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Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is a blood clot in a vein deep in your body.

Deep vein thrombosis is treatable but can be very dangerous and lead to life-threatening or fatal events, like a stroke or heart attack, if left unchecked.

“DVT can range from asymptomatic completely to causing pain and redness in the legs…even purplish discoloration and swelling,” Dr. Fanny Alie-Cusson, MD, UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, tells WPXI. “The most common risk factors are prolonged immobilization after surgery or injury, or even cross-country flights or road trips.”

Some medical conditions, habits, and events can raise your risk of blood clots. For example, did you know that women taking birth control pills are at greater risk, or that your risk is higher if you just had surgery?

It’s important to understand the factors that make blood clots more likely and to make healthy choices — like losing weight or quitting smoking — to help keep your risks low.

If DVT is left untreated, it can worsen and cause damage to the veins.

“Eventually, these veins will become incompetent and cause chronic leg pain and swelling even up to skin sores and ulcers,” says Dr. Alie-Cusson.

Learn about the signs and symptoms of DVT, how you can identify your risks, the most common treatments and procedures available, and when to talk to your doctor.

Discover the facts about deep vein thrombosis (DVT).