There are two conditions that affect the legs and treated by vein doctors. These are blood clots and cellulitis. The latter can be deadly if a clot dislodges itself and travels to the lungs. Likewise, cellulitis can be a life-threatening condition if it affects your lymph nodes and bloodstream; it is a bacterial infection that irritates the skin. Whether you have deep vein thrombosis (blood clots) or cellulitis, you will require the assistance of the best vein doctor NYC. This physician has adequate training on how to diagnose conditions that affect our blood vessels, especially the veins. So, read on to know the cause of cellulitis in legs and the reasons why blood clots form. We will discuss each of the two conditions at a time to ease your understanding.
What is deep vein thrombosis or DVT?
It is a condition in which a clot forms in one of the major deep veins of the lower leg, thigh, pelvis or arm. When there is a clot, blood circulation in the affected vein is automatically blocked. This stops the blood from reaching the heart, causing acute pain, warmth and swelling in the affected part of your body. DVT is common in leg veins and it is known to cause irritation—thrombophlebitis. If it gets so severe such that the clot embolizes (breaks loose), it can travel via the bloodstream and block your pulmonary arteries in the lung.
Then pulmonary embolism or PE can result, which can be deadly. A DVT-related complication like PE affects around nine hundred thousand people in the U.S every year, according to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). So it is important to know the symptoms of DVT and get blood clot ultrasound leg images the soonest possible.
Symptoms of DVT
Prior to seeing the best vein doctor NYC, it is important to check if you have signs and symptoms of this problem. Though it can affect both legs, it is commonly noted in just one leg. Since the clot obstructs the blood circulation, it causes inflammation and these other symptoms:
- Slow development of pain
- The affected area feels warm to the touch
- Swelling around the affected part of your leg
- Redness where there is a vein obstruction
- When bending your foot, the pain may get worse
- Leg cramps at night, mostly, especially in the calf area
- Whitish or bluish skin staining.
Note that you can have a clot in your deep vein and not have a single symptom.
Why do people develop DVT in legs?
There are a number of factors that can increase your risk of developing a blood clot in the vein and require the services of the best vein doctor NYC. These include the following:
- Trauma or a health disorder that damages the inner structures of a blood vessel
- A condition called hypercoagulability. This is when your blood is much more likely than usual to clot
- Partial or complete blood flow blockage that changes the normal way the blood circulates.
There also those things we do on a daily basis that can make us more prone to DVT. First, if you sit down for several hours during air travel, road travel or when working, you can develop a clot in the leg. Additionally, people who must take a bed rest or stop moving due to a serious injury, disease or surgery can develop clots. The risk is even higher if you go through an orthopedic surgery of the knee, hip or leg or get operated on your stomach, heart or another sensitive internal organ. Have you had an injury to a lower body part and have sustained a fracture of the hip, leg or thigh bone? Do you have obesity, cancer, or heart disease?
If yes, your risk for DVT is higher. The same applies to those who are pregnant or new mothers or ladies that have been put on estrogen therapy or contraceptive pills. Being at an altitude of greater than fourteen thousand feet increases your DVT risk, as well as having varicose veins or vasculitis. The best vein doctor NYC can also confirm that being of advanced age and having rarely inherited genetic disorders that cause changes in given blood clotting factors can put you at risk of having blood clots in legs. Some people who develop SVT also get affected by DVT or PE.
This is because SVT or superficial venous thrombosis that entails clots that form very close to the skin surface may lead to DVT and/or pulmonary embolism. This seldom happens, but it is not impossible. There are people who have severe organ failure or an infection that causes blood clotting to happen wrongly. A good example is DIC (Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation). Finally, anyone who has ever had deep vein thrombosis is slightly likely to have it again within a decade. So, if you suspect that you have this problem, the right thing is to consult the best vein doctor NYC before it is too late.
When to get blood clot ultrasound images from your doctor
It is good to call your best vein doctor NYC as soon as you suspect a blood clot. While DVT might go away on its own, it has fatal consequences if a clot reaches the lung’s arteries. In fact, patients with swollen legs or leg pain are taken to the emergency room as soon as the best vein doctor NYC suspects a blood clot in their legs. If it causes PE, you might develop chest pain, difficulty when breathing, and fainting among other symptoms. So your doctor will ask about your symptoms and then diagnose your condition accordingly.
One thing you should know is that doctors don’t have any blood test that can detect DVT. What they can offer you are blood clot ultrasound images of your leg. A few of the imaging tests they provide are:
- Doppler ultrasound- Done with high frequency sound waves, Doppler ultrasound can reveal what is inside our big proximal veins.
- Venography – The most accurate test, venography is a dye test that reveals the exact blockage of blood circulation by a blood clot.
- CT scan – This kind of X-ray can detect clots and produce cross-section images of your veins.
