively

While wearing high heels occasionally or for short periods is generally acceptable, excessive and prolonged use can adversely affect vein health.

High heels alter the body’s natural alignment, impacting posture and putting added strain on the veins in the lower extremities. This can impede proper blood circulation, leading to increased pressure on the veins and potentially contributing to issues like varicose veins.

It’s advisable to reduce the frequency of wearing high heels to mitigate the strain on veins, allowing for more comfortable blood flow and minimizing the risk of vein-related complications.

Consume Excessive Salt

It’s important to be mindful of excessive salt consumption as it can lead to fluid retention and negatively impact blood vessel health.

While some salt is necessary for essential bodily functions, too much can increase sodium levels in the bloodstream. This prompts the body to retain water, causing fluid accumulation and heightened blood volume, which strains blood vessels and may elevate blood pressure.

Wear Tight Clothing Frequently

Tight clothing, when worn frequently, can exert excessive pressure on blood vessels, impeding the normal circulation of blood. This compression can potentially lead to discomfort and increase the risk of vein-related issues such as varicose veins.

Opting for clothing with a comfortable fit ensures unrestricted blood circulation, minimizing the likelihood of complications associated with tight clothing.

Always Take Elevators

If you routinely choose elevators over stairs, you may be inadvertently leading a sedentary lifestyle that can impact vein health. Whenever possible, opt for stairs instead of elevators – it’s an effortless yet effective way to engage leg muscles and enhance blood circulation.

Taking the stairs triggers various muscle groups, promoting increased blood flow and efficient blood return to the heart. This physical activity supports overall cardiovascular health and helps maintain optimal vein function.

Moreover, taking the stairs is a form of non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), which is one of the easiest and most effective ways to increase calorie burn if you have excess weight.

Cross Legs for Extended Periods

Sitting with legs crossed for extended periods puts pressure on blood vessels, particularly those behind the knee, affecting circulation. Over time, this pressure may contribute to the development of varicose veins or exacerbate existing vein problems.

To maintain healthy blood flow, it’s advisable to avoid prolonged periods of sitting with legs crossed and to change positions regularly. This simple adjustment can significantly reduce the risk of vein-related complications associated with this posture.

Engage in Prolonged Sedentary Hobbies

For individuals with sedentary hobbies, such as extended periods of sitting for activities like gaming or crafting, it’s important to balance these activities with regular breaks for movement.

Prolonged sedentary behavior can compromise blood circulation and contribute to vein-related issues. Taking breaks to stretch, walk, or engage in light exercises helps counteract the negative effects of prolonged sitting.

Ignore Symptoms

Neglecting symptoms of vein issues, such as swelling or pain, can seriously affect vascular health. If you experience these symptoms, seeking prompt medical advice is crucial. Ignoring such signs may allow underlying vein problems to progress, leading to complications like chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) or deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

Early intervention is vital to effective management and prevention of further complications. Seeking medical advice promptly enables healthcare professionals to assess and address potential vein issues, ensuring timely and appropriate care for optimal vascular health.

For more on promoting vein health and preventing DVT, read 12 Do’s and Don’ts For Healthy Veins.

DVT Treatment Options

Addressing vein issues often involves a combination of lifestyle adjustments and medical interventions tailored to the severity of your condition. While adopting healthier habits can alleviate symptoms and impede further deterioration, it’s important to know all of your medical treatment options when lifestyle modifications fall short.

If you have a blood clot or DVT, your vein specialist will help you determine which treatment option is best for you. Treatment options might include:

Anticoagulant Medications (blood thinners)

These are blood-thinning medications that help prevent the clot from getting larger and reduce the risk of new clots forming. Examples include heparin, enoxaparin, and warfarin.

Thrombolytic Therapy

In some cases of severe DVT, thrombolytic drugs may be used to dissolve the clot. This therapy is more invasive and is typically reserved for situations where there is a high risk of complications.

VenaSeal Treatment

VenaSeal treatment offers a unique solution by utilizing a specially formulated medical adhesive. This adhesive is introduced into the troubled vein, sealing it shut and rerouting blood flow through healthier vessels. This approach provides a precise and effective means of treating problematic veins without the need for thermal energy.

Varithena Treatment

Varithena treatment involves the injection of a specialized foam into affected veins. This foam displaces blood within the vein and induces controlled damage to the vein walls, leading to its closure. Varithena is particularly effective in managing symptoms associated with unhealthy veins, offering relief and improving overall vein health.

Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT)

Employing advanced technology, EVLT focuses on closing off problematic veins, redirecting blood flow through healthier vessels. This minimally invasive procedure harnesses laser energy to seal the affected vein, mitigating symptoms and promoting improved circulation.

Blood Clot Awareness Month in March

March marks a significant observance in the United States known as Deep-Vein Thrombosis Awareness Month, a dedicated public health initiative aimed at shedding light on this prevalent medical condition.

Blood clots affect up to 900,000 Americans annually, and complications from these clots lead to one person losing their life every six minutes in the United States. Despite its prevalence, 74% of Americans have little or no awareness about DVT.

In alignment with DVT Awareness Month, March is also recognized as Blood Clot Awareness Month (BCAM), providing a pivotal opportunity to disseminate life-saving information about blood clots on a broader scale.

But here’s where you can make a difference. During Blood Clot Awareness Month, there are actionable steps you can take to contribute to the cause:

  • Share Your Blood Clot Story
  • Spread the Word on Social Media
  • Participate in initiatives like the 100,000 Reasons Challenge
  • Urge Congress to Support Blood Clot Awareness Funding
  • Donate or Fundraise for Blood Clot Awareness Month

Your active participation can play a crucial role in transforming the landscape of blood clot awareness. Together, we can help create a  future where knowledge and understanding lead to the prevention and early intervention of blood clot-related issues.

Vein Specialist in Middle Tennessee

DVT is a serious medical condition that necessitates the expertise of a vein specialist. At The Vein Centre, our commitment to patient-centric care and experienced vascular surgeons ensures effective and tailored solutions for both the prevention and treatment of DVT, varicose veins, spider veins, and related concerns.

With a focus on timely intervention through minimally invasive treatments, we prioritize your health and well-being, providing a stress-free experience at every visit. If you have been told you need vascular surgery, are curious about a vascular screening, or are concerned about the health of your veins, click here to find a vein specialist near you.