DVT kills 5000 people a year – Here’s how to know if you’re at risk

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) affects thousands of Australians every year and can be a dangerous and life-threatening disease. Clots form in

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) affects thousands of Australians every year and can be a dangerous and life-threatening disease. Clots form in the bloodstream, which can break off and travel through your blood and into your organs, causing blockages in the blood flow. Over 14,000 Australians develop DVT every year, with around 5,000 cases being fatal.

While DVT doesn’t always show symptoms, it’s important to know the warning signs so you have the best possible chance of fighting it off. We’ve broken it down for you below:

Who is most at risk? 

Anyone can develop DVT, but women who are on particular hormone treatments for postmenopausal symptoms are at an increased risk of DVT due to the increased amount of estrogen in their blood. You are also at a higher risk of suffering from DVT if you have recently had surgery, have think blood, are overweight, smoke, or are on a flight.


Swollen legs is one of the most common symptoms of DVT. If you notice swelling around the back of your knee or redness or tenderness on your legs, ankles or feet, head to your doctor for a consultation.

Pulmonary Embolism – when the clot starts to move

This is a particular type of clot that moves into your lungs and blocks blood supply. It can cause low blood pressure, fainting,trouble breathing, a faster heart rate, chest pain, and coughing up blood. If you have any of these symptoms, call emergency services for help immediately.

How to avoid developing DVT

Research shows long-distance travel, a trip lasting more than 4 hours, doubles the risk of developing DVT. This doesn’t just apply to long-haul flights either. Being restricted to a bus, train, or car seat is just as bad. Make sure you get up and move around if you’re on a plane, or be mindful to break a break from the car every couple of hours by pulling over and moving your body around. Keep this in mind throughout your day-to-day life, too. If you spend the majority of your day sitting down, whether it’s at work or at home, make sure you take the time go for a short walk or stretch out your body.

Get a Diagnosis

The best way to manage DVT is to visit your doctor. They will most likely ask you about your medical history and any aspects of your life that could put you at risk of developing DVT, and may perform an ultrasound.

Have you ever suffered from DVT? Did you know the warning signs?

  1. I developed DVT after my hip operation. I didnt realize as my leg was already swollen. A piece of the clot broke off and traveled to my lung. It was very painful and scary and caused me to have other problems.

  2. Anonymous  

    Very painful things to have always been very wary of having another one especially when flying

  3. I have an hereditary condition “resistance to activated Protein C” and found this out after having a DVT many years ago. The condition, compounded with the fact that I was still a smoker then and on HRT caused the clot.

    • I was on HRT for a few months but when my doctor asked about family history of clots, he took me off it. My mother, brother and son have all had clots in the legs which travelled causing them massive problems.

    • Ruth Hourigan , my condition was diagnose by a haematologist with extensive blood tests. I have to have heparin before any prolonged plane or train travel. It might be worth your while to be tested.

  4. I got a DVT on flight back from Honolulu to Sydney. My symptoms were a severe pain in the calf – like I had been kicked in the shin. I now wear surgical stockings whenever I fly long distances.

  5. I had three before I was diagnosed with a blood disorder and now on warfarin for life

  6. I got DVT following surgery. No symptoms except I couldn’t walk 10 feet… Seemingly overnight, though with hindsight it was coming for a couple of weeks…Felt like a goldfish out of water… Gasping but no oxygen, lungs were like the night sky with hundreds of tiny clots – looked amazing!
    Glad it’s over, could’ve be deadly; fortunately I’ve never smoked so my lungs were great filters and stopped larger clots getting to my legs, or brain.

  7. I got a DVT after taking HRT in my leg on warfarin for a couple years Very painful about 10 years ago

  8. But varicose veins, shown in the pic, are not symptoms of DVT. As the name says, it is DEEP vein thrombosis.

  9. Get yourself tested my husband was a clotter like his sister when he had an op on his knee the dr did not give him a blood thinner ,he had a pulmonary embolism nearly died ,leg damaged for life wore a stocking for life & took a blood thinner before flying ,I wanted him to sue for such incompetence by the specialist ,nothing like the medical profession who are careless he did not want to but it changed our lives for ever

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