- Impedance Plethysmography – It is a rare test that doesn’t detect blood clots more accurately than the ultrasound.
Once you go to the hospital, the best vein doctor NYC will determine the right tests to perform on you. Then if DVT is confirmed, he or she will decide on how to best treat you.
The condition is treated via blood thinners or anticoagulation drugs. These are able to stop further blood clotting and reduce the odds that the clot will embolize and travel to the lung where it can cause PE. However, it is good to note that all people are not put through same medications. An individual DVT case is treated uniquely. Some patients are taught how to inject themselves with heparin at home and asked to come back for regular blood testing.
Pregnant women and those living with severe illnesses are admitted immediately. Sometimes the inferior vena cava filter may be used, especially if anticoagulation medications can cause more damage than good. The best vein doctor NYC might recommend wearing compression stockings to prevent post-thrombotic syndrome that causes the affected leg to swell and hurt badly.
This is a rather common condition that is caused by bacteria and affects skin. So the skin becomes swollen, red, warm to the touch and painful. Before you know the cause of cellulitis in legs, it is good to know that it affects mostly the skin on the lower legs, but it can affect your other body parts too. There only needs to be a bruise or crack through which bacteria can enter. If left uncured, cellulitis can attack your lymph nodes and spread to the bloodstream. In such situations, it can threaten your own life.
What signs appear?
In most cases, cellulitis affects just one side of the body and produces the following symptoms:
- Tenderness and pain
- Reddening of the affected area of the skin
- Red spots
- Skin dimpling
As we explore the cause of cellulitis in legs, note that we are not discussing cellulite. The two are different conditions and the latter is harmless just like stretch marks.
What is the cause of cellulitis in legs?
This health problem affects the skin when bacteria find their way in. These are staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria. They enter the areas of skin that tend to have wounds. Examples are where you have cuts, bruises, pierced wounds, surgical wounds, ulcers, athlete’s foot or dermatitis. Moreover, animal bits can be a cause of cellulitis in legs and if there are areas of your lower legs that have become dry, flaky and swollen, there is a risk too. There also some factors that might increase your risk of cellulitis. These include the following:
- Having a weak immune system – It is rather obvious that when you are infected with some diseases like HIV/AIDs, diabetes and cancer, your immune system becomes weakened. In such a situation, you become more prone to all kinds of diseases and so having a weakened immune system can be a cause of cellulitis in legs.
- Trauma – Do you currently have a leg fracture, cut, scald or scrape? If yes, there are high chances that bacteria could infect these wounds if you aren’t careful. An injury is therefore a possible cause of cellulitis in legs.
- A prior case of cellulitis – If you have ever treated cellulitis previously, chances are that you can develop and treat it again.
- Being overweight might make you susceptible to developing not just cellulitis but also vein disease.
- Lymphedema- This is chronic swelling of arms and legs and the condition may call for surgical treatment. This condition is a cause of cellulitis in legs.
- Having common skin conditions – Some people are prone to ordinary skin conditions such as shingles, athlete’s foot and eczema. These infections irritate the skin and causes entry points for bacteria. As they make you prone to a bacterial infection, these conditions are a major cause of cellulitis in legs.
When should you see the best vein doctor NYC?
One thing you should do is to identify and cure cellulitis before it becomes a crisis. Otherwise, the condition could spread quickly all through the body. It is not communicable though. So, seek immediate medical help if you notice the following:
- Red, swollen and tender rash.
If your rash seems to be worsening and spreading fast to other areas, yet it is not accompanied by fever, call best vein doctor NYC such as Dr. Michael Nguyen as soon as possible. The disease can cause severe complications when it is left untreated and can recur severally. Due to this, it can cause serious damage to the lymphatic drainage system and chronic leg swelling. While rare, infection can attack the fascial lining, which is a deep layer of tissue, and become a medical emergency. Now you know the cause of cellulitis in legs, how can we prevent it?
How to prevent Cellulitis?
If you get treated successfully, it is necessary to prevent another occurrence in future. But if this happens, you will be put on antibiotics. If you want to keep yourself free from this infection, always clean your open wounds daily. Use a recommended antibacterial soap and clean water to gently clean your wounds because we have noted that these can allow bacteria to enter and are a cause of cellulitis in legs. Always dress your wounds as indicated by your physician to keep bacteria away.
If there are signs of infection, including pain, redness and drainage, call your doctor immediately. Always inspect your feet to make sure there are no signs of injury as this will help you detect any cause of cellulitis in legs early. These tips are going to be so important if you live with diabetes and have leg ulcers because of it. Where there is dry, flaky skin on legs, apply a moisturizer to lubricate the areas and prevent development of cracks. If you have athlete’s foot, eczema or another skin infection, have it cured by the best vein doctor NYC right away.