Symptoms of DVT
Most people don’t have any DVT symptoms. If the blood clot is big you may have a swollen leg, feel some pain and tenderness, and your skin may feel warm and look red. If you do develop these symptoms, please seek urgent medical attention.
If a blood clot moves up and into your lungs it can cause a pulmonary embolism. This is a blockage of a blood vessel in your lungs which can be very serious and sometimes life-threatening.
What can increase the risk of DVT?
DVT has many causes and risk factors, but here we focus on the two main causes that might be putting young, fit and healthy people more at risk.
Sitting for a long time
You’ll perhaps know that when you go on a long-haul flight (four hours or longer), the advice is to get up and move about regularly. This is to prevent DVT. And If you’re now working at home, and perhaps working longer hours, there’s a chance you may not be as active as you were before lockdown. So if you are sitting down for very long periods of time, then it’s a good idea to be aware of this and be more active.
Also, make sure that your working space isn’t too cramped and that you have enough room for your legs.
Dehydration is another factor that can cause DVT. If you’re not getting enough fluids, then it’s time to change that. Aim to drink 1.5 to 2 litres of fluids a day. This is roughly about 8 to 10 glasses (200ml).
A very easy way to check if you’re hydrated enough is to check the colour of your pee. Use our handy guide to make sure you’re fully hydrated. Remember on warm summer days, you will lose more fluid through your sweat, so will have to compensate for this.
DVT prevention tips
Tips for getting more active
- Take breaks throughout your working day. Set reminders on your phone or in your calendar.
- Set boundaries for work and home life. Don’t work past your working hours – talk to your manager if you’ve got too much on your plate.
- Get some daily exercise. Go for a walk or jog before you start work or, do a home workout at lunchtime, or try a HIIT routine once you’ve restarted some regular exercise.
- Do some exercises while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil.
- Take a short break and get some chores done at the same time – watering the plants for example.
- Take five minutes at the end of meetings to get up and stretch.
- Do something active in the evening rather than sitting in front of the TV or gaming. A walk after dinner, for example. Or when you are watching TV, do some exercises in the ad breaks.
- Make a commitment – booking online for a virtual workout or outdoor fitness class. Or making plans with a friend to do something active.
Tips for drinking more fluids
- Put a jug of cold water in the fridge and keep topping up a glass or bottle you keep next to your desk.
- You could put some slices of lemon, lime, orange or cucumber in it to make it more exciting.
- Make a pot of fresh mint tea – all you need is hot water and fresh mint leaves. It’s refreshing and makes for a nice afternoon cuppa.
- Try not to drink fizzy drinks or squash as these have a lot of sugar and will damage your teeth.
- If you do drink squash, choose no added sugar varieties.
- Put a water bottle in your bag or car if you go out.
- A glass of fruit juice can count towards your five a day, but remember it has lots of sugar in it too.
- Get hydrated from the foods you eat! Cucumber, tomatoes and apples are great sources of water-rich foods.
- Make sure to finish a glass of water instead of throwing the leftover bit down the sink.
COVID-19 and DVT risk
There is a possible link between COVID-19 and DVT too. Very early data suggests that DVT could be a potential complication of COVID-19, as doctors have noticed an increase in patients in hospital with coronavirus. However, at the moment there is no published research into the relationship between COVID-19 and DVT. A few theories have been suggested. For example, DVT has been an associated complication with other similar illnesses. But doctors don’t yet know what the exact relationship is between DVT and coronavirus.
How is DVT treated?
DVT is treated with medicines called anticoagulants. These stop clots from forming or stop them from getting bigger. We have more detailed information about treatments on our DVT topic page.