Blood clot help heal both internal and external wounds in the body. However, they can be risky when they form inappropriately inside the veins and disrupt the blood flow. Read on to know more about blood clots, their symptoms, causes, and if they pose any risk to your health.
What are blood clots, and how do they form?
When a clump of blood loses its liquid state to become semi-solid or gel-like, it can be called a blood clot.
Immobile blood clots are generally harmless, but they can potentially harm your body when they start moving. Blood clots can cease the blood flow if they start moving from your veins to your heart or your lungs, which is a medical emergency.
- Arterial clot: When blood clot occurs in an artery, it is called an arterial clot. Arterial clot causes symptoms immediately, which include severe pain, paralysis of parts of body, or both. These symptoms need emergency treatment as it can lead to stroke or a heart attack.
- Venous clot: It is a blood clot that occurs in a vein. Venous clots builds up more slowly over time. However, these clots can still be life-threatening. The most severe type of venous clot is known as Deep Vein Thrombosis.
Deep Vein Thrombosis is the most common type of blood clot that develops in your veins but can also occur in your lungs, pelvis, arms, and brain. It is estimated that every year there are about 3000 cases of blood clots in India.
What are the symptoms of blood clots?
Prolonged sitting and bed rest, smoking, obesity, cancer, long periods, birth control, or hormonal pills are few causes of developing blood clots. You cannot find out if you have a blood clot without medical intervention. However, few noticeable and visible symptoms are present in the human body that can indicate the existence of such clots, such as:
- Discoloration in a specific area of your skin accompanied by swelling, pain, a warm sensation, and tenderness are the symptoms of a blood clot in the leg or arms.
- Shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and feeling a heaviness on your chest are the symptoms of blood clots in your heart. This kind of clot is dangerous because it can cause a massive heart attack if not treated immediately.
- Abdominal pain, cramps, and swelling could be the symptoms of blood clots in your abdomen. However, these are also the symptoms of food poisoning or gastrointestinal infection.
- Sudden difficulty in your vision and talking ability, with severe headache can indicate that you might have a blood clot in the brain. These clots can also be potentially dangerous because they can lead to strokes.
- Breathing problems, coughing up blood, sudden shortness of breath (without physical activity), palpitations, chest pain, and rapid heart rate are the symptoms of blood clots in your lungs. It is called pulmonary embolism.
When to see a doctor?
Almost 50% of people in the world are not aware that they have internal blood clots because of the frequent asymptomatic nature of the condition. Nevertheless, if symptoms, including chest pressure, sudden shortness of breath, and difficulty in breathing occur, you must call your doctor. They are likely to conduct a noninvasive ultrasound to determine if you have a blood clot. Upon investigation, they will start your treatment plan.
Risk Factors Linked with Blood Clots
Some risk factors raise the risk of a blood clot. For instance, a recent hospital stay (particularly one that is long or related to a major surgery) increases your risk of a blood clot.
Other common factors that can put you at a moderate risk for a blood clot are:
- Age, especially if you are above 65 years
- Long travel, including any travel trip that made you to sit for more than 4 hours at a time
- Being sedentary or bed rest for long periods of time
- Some birth control pills
- A family history of blood clots
Preventive measures to stop the blood clots from forming
You can prevent blood clots from happening if you follow these measures, such as:
- Stay active and exercise regularly
- Consuming less salt
- Do not keep sitting or standing for long hours
- Lose weight according to doctor’s instructions
- Wear loose-fitting clothes
- Keep your feet raised when you are sleeping
- Drink water and stay hydrated
- If you are pregnant, avoid prolonged bed rest and sitting
- Keep elevating your legs 6 inches above your heart level as it can help your body circulate blood naturally
What are the possible treatment options?
The most common treatment option for getting rid of blood clots is blood thinners. Some anticoagulant drugs are injected or, the person is required to swallow them. Get in touch with a doctor, who will prescribe medications suitable to your condition.
Inserting vena cava filters into your large vein or in your abdominal area is also an option and is prescribed if you cannot take the blood thinner medications.
Finally, compression stockings are doctor-prescribed socks that can prevent blood pooling and clotting. If you wear these socks for at least 2 hours a day, the chances of the swelling probability of deep vein thrombosis will likely disappear.
We have addressed here how blood clots form, which body parts they form, and their possible symptoms. Abdominal cramps, shortness of breath, sudden difficulty in your vision; can be various symptoms of blood clots. Thereby, it is recommended that you visit your doctor if you happen to encounter any of these symptoms. If blood clots are untreated, they can show a higher prevalence of stroke and heart attacks. That is why always staying hydrated, eating less salt, and wearing loose-fitting garments are some preventive strategies you can follow to avoid blood clots. In case of any query, call 1860-500-1066 now for booking your appointment at Apollo Hospital.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Which one is more dangerous between deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism?
Pulmonary embolism is a more dangerous type of blood clot because tends to obstruct the entire blood vessel, unlike deep vein thrombosis.
Is physical exercise important for the rehabilitation of blood clots?
If you have already been treated for a blood clot, physical exercise becomes extremely important. It can keep the blood flow natural and active and even prevent further clots to take place.
Can I travel if I have been diagnosed with a blood clot?
You can travel, but try to wear compression stockings as you will be sitting in one position for longer times. Apart from that, try to take short breaks to walk and stretch your legs. Also, change your sitting position too for preventing the worsening of blood clots.