Deep vein thrombosis more common than some cancers: doctor
Published Thursday, March 24, 2016 6:02PM ADT
Last Updated Friday, March 25, 2016 4:17PM ADT
Pam Laffin first noticed signs of c, or DVT, when she was a teenager.
“I saw that my leg had swollen, really big, and it was really, really discoloured, like purple, black,” says Laffin.
Laffin says she knew something wasn't right, so she went to the hospital thinking she'd only be a few hours – it turned into three weeks.
“My clot had actually made a lot of my veins collapse, so when they went for the dye test it was almost impossible to find any,” recalls Laffin.
Laffin started visiting vascular surgeon Dr. Dion Davidson a few years ago, after experiencing a second DVT.
“The clots that we tend to worry about mostly are in the deeper veins, they're bigger veins and those cloths can be more serious, or are usually more serious,” says Dr. Davidson. “It's more common, for example, than things people know a lot more about – like a lot of cancers, probably more common than breast cancer.”
Dr. Davidson says deep vein thrombosis can occur in any deep vein, but they're most commonly found in legs.
He says sometimes there's no symptoms, or, like Laffin, there's swelling, pain, and discolouration.
“So what leads to it mostly is blood that's just sort of sitting there and not flowing it's more, tends towards clotting,” says Davidson.
Dr. Davidson says it’s important, especially during travel, to get up and walk around, which will get your blood flowing.
Sitting for long periods of time can increase risk.
“When I'd had my second bout, which was in 2012, I'd been doing a lot of sitting. I'm a food safety consultant, so I'm here there and everywhere, so I did a lot of sitting for a while,” says Laffin.
Dr. Davidson says early recognition of a DVT is important and the main treatment is to thin the blood.
Blood thinners can help dissolve clots and prevent them from travelling to the patient's lungs.
Laffin sees Dr. Davidson for yearly check-ups and says it's important for her to stay active.
“I'm not supposed to ski or horseback ride, you know, it hasn't really impacted my life a lot, but there is a risk,” says Laffin.
Laffin hopes that, by sharing her story, people will become aware of the risk of deep vein thrombosis and Dr. Davidson says early recognition is the key factor in avoiding serious complications.