Blood clots – Symptoms, Causes, Risk factors and Treatment

BLOOD-CLOTS

What is a blood clot?

What is a blood clot?

Blood clots are gel-like clumps of blood that form as a clot in your veins or arteries. Clotting is a process that involves preventing over bleeding from the body during the injury.

Blood clots can form in certain areas of your body and do not disintegrate on their own. On the other hand, a blood clot can be detrimental to your health.

Blood clots play a vital role in stopping bleeding. However, blood clots can also result in life-threatening conditions like heart attack, stroke or other major medical issues.

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A blood clot is also commonly called a thrombus. The clot formed can either stay in one place or travel to other parts of the body.

Moving clots are very dangerous compared to static clots. In general, arterial clots and vein clots are two of the commonly known blood clots.

Symptoms of blood clot

The symptoms of a blood clot can be determined by where the clot originates in your body and the damage it causes to the body. Knowing the possible reasons for symptoms and causes of blood clots might assist you in detecting or preventing this potentially fatal illness.

Abdomen

Blood clots in the abdomen can result in nausea, pain and vomiting. Any uncertain changes experienced in the abdomen may indicate the presence of blood clots.

Arms or legs

A blood clot in the leg or arm might be unpleasant or uncomfortable and can be caused due to swelling, redness and warmth.

Brain

A blood clot in the brain can result in paralysis of the face, arms and legs. It can also cause speech and vision problems, headaches and dizziness.  If you suspect having a blood clot, consult your doctor right away to avoid confusion.

Hearts or lungs

A blood clot in the heart or lungs limits the blood supply to these organs. In general, blood clots begin in the legs and move up the right side of the heart to the lungs. This is referred to as Deep Vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot formed in the legs.

Blood clots in the heart

Crushing chest pain, perspiration, pain that extends down the left arm and shortness of breath are all possible indications of a heart attack caused by a blood clot in the heart.

Blood clot in lungs

Chest pain, trouble breathing and blood coughing are all symptoms of a blood clot in the lungs.

Causes of Blood Clot

smoking, pregnancy and obesity

The following are the common causes of blood clots:

Prolonged sitting

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein in the body caused by prolonged sitting. DVT is a blood clot formed in big veins of the thigh and leg. However, it can also occur in other regions of the body.

Prolonged bed rest

When people are bedridden, blood clots can form by reducing blood flow to the body. This happens due to improper circulation of blood to the muscles and causes pain to your body.

Pregnancy

Pregnant women’s blood clots usually form in the deep veins of their legs or the pelvic area.

During the first trimester, pregnant women suffer bleeding. Light bleeding is common, but severe bleeding or clots may signal a serious problem. If you experience excessive bleeding, notify your doctor immediately to avoid complications.

Smoking

Smoking increases the risk of blood clots and makes platelets more prone to clump together. Smoking also causes damage to the lining of blood arteries, which is an important reason for clot formation.

Obesity

When compared to those of normal weight, obese people are more likely to develop a thrombus (blood clot in the leg). Obesity leads to persistent inflammation and decreased fibrinolysis (ability to break down clots).

Being tall and obese increases the risk of blood clots, especially in men. Obesity is often related to the causes of deadly blood clots in the deep veins, generally in the legs and pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in the lungs).

Birth control pills

It is said that three to nine women out of every 10,000 women who take birth control tablets will develop a blood clot. One to five women out of every 10,000 who are not pregnant and do not use birth control tablets will develop a blood clot.

A blood clot will occur in 5 to 20 pregnant women out of every 10,000.

People who use newer combination contraceptives including desogestrel, gestodene or drospirenone may have a greater risk of blood clots.

Risk Factors of a Blood clot

Overweight or obese

Overweight and Obesity is said to be the important risk factors for blood clot. Being overweight helps to form an unnecessary blockage in the arteries and may even become fatal in some cases.

Live a sedentary (inactive) lifestyle

Blood clots like Pulmonary embolisms are caused due to inactivity for long periods. For example, prolonged sitting, long bed rest or long trips.

Smoke cigarettes 

Smoking cigarettes increases the risk of blood clots and makes the platelets clump together in a particular area. Smoking also affects the lining of blood arteries and also increases the risk of clot formation.

Diagnosis of a Blood clot

Blood Tests

A D-dimer test is performed to determine whether you have a clotting issue. Through this test, clots formed in the veins, lower legs and other areas of the body can be identified easily.

Ultrasound 

Sound waves are often used to create images of the veins in the body. It is widely used to look for blood clots, especially in the legs’ veins.

Sound waves are reflected by blood in a vein. The ultrasound machine can detect these changes and assess if blood is flowing correctly within a vein.

CT Scan

CT Scan

CT scans are very efficient to use precise, accurate imaging of the body’s blood arteries and obstacles to detect and diagnose blood clots. CT venography and CT pulmonary angiography are the two most used CT scan procedures used by doctors to detect and diagnose blood clots.

Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)

A Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) is used to examine conditions like clots, bulges or a narrowing (stenosis) of the blood arteries.

V/Q scans

A VQ scan can aid in the diagnosis of a pulmonary blood clot. Blood clots can become fatal if left untreated. A VQ scan may be recommended if you have symptoms of a blood clot, such as shortness of breath and sharp discomfort when you breathe in.

Treatments for Blood Clot

Medications

Blood thinners are commonly prescribed medications that prevent blood clots from entering the bloodstream. They play a vital role in preventing the clots from growing larger.

Some of the commonly prescribed medications used for the treatment of blood clots are:

  • Betrixaban
  • Fondaparinux
  • Heparin
  • Dabigatran
  • Edoxaban
  • Warfarin

Compression stockings

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a form of a blood clot, is treated with compression stockings or socks. DVTs usually develop in the upper or lower leg. They have the potential to obstruct the natural flow of blood from the legs to the heart.

Surgery

Surgical thrombectomy is a procedure that involves removing a blood clot from an artery or vein through surgery. Blood flows smoothly through your blood vessels, arteries and veins in normal circumstances.

Vena Cava Filters

A tiny device called an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter can prevent blood clots from travelling up into the lungs. The inferior vena cava is a huge vein in your body’s midsection.

Stents

A stent is a tiny mesh tube that is put into an artery to allow the blood to freely pass to the heart. Blood clotting in a stent can lead to restenosis, which can result in a heart attack.

Prevention of Blood clot

Enjoying regular physical activity

Exercise helps to dissolve blood clots and boost your energy levels. Blood clots are prevented by keeping blood flowing throughout the body.

Regular exercise and shorter workouts are very much enough to stay fit and help to avoid problems like blood clots and heart attacks.

Do not smoke 

Smoking disrupts the surface of blood platelets and makes it simpler for them to clump together. Smoking causes damage to the lining of blood vessel walls, which increases the chances of clot formation.

Eating a healthy diet

It is critical for your health to drink enough water daily. Drinking water will help you avoid dehydration, which can cause sluggish thinking, mood swings, overeating, constipation and kidney stones.

Maintaining a healthy weight

If you are ardently focused on maintaining proper body fitness, you won’t get affected by any problems like blood clots.

Controlling high blood pressure and diabetes

Blood clots can form in the arteries leading to brain damage, restricting blood flow and potentially causing a stroke if blood pressure is too high.

When to See a doctor?

If you suspect a blood clot, visit your doctor if your body develops any of the following symptoms:

  • Coughing up bloody sputum is a common ailment
  • A rapid heart rate
  • Breathing that is difficult or painful
  • Pain or tightness in the chest
  • Experiencing pain in your shoulder, arm, back or jaw
  • Your face, arm or leg becomes numb
  • Having difficulties speaking or understanding speech all of a sudden
  • Changes in your vision that occur unexpectedly

Summing up

A blood clot can be life-threatening. If you know you’re at risk for blood clots, you can push yourself to stay active, eat healthily and maintain a healthy weight and strictly follow doctor’s medication and lifestyle recommendations.

FAQs

1.How can you know if you have a blood clot?

The first sign of a blood clot may start with a sensation of excruciating pain. You may experience throbbing pain in your leg, belly or even arm.

2.Is it possible for a blood clot to dissolve on its own?

Blood clots are a normal part of the healing process following an accident. Damage to an area causes platelets, which are coagulants in the blood, to congregate and clump together near the lesion, preventing bleeding. In general, small clots may develop and then dissolve on their own.

3.Are all clotting problems inherited?

It is said that people who inherit two copies of the mutation, one from each parent, are more likely to develop a clot than those who inherit only one copy.

4.Can blood clots be prevented?

Yes, you can prevent blood clots in the following ways:
1. Stay active
2. Regular exercise
3. Lose weight
4. If travelling, be extra cautious
5. Drink water
6. If pregnant, keep moving
7. Keep feet raised when sleeping
8.  Watch for signs

5.What should I do if I suspect I’m suffering from a blood clot?

Call your doctor or admit to an emergency care room if you suspect you have a blood clot.

6.How do you test for the presence of a blood clot?

A CT angiography test can be used to look for clots in the head, neck, chest or belly. A contrast material is injected into the blood and computer imaging is used to show blood flow and reveal any clots.

7.How can I lower my risk of having blood clots?

You can lower your blood clot risks in the following ways:
1. Dress comfortably in loose-fitting clothing, socks or stockings.
2. Raise your legs to a height of 6 inches above your heart now and then.
3. If your doctor recommends it, use special stockings (also known as compression stockings).
4. Carry out the exercises prescribed by your doctor.
5. Change your position frequently, especially if you’re on a long journey.


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The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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