Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a form of Venous Thromboembolism (VTE), as is Pulmonary Embolism(PE). VTE and its sub-conditions DVT and PE, are cardiovascular (CV) disorders, and the third most common CV disorder behind Coronary Heart Disease and stroke.

In DVT specifically, blood clots (thrombosis) occur in the deep veins(not visible through the skin) of the body, most commonly in the legs. People with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are particularly vulnerable to developing recurrent DVT.

There has been some debate within the medical community whether diabetes itself is an independent risk factor for DVT, or if DVT results more frequently in connection with other diabetes complications, especially those that require hospitalization and constant inactivity, such as peripheral neuropathy and rheumatoid arthritis. Either way, whether an independent risk factor or a secondary consequence, research has shown that diabetics are nearly 30% more likely to develop recurrent DVT than non-diabetics.

Smoking, inactivity, obesity, dehydration, and being pregnant are also known to be independent risk factors for DVT, as they are for developing type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms of DVT may be mild, such as light pain and redness or warmness of the skin near the thrombosis. DVT may also be asymptomatic. If left untreated, blood clots can sometimes break loose and travel through the bloodstream until they get stuck in the lungs. This cuts off blood flow, and can result in the aforementioned pulmonary embolism(PE), which can be life-threatening. It is important, especially for diabetics, to see their doctors if they observe any symptoms of DVT.

Resources and Further Reading

A study that showed diabetics to be at much higher risk for developing recurrent DVT:

A detailed look at VTE, DVT and PE, and their similarities to Atherothrombosis, as well as causes, treatments and suggested prevention techniques:

A study suggesting diabetes is not an independent risk factor for DVT:

A summary of symptoms and complications of DVT:


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