British Heart Foundation: Understanding blood clots
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The American Cancer Society says sometimes a blood clot has no symptoms, but it is important to get help for a number of symptoms, because some blood clots can be dangerous and become life-threatening. Some signs are more well known than others, but there are also some in the way that you feel, according to the organisation.
These signs include:
- Sudden chest pain
- Sudden leg or arm pain
- Swelling in the leg or arm
- Fast heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- A feeling of overwhelming dread or doom
- Sweating or fever
- Coughing up blood.
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Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a medical condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the leg.
DVT signs may include swelling in the affected leg, or pain which often starts in your calf and can feel like cramping or soreness.
People also report red or discoloured skin on the leg and a feeling of warmth in the affected leg.
The Cleveland Clinic says symptoms of a DVT may include swelling of the leg or arm, and “sometimes this happens suddenly”.
The NHS adds: “DVT can be very serious because blood clots in your veins can break loose, travel through your bloodstream and get stuck in your lungs.”
This is called a pulmonary embolism (PE). A PE can be life threatening and needs treatment straight away.
A PE can cause a lack of blood flow that leads to lung tissue damage. It can cause low blood oxygen levels that can damage other organs in the body, too.
The NHS says: “If a doctor thinks you have DVT, you should be referred to hospital within 24 hours for an ultrasound scan. The scan shows whether blood is flowing normally through the vein.”
Stop the Clot adds: “The first and most important thing you can do to protect yourself from a life-threatening blood clot is to learn if you are at risk.”
There are a number of factors that can increase your risk of blood clots, and certain steps you can take to reduce them if this is the case.
Risk factors include if you are staying in or recently left hospital, especially if you cannot move around much after an operation.
If you are at a high risk of blood clots after having been in hospital follow the advice of your care team about preventing clots.
“This may involve wearing stockings that improve your blood flow or taking medicine to reduce the risk of clot,” according to the NHS.
Other risk factors include if you are overweight or using combined hormonal contraception, such as the combined pill.
If you are pregnant or have just had a baby, your risk is also higher. Similarly, if you have an inflammatory condition such as Crohn’s disease or rheumatoid arthritis, this can increase your risk of clots.
Being older than 60 increases your risk of DVT , though it can occur at any age.
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