Let's talk about deep vein thrombosis, or DVT as we like to call it. What is a DVT? It's a blood clot that's found in the leg. How do you know if you have it? Sometimes it's characterized with pain in the leg, swelling, redness, discomfort. When should you see your doctor if you suspect a DVT? If you notice that one leg is larger than the other, or that you have redness and pain and discomfort, or even shortness of breath or palpitations, it would be a good idea to get checked out by your doctor. Oftentimes it's a very easy diagnosis that involves a blood test. And if the blood test is negative, it essentially can rule out a DVT very quickly. This can be done in an emergency room setting, an urgent care setting or a doctor's office, with results that can be obtained in as low as an hour. If however, your blood test is positive, you might need imaging such as an ultrasound of the leg to determine if there is a DVT present in the leg. If you perform an ultrasound and it rules out a DVT, then we must look for alternative causes of why you might have leg swelling. But if the ultrasound is positive for a DVT, it's very important to initiate treatment right away to prevent complications from it such as a pulmonary embolism, which means that the DVT, the blood clot, has traveled to your lungs.
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