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A phlebitis refers to a localized inflammation of the vein wall. Often it occurs on the superficial veins of the legs, less often there is a phlebitis on the arms. Phlebitis can cause a blood clot. Conversely, a phlebitis may develop from a thrombosis. One distinguishes a superficial thrombophlebitis from an inflammation of the deep veins. It is virtually always associated with thrombosis and is therefore also referred to as deep vein thrombosis or phlebothrombosis. The distinction is important because the therapy and the course of the disease of the two forms differ.
Superficial phlebitis occurs more frequently in connection with varicose veins (varices, varicosis) because the vein wall changes here. Varices form predominantly on the legs, a phlebitis in the leg is therefore a frequent localization. Overall, phlebitis occurs relatively often. They should always be treated by a doctor as they can lead to complications if left untreated.
The symptoms of phlebitis are usually quite characteristic. Often, typical signs of inflammation occur: The affected vein section hurts and is characterized as a red, often swollen strand on the skin from. Overall, the respective limb is usually not swollen. In superficial phlebitis, the skin above the affected vein also feels much warmer. Even slight pressure on the inflamed vessel causes pain. If the thrombophlebitis is caused by a bacterial infection, it may be accompanied by fever.
The treatment of phlebitis depends on its type and severity. In case of superficial thrombophlebitis, the doctor first advises to cool the inflamed area. In many cases, he also puts on a compression bandage. In the case of phlebitis, most people also find it pain-relieving when they lift their legs up. However, unless the doctor speaks against it, you do not have to keep to bed rest and may move as usual.
Treatment for deep vein thrombosis usually requires hospitalization. Here, the treatment aims primarily to prevent pulmonary embolism. Doctors administer anti-coagulant drugs.