Let’s Get Ahead of Deep Vein Thrombosis

Let’s Get Ahead of Deep Vein Thrombosis

This month marks Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) awareness month, providing an ideal opportunity to discuss the best ways for maintaining vein health and preventing DVT. A study conducted in 2022 found that individuals with varicose veins faced a fourfold increase in the risk of DVT (Li, et al., 2022) which is why it’s important to take them seriously!

Deep Vein Thrombosis is the most serious and potentially fatal complication in the world of veins, where blood clots start to form in a vein deep in the body.

Around 60,000 people in the UK develop DVT every year (British Heart Foundation, 2017) and if left untreated, it can lead to complications such as:

1. Pulmonary embolism: Where a blood clot travels to the lungs, blocking blood flow.

2. Chronic venous insufficiency: When the valves in the veins that help blood flow back to the heart become damaged or weakened.

3. Post-thrombotic syndrome: Which can develop after DVT and occurs when the valves in the affected veins are damaged by the clot.

What are the signs of DVT?

Whilst awareness of the signs of DVTs might not be very common, it is important to be aware of what to look out for, that’s why we’ve compiled a rapid-fire list to help you keep an eye out:

1. Swelling in the affected leg, typically in one leg but sometimes in both legs

2. Pain or tenderness often starting in the calf and feeling like cramping or soreness

3. Warmth in the affected area

4. Red or discoloured skin on the leg

5. Enlarged veins that are more visible, especially if the clot is close to the skin’s surface

What are the ways to prevent DVT?

Preventing DVTs does not need to be complicated! It often involves minimising risk factors and taking preventive measures, especially if you are at higher risk due to surgery, immobility, or other medical conditions.

Here are some of the ways to keep your veins healthy:

1. Stay active:

Engage in regular physical activity, especially if you have a sedentary lifestyle. Exercise helps to improve blood flow and reduces the risk of blood clots.

2. Move around:

If you’re sitting for long periods whether it’s during travel or desk work, take regular breaks to stretch and move your legs.

3. Maintain a healthy weight:

Being overweight or obese increases the risk of DVT. Aim for a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise.

4. Stay hydrated:

Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration which can contribute to blood clot formation.

5. Quit smoking:

Smoking damages blood vessels and increases the risk of blood clots.


Staying vigilant for the signs of DVT and adopting preventive measures are essential steps in maintaining vein health and reducing the risk of serious complications.

If you’re ever worried about experiencing some of the symptoms of DVT, please seek medical advice or support.


Li, R. et al.(2022) Varicose Veins and Risk of Venous Thromboembolic Diseases: A Two-Sample-Based Mendelian Randomization Study. Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine . Available at: (Accessed:2024).

Chang S,Huang Y, Lee M, et al. (2018) Association of Varicose Veins With Incident Venous Thromboembolism and Peripheral Artery Disease. JAMA;319(8):807–817.doi:10.1001/jama.2018.0246

British Heart Foundation (2017) New hope for deep vein thrombosis patients. Available at:

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