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How to Spot and Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis

Lots of things can cause pain and swelling in your leg. But if your symptoms stem from a blood clot deep in your leg, it can be dangerous. Blood clots can happen to anyone, anytime. But some people are at increased risk. Taking steps to reduce your chances of a blood clot forming in your veins can help you avoid potentially serious problems.

Blood clots can arise anywhere in your body. They develop when blood thickens and clumps together. When a clot forms in a vein deep in the body, it’s called deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein blood clots typically occur in the lower leg or thigh.

“Deep vein thrombosis has classic symptoms—for example swelling, pain, warmth, and redness on the leg,” says Dr. Andrei Kindzelski, an NIH blood disease expert. “But about 30–40% of cases go unnoticed, since they don’t have typical symptoms.” In fact, some people don’t realize they have a deep vein clot until it causes a more serious condition.

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