Thrombophlebitis: Are You at Risk?
Phlebitis (or inflammation of the vein) can occur either on the surface or in deep veins. In superficial veins, the condition is generally not serious and can get better quickly with the right care. For deeper veins, the larger blood vessels deep in the legs are affected. This is called thrombophlebitis, a serious condition in which large blood clots form and risk breaking off and traveling to the lungs. When this happens, it can result in a pulmonary embolism, which can be life-threatening. To learn more about your level of risk for thrombophlebitis, consider the following:
Trauma or injury. If your leg or arm has experienced injury or trauma such as a blow or injury from a car accident, it can injure your underlying vein and trigger pain, discomfort, redness and swelling. Vein trauma causes increased blood flow to the injured area, which causes a blood clot to form in the affected area of the vein.
- Cigarette smoking. When you smoke, you are significantly increasing your risk for developing thrombophlebitis.
- Hormone therapy. Birth control pills, hormone therapy and pregnancy all up your chances of thrombophlebitis, and if you add smoking to the combination, you put yourself at even greater risk.
- Another common risk factor for phlebitis is being immobile for an extended period of time. Your lower leg muscles contract to pump the blood stored in your veins toward your heart. With prolonged inactivity due to obesity, or from long car rides or airplane trips, the blood flow to your veins is inhibited. This can lead to the formation of blood clots and, ultimately, thrombophlebitis.
- If you’ve had a surgical procedure recently, you are at greater risk for developing thrombophlebitis. This goes for any surgery, but it tends to be more prevalent in patients who have undergone orthopedic procedures or surgeries for cancer.
Could you be at risk for thrombophlebitis? Contact Reeder Vein Institute.
For more information about treating vein inflammation, or to learn more about any of the other services we offer, contact us today. You can reach us directly at 972.566.3040 in Dallas or 817.438.7260 in Fort Worth. We look forward to hearing from you!