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General Medical Questions
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Question : Why would a woman at age 50 develop a blood clot in her leg vein?
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Howard LeWine, M.D., is chief editor of Internet Publishing, Harvard Health Publications. He is a clinical instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. LeWine has been a primary care internist and teacher of internal medicine since 1978.

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April 11, 2014
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I assume the clot is in a vein inside the leg rather than on the surface of the skin. Doctors call this a deep vein thrombosis or DVT.

The most common symptoms of a DVT are pain and swelling. The pain can be in the thigh or calf. The swelling can be subtle, involving just the calf. Or with a large clot that happens suddenly, the leg can get very swollen.

Here are the major risk factors for developing a DVT:

  • Having a DVT before
  • Recent trauma
  • Surgery
  • Being bedridden and immobile
  • Active cancer
  • Family history of DVT

Also, taking an estrogen-containing hormone for birth control or for menopausal symptoms increases the risk of a DVT. And a DVT is more likely to happen in an obese person compared to someone of normal weight.

But often no reason can be found. The good news is that treatment is very successful. And newer drugs are making it easier than ever to treat DVT at home.

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