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 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.


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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.

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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?