Most of us at one time or another, have probably either known someone with DVT, or been unfortunate enough to end up with one of those ‘clots from hell’ ourselves. Deep Vein Thrombosis or thrombophlebitis as it is sometimes known, is a painful and serious condition and over the last twenty years in particular, drug users have ended up losing limbs, their health and even their lives because of it.
As the Government continues to skimp on providing access to better alternatives to drug treatments, users continue to shoot up substitute substances, often becoming addicted to those as well. Drug users may also have the added problems of their medical treatment often being, how shall we say, ‘less than satisfactory’ and so may miss out on important, even life saving information. So, what is DVT, what’s the treatment, how do you avoid it and if you’ve got DVT – how can you look after yourself with it. This IS NOT something you can sort out yourself. If you think you may have DVT you must see a doctor and in a moment we’ll tell you why.
What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Basically, it means the blockage of a deep vein by a blood clot (called a thrombus or embolus if it is some other foreign material that has caused the blockage), usually localised around the deep veins in the calf but it can extend into the deep veins of the thigh and even beyond, particularly for drug users who inject in the groin. The bigger/more extensive the clot, the more serious the condition becomes. A clot can grow in size and not only block other veins but bits of it can break off and travel or ‘fly’ through the venous system, landing in potentially life threatening areas like the lung, causing difficulty in breathing (becoming fatal if massive) the brain, the blood supply gets cut off and brain cells starve and die producing stokes, the heart causing heart attacks, or even moving towards the spine causing serious infection. It can also occur in the portal vein which conveys blood to the liver. Along with deep veins, the venous system also has superficial or smaller thinner veins which can also become blocked by clots and while this can be associated with DVT, rarely are the two systems blocked at the same time.
If you’d like to read the rest of this article from Black Poppy magazine, click here.