Deep Vein Thrombosis in Men: Warning Signs, How to Prevent It

Deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) is a very scary condition that can come on without warning. It involves the formation of a clot in the lower body, usually the legs. If this clot dislodges and becomes stuck in the heart or lungs, it can be fatal. Immediate treatment is crucial for survival. What do you need to know about DVT to ensure it doesn't happen to you?

While you can't guarantee that you'll never experience DVT, there are some warning signs and things you can do to lessen its likelihood.

Symptoms that may accompany this killer clot:

  • Swelling in the leg. Is your leg suddenly ballooning or changing to purple or blue? This is a red flag.
  • Pain in the calf muscle is another warning sign of a clot.

If the clot has already broken free and traveled to the heart or lungs, you may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, a cough, a fast pulse, sweating, or feeling weak or faint. Obviously, these symptoms are very similar to those of other urgent medical conditions such as heart attack, so don't delay if you feel any of them.

While DVT occurs in both sexes and in people of all ages, there are some conditions that put you at particular risk. Among them: 

  • Sitting for long periods. Do you travel extensively for business? Long hours immobile in an airplane seat puts you at greater risk for DVT. Every couple of hours, get up and move around the cabin. Stretch your legs and get the blood moving. If you're a couch potato, start exercising. Walking is fine-anything that gets you moving lessens your risk.
  • Smoking.
  • Recent surgery or leg injury. You can't necessarily prevent this, but you can be extra vigilant in keeping an eye on your leg afterwards.
  • Prostate cancer. Recent research has discovered that men with prostate cancer, particularly if they've received endocrine therapy as treatment, may be more susceptible to blood clots.

If you suspect you have DVT, see your doctor immediately or go to an emergency room. The diagnosis can be confirmed with ultrasound or magnetic resonance venography. The latter involves magnets, radiofrequency, computers, and/or dyes to help confirm the presence of a clot. If there is a clot, you'll be given anticoagulant medications or thrombolytics, which break up the clot.

To reduce the chances of developing another clot at a later time, you should take the following precautions:

  • Exercise regularly for better circulation.
  • Elevate your legs several times a day to reduce swelling.
  • Wear elastic compression stockings that keep blood from flowing backward in the veins and pooling.



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King's College, London,