Blood clots can spell bad news, especially when they form in your veins, also known as deep vein thrombosis.
According to the NHS, deep vein thrombosis, or DVT for short, affects around one person in every 1,000 in the UK.
Worryingly, the gel-like clumps can travel through your bloodstream to your lungs, where they can block one of your blood vessels, which can be fatal.
Fortunately, Professor Mark Whiteley, leading venous surgeon and founder of The Whiteley Clinic, shared with Express.co.uk the “early” red flag signs of DVT for Vein Health Awareness Week.
DVT usually strikes in a deep leg vein, a larger vein that runs through the muscles of the calf and the thigh, causing the first signs to appear in this area.
The professor recommended monitoring these parts of the leg when scanning for symptoms:
He said: “Classically, DVT presents with a dull aching in the leg, often in the calf and sometimes in the calf and thigh.
“This is often accompanied by swelling of the ankle. In very severe cases, swelling may extend to the thigh.
“There are cases when patients notice swelling but not aching, but this is less common.”
Professor Whiteley added that this is “particularly concerning” if one leg is more swollen than the other as general causes of swelling should give the same amount of swelling to both legs.
Furthermore, he added that patients with varicose veins should be “extra vigilant” when monitoring their legs for a DVT.
If you spot the red flag signs of blood clots in your legs, “it’s important to seek medical attention”, the expert added.
The good news is that many emergency units do a blood test called a “D-Dimer” to screen those at risk.
Professor Whiteley added: “If you suspect you might have varicose veins, you should seek the advice of a venous specialist to get a formal diagnosis and treatment to reduce your risk of complications and DVT in the long term.”