By: Beth Galvin, FOX Medical Team Reporter,

ATLANTA –Yadi Karimi knows he survived something a lot of people don’t. It was a normal day. He was in for a routine, 3-month appointment for chronic back pain. But, this time, Yadi told Dr. Shazad Wada at North Fulton Pain and Spine Center that one of his legs was really hurting.

Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

And if Dr. Wada hadn’t dug deeper, Yadi says, “I’d be dead.  I wouldn’t be here to talk to you.”

Because of his back issues, Yadi says he was used to nerve pain radiating down one leg. But this time, the other leg was hurting and swollen. It felt warm to the touch, and was red. Yadi remembers, “I said, my legs are swollen.  Can you look at it, please?  He said, ‘No problem.'”

Dr. Wada asked Yadi to take off his pants and put on a robe. He says, “I guess the red herring for me was when I did the physical examination.”

Not only was Yadi’s leg swollen, Wada could feel something odd. He says, “I found out he did have a mass in is groin, which was concerning.”

Dr. Wada quickly ordered a CT scan. That’s when he saw it: A huge blood clot. Looking at it on the scan, Wada says, “Right there, you see it, a little piece right there. And then it gets larger, and larger and larger.”

Wada stayed calm. But Yadi says, “I could see it on his face, I could see something was wrong.”

The clot, almost an inch in diameter, stretched all the way from Yadi’s calf up to a major blood vessel in his pelvis. It was about three feet long, Wada says.

They call this a deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. You hear about DVTs in people who take long flights, where they don’t get up and move their legs. A clot forms in a major blood vessel. If it becomes dislodged, or breaks apart, it can travel up to the lungs, which can be deadly. That was Dr. Wada’s concern. The clot looked so big, and so unstable, he says, “At any given moment it could have dislodged and gone into his lungs. And if a clot that large had gone into your lungs, you would lose your life.”

Yadi says that’s when thing began to move really quickly. He remembers, “He said, ‘Let’s just go to hospital,’ in a very calm way, which I deeply appreciate.”

Dr. Wada thinks Yadi’s clot was probably triggered by a combination of his recent car accident and a genetic predisposition to clotting. But a DVT, he says, can happen to anyone.

He says, “It can happen to someone flying on a plane. It can happen to someone after they get into a car accident. It can happen to someone after they had a small surgery… At any given time.”

Doctors used a blood thinner to dissolve Yadi’s clot. And, he’s now fully-recovered, and thankful to the doctor who saw his pain… and dug deeper. Yadi tears up when he thinks about that day.

He says, “Every time I come here, I’m at the point of kissing his hand. He saved my life. I appreciate it. “

The main symptoms of a DVT are pain and swelling, especially in one leg. The leg may feel tender and warm to the touch. And the skin may turn slightly red or blue. If you experience these symptoms, get medical treatment.

If you travel frequently, you can lower your risk of developing a DVT by getting up and moving around every hour or so. If you’re on a plane, walk the aisles and stretch out your legs. If you’re travelling by car, take hourly breaks to walk around for a couple of minutes.