If blood doesn’t beat, it can beat you up. More than 200,000 people develop deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the United States every year. This occurs when a blood clot develops in a deep vein, generally in the leg. 

Some people don’t know they have it until they go to the hospital. One way to avoid a lengthy hospital stay is to study the DVT warning signs. 

What are the risk factors of DVT? What are the most common symptoms that people have when their veins clog? What are signs that DVT is getting worse? 

Answer these questions and you can keep your blood flowing through all parts of your body. Here is your quick guide. 

Risk Factors

Deep vein thrombosis is a rare condition. Many risk factors lead to it, but a person usually has to have several risk factors at once to develop it. 

Most people who have it are older than 60. Older people tend to have problems with their blood circulation, which increases the risk of a blood clot. 

Nearly everyone who has it lives a sedentary lifestyle. They sit in place for hours on end, which reduces the strength of their heart. A clot can form during one day, while a person is sitting on an airplane or in a car for hours straight. 

People with pre-existing heart conditions are at a higher risk. People with cancer, lung disease, and obesity can also develop blood clots throughout their bodies. They should familiarize themselves with the warning signs of DVT and take a test for DVT if they feel symptoms of DBT.

Swollen Legs

A blood clot can form in one leg but not the other. Within the affected leg, the muscle and tissues may begin to swell.

Blood might pool behind the clot, causing the vein to swell outward. Tissues that lack blood may start to swell as they die. Fluid can also build up in the leg. 

The swelling may not be noticeable unless the person looks at their bare leg. Swelling may occur by itself or alongside other symptoms. 

In rare cases, swelling will occur in both legs. This may be because clots have formed in both legs or in the spine. 


Deep vein thrombosis may cause intense pain. The pain may start in the calf, which may or may not have the blood clot in it. 

The pain may feel like cramping. A person may assume that they pulled their muscle while moving in their seat. They may also feel sore, prompting them to rub their leg. 

As time passes, the pain might get worse. It may feel like cramping, or it may feel like stabbing or searing. Someone may feel the need to go to a doctor because their pain is so bad. 

The pain may radiate to another part of the body. Someone may feel pain in their stomach, arm, or chest. 

This may be a sign that the blood clot has broken off and stuck somewhere else. It can endanger organ function and cause a medical emergency. An individual who feels pain elsewhere should seek medical attention. 

Redness and Discoloration

After a period of time, the leg may begin to grow red. Someone may think they have burned their skin or rubbed it against something. 

The skin can also become blue akin to a bruise. This may be a sign that a blood vessel close to the skin has clotted. 

Itching or chafing may accompany the discoloration. The entire leg may become discolored, including areas that receive blood. 

Feelings of Warmth

The leg may become warm due to the warm blood stuck inside the leg. Someone may feel like their leg is burning or on top of a heater. 

Moving around may alleviate the feelings of warmth. But the feelings may come back because the clot remains in place inside the leg. 

Difficulty Breathing 

Difficulty breathing is a late-stage symptom in DVT. It occurs because the blood clot breaks into the lung and causes lung tissues to die. 

Someone may experience a bad cough that won’t go away. When they cough, they feel pain in a particular lung or throughout their chest. 

A person may cough up blood or phlegm. This is a sign that their lung tissue is getting damaged.

A blood clot in the lung is a medical emergency. Someone who experiences a bad cough after having leg pain needs to go to the emergency room. 

Vision Problems

Vision problems are another late-stage warning sign. The vision can become cloudy or blurry. Someone may not be able to focus on things, especially bright lights. 

Feelings of weakness and seizures may accompany vision problems. These are signs that a blood clot has developed inside the brain. 

A person with a blood clot in their brain is at significant risk for a stroke. They may die if the clot continues. Their doctor can break the clot up using drugs and prevent brain cells from dying.

The Most Common DVT Warning Signs 

Everyone should be aware of DVT warning signs. Risk factors for the condition include old age, a sedentary lifestyle, and heart problems. 

Most people experience swelling in their legs and pain akin to a cramp. The skin may become red and warm as blood stays in place. 

As the condition becomes worse, the symptoms become worse. If a blood clot breaks into the lung, someone may experience a bad cough. If it breaks into the brain, they may suffer from vision problems. 

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