When To See A Healthcare Provider
The immediate effects of a blood clot are nonspecific and can occur due to several different medical reasons.
You should get immediate medical attention if you develop any symptoms that could be associated with a blood clot.
- Swelling of your arm or leg
- Shortness of breath
- Vision changes, trouble speaking, or weakness or sensory changes on one side of the face or body
- Severe abdominal pain
You will likely need diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms. Sometimes the timing may provide clues that a blood clot caused the symptoms, but thats not always the case.
Complications And Risk Factors Associated With Blood Clots
To survive, each cell in the body needs oxygen and glucose, which are supplied by the blood. Ischemia is a lack of blood supply to an area of the body, and it prevents the cells from functioning the way they should. The effects of ischemia may resolve within a few seconds if the blood flow is restored.
If a blood clot continues to block blood flow to an area of the body, an infarction can occur. An infarction is tissue damage that occurs due to insufficient blood supply. It can permanently affect the way an organ functions.
- An infarction in the heart may cause heart muscle damage, which can impair the hearts ability to pump, causing heart failure.
- A brain infarct causes a stroke, potentially with permanent weakness in one side of the body, difficulty speaking, or loss of vision.
- A PE can permanently damage an area of the lung, causing chronic breathing difficulty.
- An intestinal infarction can cause a portion of the intestine to become necrotic , and this would need to be resected , usually with the formation of a colostomy or ileostomy .
- Post-thrombotic syndrome can occur after a DVT, and the blood vessel involved may be susceptible to clots in the future.
Blood Clots And Travel: What You Need To Know
More than 300 million people travel on long-distance flights each year.1 Blood clots, also called deep vein thrombosis , can be a serious risk for some long-distance travelers. Most information about blood clots and long-distance travel comes from information that has been gathered about air travel. However, anyone traveling more than four hours, whether by air, car, bus, or train, can be at risk for blood clots.
Blood Clots and Travel: What You Should Know
This podcast is designed to help people reduce their risk of blood clots during long-distance travel of four hours or more.
Blood clots can form in the deep veins of your legs during travel because you are sitting still in a confined space for long periods of time. The longer you are immobile, the greater is your risk of developing a blood clot. Many times the blood clot will dissolve on its own. However, a serious health problem can occur when a part of the blood clot breaks off and travels to the lungs causing a blockage. This is called a pulmonary embolism, and it may be fatal. The good news is there are things you can do to protect your health and reduce your risk of blood clots during a long-distance trip.
You May Like: What Is Sed Rate Blood Test
Know Your Risk For Blood Clots
Blood clots do not discriminate. They affect people of all ages, race and gender. One of the most important things you can do to prevent blood clots is to know if you are at risk. The risk factors for blood clots include:
- Hospitalization for illness or surgery
- Major surgery, particularly of the pelvis, abdomen, hip, knee
- Severe trauma, such as a car accident
- Injury to a vein that may have been caused by a broken bone or severe muscle injury
- Long-term diseases such as heart and lung conditions, or diabetes
What Are Blood Clots
Blood clots are semi-solid masses of blood. Normally, blood flows freely through veins and arteries. Some blood clotting, or coagulation, is necessary and normal. Blood clotting helps stop bleeding if you are cut or injured. However, when too much clotting occurs, it can cause serious complications.
When a blood clot forms, it can be stationary and block blood flow or break loose and travel to various parts of the body.
There are two different types of clots:
- Arterial clots are those that form in the arteries. Once arterial clots form, they cause symptoms immediately. Because this type of clot prevents oxygen from reaching vital organs, it can cause a variety of complications like stroke, heart attack, paralysis and intense pain.
- Venous clots are those that form in the veins. Venous clots typically form slowly over a period of time. Symptoms of venous clots gradually become more noticeable.
Blood clots can occur in many different parts of the body, each area having different symptoms:
A blood clot can be life-threatening depending on the location and severity.
Recommended Reading: Over The Counter Blood Pressure Pills
What Should You Know About Living With A Higher Risk Of Blood Clots Or If You Have Already Had A Blood Clot
If you are concerned about your blood clot risk in certain situations, such as when you are traveling or after a surgery, your doctor can give you more information on other habits that can help.
If you are able to walk around while you are traveling, you should make sure you do so at least once every couple of hours. If you are traveling by air, your provider might suggest you wear compression stockings. You can do exercises that move your feet and legs while you are sitting.
