Blood clots are aggregates of blood that have the consistency of a gel. They are advantageous when they form in reaction to an injury or a cut, sealing the wounded blood artery and thereby preventing bleeding.
Certain blood clots grow inside your veins for no apparent cause and do not disintegrate on their own. These may require medical treatment, particularly if they are located in your legs or more essential areas, such as your lungs or brain. Numerous factors can contribute to the formation of this type of blood clot.
When a blood clot forms in an abnormal location, it is referred to as a thrombus. The clot may remain stationary in one location (called thrombosis) or may travel through the body (called embolism or thromboembolism). Moving clots are particularly deadly. Blood clots can occur in either the arteries (arterial clots) or veins (venous clots).
Common Symptoms of a Blood Clot
The symptoms of a blood clot and the suggested therapy vary according to the location of the clot in your body and the potential for damage. Knowing the most common blood clot symptoms and risk factors might assist you in detecting and possibly preventing this potentially fatal illness.
- Abdomen: Severe abdominal discomfort and swelling may indicate the presence of a blood clot in your abdomen. These symptoms may also be associated with a gastrointestinal virus or food poisoning.
- Arms or legs: A blood clot in the leg or arm may feel painful or tender to the touch. Swelling, redness, and warmth are other common signs of blood clots.
- Brain: A blood clot in the brain can cause a stroke. It may produce an intense headache and other symptoms such as sudden difficulties speaking or seeing.
- Heart or lungs: Although a blood clot in the heart is less common, it can still occur. Your chest may hurt or feel heavy as a result of a blood clot in the heart. This can result in a heart attack. Other possible symptoms include dizziness and shortness of breath. A blood clot in the lungs can cause chest pain, difficulty breathing, and sometimes can lead to coughing up blood.
Risk Factors for Blood Clots
Factors that can contribute to the formation of bothersome blood clots, as well as dangerous conditions related to blood clots, include the following:
- Age, especially if you’re over 65 years old
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Family history of blood clots
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Heart failure
When To See The Doctor
Diagnosing a blood clot solely on the basis of symptoms is extremely challenging. According to the CDC, over half of persons who have DVT exhibit no symptoms. That is why it is best to contact your physician if you believe you may have one.
Symptoms that appear out of nowhere are particularly alarming. If you suffer any of the following, contact your local emergency services immediately:
- Cough that produces bloody sputum
- A fast heartbeat
- Difficult or painful breathing
- Chest pain or tightness
- Pain extending to your shoulder, arm, back, or jaw
- Sudden weakness or numbness of your face, arm, or leg
- Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding speech (aphasia)
- Sudden changes in your vision
Your doctor or other healthcare professional will be able to determine if there is cause for concern and may refer you for additional testing to ascertain the precise cause. In many cases, a noninvasive ultrasound will be the first step. This test will generate an image of your veins or arteries, which will aid your physician in diagnosing you.