What is thrombosis?

Woman sitting on couch with compression socks and coffee.

A deep venous thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in a blood vessel. Blood clots usually occur in the bone vessels, but can also occur elsewhere in the body, for example in the arms. The most common cause of how a blood clot originates is immobility. A complication can occur when part of the blood clot breaks down and travels to the lungs (pulmonary embolism). This is usually prevented if you are given anticoagulation treatment. A DVT is a blood clot that forms in a deep leg vein. Veins are blood vessels that bring blood to the heart. Deep veins in the legs are the larger veins that go through the muscles of the calf and thighs. This is therefore not about the veins that are visible just below the skin, nor about varicose veins. If you have a DVT, the blood clot completely or partially blocks the blood clot. In addition to DVT, there is also arterial thrombosis. This type of thrombosis is very dangerous, since the thrombosis is in an artery. This means that the plug can just shoot at important organs, such as the heart. If such a plug or clot comes loose, things can go wrong. Arterial thrombosis can therefore be taken very seriously.

Thrombosis occurs regularly, so 11 people get thrombosis every hour. Partly for this reason there is also a World Thrombosis Day. This is every year on October 13. In this way, the Thrombosis Foundation wants to draw attention to thrombosis and realize a better future for thrombosis patients.

    Why do blood clots form in the veins of the leg?

    Normally the blood flows quickly through the veins, and in principle does not coagulate. The circulation in the veins of the legs is stimulated by moving them, because the contraction of the muscles "pinches" the veins. Sometimes a DVT is created for no demonstrable reason. Thus, thrombosis sometimes arises randomly. However, the following situations can increase the risk of a DVT:

    Immobility ensures a slow blood flow in the veins. Slowly flowing blood will solidify sooner than normal flowing blood.

    A surgical procedure where you sleep for more than 1 - 1.5 hours is the most common cause of a DVT. The legs are calmed when you are under anesthesia, because the muscles in your body are temporarily paralyzed. The blood can then flow very slowly through the leg veins, causing a clot to occur faster.

    1. Long journeys by plane, train or bus / car can entail a slightly increased risk. This is because you usually sit still and therefore do not exercise much.
    2. Pregnancy increases the risk. About 1 in 1,000 pregnant women have a DVT while they are pregnant, or within six months of giving birth.
    3. Obesity also increases the risk.

    What are the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis?

    A DVT usually develops in a deep vein in the calf. The most common symptoms of DVT are:

    1. Calf pain and sensitivity.
    2. A swollen calf.
    3. Color and temperature changes of the calf. Blood that normally flows through the blocked vein is sent to the outer veins. The calf can then become warm and red.

    How can support stockings help with deep venous thrombosis?

    Most people who develop a DVT are advised to wear support stockings. This treatment has been shown to greatly reduce the risk of recurring DVT, and may also reduce the risk of post-thrombotic syndrome. The treatment of thrombosis can therefore consist of wearing support stockings. You must wear the stockings every day for at least two years. If a post-thrombotic syndrome nevertheless develops, it may be advisable to wear the stockings for more than two years.

    Please note: after a DVT you must first consult with your doctor which support stocking is best for you.

    If you are advised to wear support stockings, you should wear them immediately after getting up until you go to bed. The pressure of the stocking helps prevent fluid from seeping into the calf tissues from the outer veins that transport the extra-diverted blood after a DVT. The stocking reduces or prevents the calf from swelling. This reduces a lot of inconveniences and reduces the risk of skin ulcers.

    STOX Energy Socks has developed a support stocking with modern design & comfortable materials. The Bergman Kliniek has been using these stockings for more than 5 years.

    In summary

    1. The main cause of DVT is immobility - especially during or after surgery.
    2. The most serious complication of DVT is a pulmonary embolism (PE), where part of the blood clot breaks down and travels to the lungs. This can result in death. Persistent calf complaints can occur after a DVT. Treatment greatly reduces the risk of the two above-mentioned complications.
    3. Treatment may include anticoagulation, elevating the leg, moving around a lot and wearing compression stockings. Prevention is important if you are at increased risk of DVT - for example, during prolonged surgery or when traveling long distances.
    4. Thrombosis stockings effectively contribute to the reduction of thrombosis.

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    Niek van Spronsen

    Niek has been part of the STOX Energy Socks team since 2022, writing informative and inspiring articles about compression socks, sports, health, and nutrition. With a passion for an active and healthy lifestyle, Niek shares valuable tips and advice to help athletes and health-conscious readers improve their performance and well-being.

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