When a vein becomes inflamed, this condition is usually called Phlebitis. The inflammation may cause discomfort and swelling.
When the inflammation is caused by a blood vessels clot or thrombus, it is called thrombophlebitis. Thrombophlebitis usually occurs in leg blood vessels or veins, but it may also affect the veins in the hands.
Superficial phlebitis impacts blood vessels on the surface of the skin.
The situation is rarely serious and usually resolves with local treatment of the inflammation with warm compresses and anti-inflammatory medications.
Sometimes this can be associated with strong deep vein thrombophlebitis and medical evaluation may be needed.
Phlebitis in the deep vein is referred to as deep vein thrombophlebitis (or DVT, deep vein thrombosis) impacts the blood vessels located deeper in the hands and feet.
Blood clotting (thrombi) that form may embolize or break off and travel to the lungs. This is a potentially life-threatening situation called pulmonary embolism.
Self-care at home can be accomplished for superficial phlebitis by taking the following steps.
- Apply a warm compress to the affected area.
- Ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory medication may help lessen the inflammation and discomfort of superficial phlebitis.
- Prescription leg compression stockings (knee or thigh high) improve blood vessels circulation and may help to relieve discomfort and inflammation, and decrease the risk of developing DVT.
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