If you have a blood clot, your provider might suggest that you take anticoagulants for a certain period of time. Some people may need to take them for life. Make sure you understand how you should take this medication and what types of interactions you should avoid. It is important to have regular follow with a provider who is specifically discussing blood thinner medication with you.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
A blood clot can be serious, even fatal. If you know you are at risk for blood clots, you can help yourself by moving around, by eating well and maintaining a healthy weight and following your healthcare providers suggestions on medication and lifestyle changes.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/24/2020.
Your Guide To Preventing And Treating Blood Clots
Blood clots are a serious medical condition. It is important to know the signs and get treated right away. This guide describes ways to prevent and treat blood clots symptoms and medication side effects as well as when to go to the emergency room.
This guide was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality under grant No. U18 HS015898-01.
You May Like: Are Blood Pregnancy Tests More Accurate
How Long Will I Feel Breathless
Its common to feel breathless for a few weeks or months after a pulmonary embolism. In the unlikely event you develop sudden, significantly worsened breathlessness, you should seek urgent medical attention.
If your breathing hasnt returned to its normal state after three months, then your doctor may recommend tests to assess whether a significant amount of clot remains and whether this is putting strain on the right side of the heart.
How Dvt Can Lead To Pulmonary Embolism
Arteries, on the other hand, are muscular, high-pressure vessels that carry oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood from the heart to other parts of the body. When your doctor measures your blood pressure, the test results are an indicator of the pressure in your arteries. Clotting that occurs in arteries is usually associated with atherosclerosis , a deposit of plaque that narrows the inside of the vessel. As the arterial passage narrows, the strong arterial muscles continue to force blood through the opening, and the high pressure can cause the plaque to rupture. Molecules released in the rupture cause the body to overreact and form an unnecessary clot in the artery, potentially leading to a heart attack or stroke. When the blood supply to the heart or brain is completely blocked by the clot, a part of these organs can be damaged as a result of being deprived of blood and its nutrients.
Also Check: How Lower Blood Sugar Quickly
Who Is Most At Risk For Blood Clots
Some risk factors put certain people at higher risk for developing a blood clot.
Blood clots become more common as people get older, especially when they are over age 65. Long hospital stays, surgeries and trauma may significantly increase your risk of blood clots.
Other factors can increase your risk to a lesser degree. You might be more at risk if you:
- Take birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy.
- Have cancer, or have been treated for cancer.
- Have a family history of blood clots, or a specific condition, such as Factor V Leiden disease, antiphospholipid syndrome or polycythemia vera, that makes clots more likely.
- Have coronavirus disease 2019 .
Some factors are based on lifestyle choices. Risks might be higher if you:
- Have overweight/obesity.
- Live a sedentary lifestyle.
- Smoke cigarettes.
Treating Blood Clots Medically
Don’t Miss: Side Effect Of Blood Thinner
How Are Blood Clots Treated
The goal in treating blood clots, especially DVTs, is to prevent the blood clot from getting larger or breaking loose. Treatment can reduce your chances of developing more blood clots in the future.
Treatment depends on where the blood clot is and how likely it is to harm you. Your doctor might recommend:
- Medication: Anticoagulants, also called blood thinners, help prevent blood clots from forming. For life-threatening blood clots, drugs called thrombolytics can dissolve clots that are already formed.
- Compression stockings: These tight-fitting stockings provide pressure to help reduce leg swelling or prevent blood clots from forming.
- Surgery: In a catheter-directed thrombolysis procedure, specialists direct a catheter to the blood clot. The catheter delivers medication directly to the clot to help it dissolve. In thrombectomy surgery, doctors use special instruments to carefully remove a blood clot.
- Stents: Doctors may decide if a stent is necessary to keep a blood vessel open.
- Vena cava filters: In some cases, a person might be unable to take blood thinners, and a filter is put into the inferior vena cava to catch blood clots before they can travel to the lungs.
When Should You Call A Vascular Doctor Versus Going To The Emergency Room
If a blood clot goes unnoticed, it poses the danger of dislodging from your leg and traveling up to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism. The embolism can block blood flow to the lungs, causing permanent damage.
Symptoms you’re experiencing an embolism include chest pain, altered vision, difficulty breathing, and palpitations.
If you’re experiencing extreme pain from a DVT or suspect that you’re suffering from an embolism, go to the emergency room immediately. Vascular doctors should only be called when you notice symptoms early on and aren’t experiencing any extreme pain.
