When you think of blood clots you probably think of a friend or family who has been hospitalized for having them. Blood clotting is an important process that helps to stop the blood from flowing out of an injury. Platelets and proteins in your plasma work to help stop the bleeding by forming a clot over the injury. Usually, your body will naturally dissolve the clot after the inside of the injury is healed. Sometimes, the clots don’t dissolve and can even form without an obvious injury. These are the clots that can cause dangerous situations and acquire appropriate treatment.
Clots can occur in veins or arteries. Both structures are part of the body’s circulatory system and serve different roles. Veins carry blood, without oxygen, from your body to your heart. They are less flexible and cannot expand or contract. Arteries carry oxygenated blood from your heart out to your body. Arteries are strong, flexible vessels that in fact can expand and contract. There are many conditions that cause harm from blood clots including; DVT, Factor V Leiden, Heart Failure, Pulmonary Embolism, Stroke, and many others.
Deep Vein Thrombosis is the development of a blood clot in one of the deep veins in the leg. The main symptom is swelling in the leg, a feeling of warmth, discolored or red skin, and pain. If you think you may be having DVT, please see a doctor immediately. The Mayo Clinic describes the risk factors as, “an inherited blood clotting disorder, prolonged bed rest, injury, pregnancy, medications, smoking, cancer, and birth control pills.” A major complication would be a pulmonary embolism. Treatment includes blood thinners such as Heparin, Lovenox and Arixtra are injected. You may also be prescribed to wear compression stockings to prevent the swelling of the legs.
A pulmonary embolism is, “when a blood vessel in your lung becomes blocked by a blood clot that traveled there from another part of your body.” A pulmonary embolism is incredibly dangerous and life-threatening. These symptoms include, “sudden shortness of breath, chest pain, feeling lightheaded, rapid pulse, and coughing up blood.” Blood tests, ultrasounds, venography and CT scans can all help to diagnose a pulmonary embolism.
Factor V Leiden
Factor V Leiden is an inherited disease. The genetic mutations cause blood to clot. All of the symptoms of a blood clot are the same, but there is a hereditary reason for why this happens. The risk factor is having a family history of Factor V. A genetic test can reveal if you have a family history, or currently have Factor V Leiden.
When to See A Doctor
The Mayo Clinic suggests seeing a doctor when you develop, “cough that produces bloody sputum, fast heartbeat, lightheadedness, painful breathing, chest pain, sudden weakness or numbness of your face, arm, or leg, difficulty understanding speech, and sudden changes in vision.”
To avoid getting a blood clot, the Mayo Clinic recommends, “avoid sitting for long period of time, get up and move, drink plenty of fluids when traveling, and to lose weight, lower your blood pressure, quit smoking and regularly exercise.”
If you know of anyone who has had any of these conditions from a blood clot, please comment below.