There are some blood clots to be thankful for, and others you should definitely be worried about. The first ones happen when you’re injured and your blood solidifies to stop unnecessary blood loss. The second can become quite dangerous because they happen in the deep veins and impair or even stop circulation. The phenomenon is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
DVT can easily get to your lungs and result in pulmonary embolism, which ultimately can lead to death. It is thus important to reduce the risk factors but also to be aware of the symptoms, so you can notice DVT early enough and avoid serious consequences.
Here is what you should watch out for:
- Pain and swelling in the limbs: Pain in your arm or leg is a classic sign of a blood clot, but it can be mistaken for muscle soreness or strain if not accompanied by redness or swelling. Swelling in the legs, which is a result of blood pooling in the area because if the cut to the flow, can easily be pinned on lack of movement. You should not discount either symptom though, especially if it doesn’t go away as easily as it came.
- Red streaked, warm limbs: DVT can appear somewhat like bruises, but more often than not they only cause visible red streaks on the skin, along the path of the affected veins. If you see these and your limbs feel warm to the touch, then you’re likely dealing with a case of DVT.
- Breathing pain: You might take any chest pain as one of the signs of a heart attack, but it may actually be pulmonary embolism instead. The telling characteristic of pulmonary embolism pain is that it’s quite sharp and increases its intensity with every breath you take. If you feel this kind of pain or know that someone is feeling it, then 911 should be called immediately.
- Shallow breaths, quick heart: If the sharp pain wasn’t enough, pulmonary embolism will also cut the oxygen supply, making it hard to breath and causing your heart to act up in response. Additionally you should feel faint and even pass out. Again, finding adequate and timely assistance is key in this instance.
- Cough: Finally, if you have a cough on top of the aforementioned symptoms, then it is fairly likely you have pulmonary embolism. This cough is usually dry and persistent, but some people cough up mucus and, more tellingly, blood.