Also Check: Blood Pressure Chart For Pediatrics
Medical And Genetic Conditions
Your risk of getting DVT is increased if you have a condition that causes your blood to clot more easily than normal. These conditions include:
- cancer cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy can increase this risk further
- inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis
- thrombophilia a genetic condition where your blood has an increased tendency to clot
- antiphospholipid syndrome an immune system disorder that causes an increased risk of blood clots
Inferior Vena Cava Filters
Although anticoagulant medicines and compression stockings are usually the only treatments needed for DVT, inferior vena cava filters may be used as an alternative. This is usually because anticoagulant treatment needs to be stopped, isn’t suitable, or isn’t working.
IVC filters are small mesh devices that can be placed in a vein. They trap large fragments of a blood clot and stop it travelling to the heart and lungs. They can be used to help prevent blood clots developing in the legs of people diagnosed with:
Read more about preventing DVT when you travel
Read Also: Viagra And High Blood Pressure
Can Turmeric Dissolve Blood Clots
Turmeric Turmeric is a spice that gives curry dishes a yellow color, and it’s long been used as a folk medicine. According to a 2012 study, one of its main active ingredients, curcumin, acts as an anticoagulant. It works to inhibit coagulation cascade components, or clotting factors, to prevent clots from forming.
What Are The Types Of Blood Clot And Their Symptoms
Deep vein thrombosis : A DVT develops when a blood clot forms in one of the veins deep inside your body. They mostly occur in the legs, but you can get a DVT anywhere in your body. The most common symptom is pain and swelling in the affected area, usually your calf or thigh. Sometimes there are no symptoms.
Blood clot in the brain: A blood clot in the brain is called a stroke. The symptoms of a stroke include weakness or drooping in the face, arm or leg, difficulty speaking or understanding, dizziness, blurred vision, severe headache and difficulty swallowing. If you or someone else experiences the signs of stroke, no matter how long they last, call triple zero immediately and ask for an ambulance.
Blood clot in the heart: A blood clot in the heart leads to a heart attack. The symptoms of a heart attack can include chest pain , shortness of breath, feeling weak and light-headed, nausea, a cold sweat, and feeling anxious. If you have any of these symptoms, or if they get worse quickly or last longer than 10 minutes, call triple zero and ask for an ambulance.
Blood clot in the lungs: If the blood clot travels to your lungs, its called a pulmonary embolism. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing up blood, sweating, rapid heartbeat, feeling dizzy and clammy skin. A major pulmonary embolism can be fatal. If you think you may have a pulmonary embolism, go to the nearest emergency department or call triple zero and ask for an ambulance.
Read Also: How Many Season Of Blue Bloods Are There
Problems Caused By Blood Clots
A blood clot can develop in your veins, which carry blood to your heart, or your arteries, which carry blood away from your heart.
- A blood clot in one of the veins deep in your legs is called a deep vein thrombosis .
- If a blood clot in a deep vein breaks off and travels through your bloodstream to your lungs and blocks the blood flow there, it causes a pulmonary embolism.
- A blood clot can also form when the lining in your arteries has thickened making it harder for the blood to flow through. This can cause a heart attack, stroke, or transient ischaemic attack .
What Can I Do To Prevent Blood Clots
You can reduce your risk of clots in your arteries if you:
- lose weight if you are overweight or obese
- drink less alcohol.
If you’re at a high risk of getting a blood clot in your arteries, your doctor may recommend medication to reduce your cholesterol, blood pressure or risk of your blood clotting.
If you are travelling or in hospital, reduce the risk of DVT by wearing compression stockings, moving your feet and legs as much as possible and drinking plenty of water.
Arterial thrombosis NHS Choices, UK, 2017
Recommended Reading: Gas And Blood In Stool
Risk Factors That Contribute To Thrombosis Include:
- A hospital stay
- Major trauma, such as a car accident, fall, or head injury
- Estrogen-containing birth control pills and hormone replacement therapies
- History of heart attack or stroke
- Prior blood clot
- Family history of blood clots
- Genetic or acquired clotting disorders
- Immobility , including:
- Being sedentary, meaning that you sit most of the day and are not physically active
- Traveling for long periods of time
Expert Blood Clot Treatment At Dignity Health
Your blood clot treatment plan is guided by the location of the clot. If the clot is in an artery, emergency treatment is often required. Sometimes a catheter-based procedure to break up or remove the clot is necessary. Other times, clot-busting drugs can be used. For venous clots, your Dignity Health doctor may prescribe blood thinners to help blood flow past the clot and prevent the clot from growing. To prevent the clot from entering your heart or lungs, you may need a procedure to place a filter the large vein that carries blood to your heart. Whether youre concerned about your risk or are showing signs of a blood clot in the Bay Area, trust Dignity Health to quickly provide the care you need. Dignity Health provides emergency care for blood clots in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.
Also Check: Is 126 Blood Sugar High