currently browsing January 2016

How Do I Know If I Have A Blood Clot?

There are different types of blood clots (also called “thrombus” or “thrombi,”) which have different signs and symptoms. A blood clot will be classified as either Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) or Pulmonary Embolism (PE), depending on the nature of the clot. The specific symptoms will often depend on whether the blood vessel is completely or partially blocked, as well as the location of the clot1. As the symptoms of each sort of clot are quite different, it is helpful to look at each type separately. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) DVT occurs when a blood clot is formed in a deep vein in the body. This usually materializes in the legs and groin area, though it can sometimes affect your arm. One of the first signs that will manifest is pain or tenderness, coupled with swelling of the impacted area. This pain will often be accompanied by reddish or bluish skin discoloration, along with the tender area being unusually warm to the touch. Many times these symptoms are described as being similar in pain to a pulled muscle or Charley horse2, but with the pain accompanied by swelling, discoloration, and warmth. If you are experiencing any or all of these conditions, you should contact a doctor. However, about half of all DVT cases are asymptomatic3, so you could still be suffering from DVT even if you are not displaying these signs. In many cases, deep vein thrombosis is just a one-time episode, meaning that symptoms will go away when the disease is treated. However, individuals who have experienced DVT at least once are at an increased risk of further episodes throughout their life4. Pulmonary Embolism (PE) The most serious complication of DVT is called Pulmonary Embolism, which is responsible for anywhere from 50,000 to 200,000 deaths each year5. It is the third most common cause of cardiovascular death, only trailing heart attacks and strokes6. The complication of PE happens in... Read more