3 Tell-Tale Symptoms of a Blood Clot

May 7th 2016

While blood clots are essential in preventing excessive bleeding following cuts or injuries to the skin, deep blood clots that form in the veins can cause serious complications if left untreated. Seeking medical attention at the first sign of a blood clot can help to ensure an accurate diagnosis and prompt, efficient treatment.

Swelling in the Legs, Arms or Pelvis

Swelling in the legs, arms or pelvis often accompanies blood clots that develop deep inside the blood vessels. It typically indicates that the blood flow to the heart is hindered and that blood is building up behind the clot. In most cases, only one leg or arm is affected. The skin may also feel warm when pressed.

Pain or Numbness in the Arm or Leg

As blood builds up behind a deep blood clot, the growing pressure can cause significant pain. Pain caused by blood clots is most often accompanied by swelling. The surrounding skin may also appear inflamed or blue-to-purple in color.

Breathing Difficulties and Stabbing Chest Pain

Blood clots that form in the legs, arms and pelvis can break off and travel to the lungs. When a blood clot becomes lodged in a lung, it is referred to as a pulmonary embolism. Symptoms include breathing difficulties, stabbing chest pain and coughing. Individuals suffering from pulmonary embolisms may also feel faint or break out in cold sweats. Pulmonary embolisms are considered life-threatening and require emergency treatment.

Severe Calf Cramps

Deep vein blood clots can also cause calf cramps that may be mistaken for pulled muscles or strains. Calf cramps caused by blood clots tend to persist and worsen as time goes on. In certain cases, the cramping may be accompanied by numbness or a burning sensation in the foot. People experiencing these symptoms should seek medical advice.

Conclusion

Blood clots are groupings of blood platelets and proteins that form together in response to a variety of conditions ranging from mild cuts or injuries to serious medical conditions such as heart failure or deep vein thrombosis. Blood clots form in the veins and can also break off and travel to other organs of the body.

When a blood clot forms in response to a small cut or scrape, it works to prevent severe bleeding and is considered a beneficial immune response. However, blood clots can also pose serious health risks that require urgent treatment. Risk factors that can contribute to severe blood clots include recent surgery, deep bruising, obesity, recent strokes and varicose veins. Understanding the tell-tale symptoms of blood clots can help ensure that sufferers seek immediate medical attention.

Sources

WebMD.com "What is a blood clot?" http://www.webmd.com/dvt/blood-clots
MayoClinic.org "Blood clots" http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/blood-clots/basics/definition/sym-20050850
IHTC.org "Signs and symptoms of blood clots" http://www.ihtc.org/patient/blood-disorders/clotting-disorders/signs-and-symptoms-of-thrombosis/
Stoptheclot.org "Nicole Sheldon - my story with DVT and PE" http://www.stoptheclot.org/news/article294.htm
AHRQ.org "Your guide to preventing and treating blood clots" http://www.ahrq.gov/patients-consumers/prevention/disease/bloodclots.html

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