A blood clot or clot additionally referred to as coagulation, is the procedure through which blood changes from a liquid to a gel, forming a blood clot. Potentially results in hemostasis, the cessation of blood loss from a broken vessel, observed through repair.
What are Blood Clots?
A blood clot is a build-up of blood that has changed from a liquid state to a gelatinous or semi-solid state. Clotting is a necessary process that can prevent you from losing too much blood in certain cases, such as when you are injured or cut. When a clot forms internally in one of your veins, it may not usually dissolve on its own. This may be a completely risky and even life-threatening situation.
Types of blood clots:
- Arterial clots form in the arteries. Once arterial clots form, they cause signs right away. Because this type of clot prevents oxygen from reaching vital organs, it can cause severe pain and serious health emergencies, such as stroke, heart attack, severe abdominal pain, and paralysis.
- Venous clots usually form slowly in the veins. Venous clot signs, including swelling, redness, numbness, and pain, are gradually noticed.
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is the name given when a clot forms in one of the main veins inside your body. It is most common for this to occur in one of your legs, however, it may additionally take place in your arms, pelvis, lungs, or maybe your brain.
- Superficial vein thrombosis is a blood clot that forms in a vein near the surface of the skin. They are not normally released or travel through the bloodstream.
Blood clots form when certain parts of the blood thicken and form a semi-solid mass. This process can be triggered by an injury, or it can sometimes occur within blood vessels that have no obvious injury. Once these clots form, they can travel to other parts of your body and cause damage. Sometimes a blood clot forms without a trigger (such as a wound or cut).
Risk factors include:
- age, especially if you are over 65
- long trips, such as any trip you have taken that involves sitting for more than four hours at a time
- bed rest or sedentary lifestyle for long periods
- birth control pills/hormone replacement therapy/breast cancer drugs
- certain types of cancer (pancreas, lung, multiple myeloma, or blood-related cancers)
- trauma (serious injury)
- some types of major surgery
- age (especially older than 60 years)
- family history of blood clots
- autoimmune disease
- diseases related to chronic inflammation
- certain infections (HIV / AIDS, hepatitis C, or Lyme disease)
- deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- factor V leiden
- family history of blood clots
- cardiac arrhythmia (heart rhythm problems)
- heart attack
- heart failure
- Peripherial artiey disease (PAD)
- polycythemia vera
The location of the blood clot and its effect on blood flow is what causes the signs. If a blood clot or thrombus is considered, the history may explore risk factors or situations that could put the patient at risk of forming a clot.
- Ultrasound is the most widely used test to diagnose blood clots. It uses sound waves to create a picture of your arteries and veins to see how blood flows through them. If there is a clot, your doctor will be able to see the interrupted blood flow and make the diagnosis.
- Venogram test this, a dye is injected into the vein in question. Next, an X-ray is taken of the area where your doctor suspects a blood clot. The dye makes the vein more visible, so interrupted blood flow would easily be seen.
- A chest computed tomography angiography is performed. If your doctor suspects that you have a pulmonary embolism, you can have a CT-Angiogram. The most common cause of a pulmonary embolism is a piece of a leg or pelvic clot that has dislodged and traveled through the veins to the lung. You may be sent for a chest X-ray in case your physician thinks you could have a condition apart from a blood clot.
- The abdomen and pelvic CT angiography is a form of CT scan that can be used in case your physician suspects a blood clot somewhere in your abdomen or pelvis. It can also rule out other conditions that cause the same signs as blood clots.
- A blood clot is treated based on its location.
- Oral anticoagulants are the most common treatments for blood clots.
- Some medications can be given through a catheter (a long, thin tube) that is inserted into the area of the clot.
- Some clots can be removed surgically.
- Talk to your physician if you are pregnant. Medications can pose risks to the fetus.
- If your blood clot is because of an infection, your physician can be capable of treating the infection and decrease the danger of a clot.
When to visit a Doctor?
It is very difficult to diagnose a blood clot just from the signs. That is why it is best to call your doctor if you think you might have one. Signs that appear out of nowhere are especially concerning.
Call your emergency services immediately if you experience any of the following:
- sudden shortness of breath
- chest pressure
- trouble breathing, seeing, or speaking
Your doctor or other healthcare professional will be able to tell you if there is a cause for concern and may send you for further testing to determine the exact cause. In many cases, the first step will be a non-invasive ultrasound. This test will show a picture of your veins or arteries, which can help your doctor make a diagnosis.
- Do not sit for long periods. If you work at a desk, take a short walk around the office building every hour or so. If you are traveling by plane, walk down the aisle periodically.
- If you've had surgery or been on bed rest, get up and move around as soon as your doctor lets you.
- wear loose clothing, especially the lower part of the body.
- wear compression stockings.
- quit smoking, if applicable.
- drink plenty of fluids
- eat less salt.
- exercise regularly.
- change positions frequently, especially on long trips.
- standing or sitting for no more than an hour at a time.
- avoid crossing your legs.
- avoid activities that can hit and hit the legs.
- raise your legs above heart level when lying down.
The table below shows the problems that may occur with blood clots in different parts of the body:
|Arm or leg
- pain in the arm or leg
- sudden warmth, swelling, or tenderness in the arm or leg
- red or blue skin discoloration
- sudden shortness of breath
- coughing that brings up mucus or blood
- sudden, sharp chest pain that gets progressively worse
- rapid or irregular heartbeat
- excessive sweating
- lightheadedness or dizziness
- numbness or weakness of the face, arms, or legs
- difficulty speaking or understanding others
- loss of vision in one or both eyes
- difficulty walking
- loss of balance or coordination
- sudden and severe headache
||Signs are rare, but may include:
- pain and tenderness in the upper abdomen, back, and sides
- blood in the urine
- decreased urine output