Table of Contents
- Blood clot facts
- What are blood clots? What does a blood clot look like?
- What causes blood clots (blood clots in veins or arteries)?
- What causes blood clots (blood clots in the heart, leaking, and other causes)?
- What are the risk factors for blood clots?
- What types of conditions are caused by blood clots (DVT and pulmonary embolism)?
- What types of conditions are caused by blood clots (AFib, atrial thrombosis, and others)?
- What are the signs and symptoms of blood clots?
- What kind of doctors treat blood clots?
- How are blood clots diagnosed?
- What tests are used to diagnose blood clots?
- What is the treatment for blood clots?
- What are the complications of blood clots?
- How can blood clots be prevented?
Blood Clot Symptoms
Symptoms of a blood clot in the venous system can include swelling of the affected area, warmth, redness, and pain. Venous blood clots occur most commonly in the arms and legs. Symptoms of an arterial blood clot result from a lack of or decrease in oxygen delivery to the tissues supplied by the involved artery. Pain in the involved area is often the first symptom.
Other symptoms can occur when arterial clots form in a particular area. For example, clots in the coronary arteries can cause chest pain and the accompanying symptoms of a heart attack.
Quick GuideDeep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention
Blood clot facts
- A blood clot forms to try and repair damage to a blood vessel, either an artery or vein.
- A blood clot is a gel-like mass formed by platelets and fibrin in the blood to stop bleeding.
- When blood clots form inappropriately inside an artery or vein, they may cause significant problems because blood flow past the clot is decreased.
- There are a variety of risk factors and illness that can lead to blood clot formation.
- Causes of blood clots may include:
- Heart conditions, including atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm disturbance
- Prolonged immobility
- Certain medications, including birth control pills
- Surgery, especially orthopedic procedures when casts or splints are placed and the patient is immobile
- Inherited blood clotting disorders.
- Symptoms of blood clots depend on their location in the body. Some blood clots produce no symptoms until they rupture or become dislocated and travel through the circulatory system to other sites. Symptoms of blood clots in specific body locations are as follows:
- Symptoms of blood clots in legs (deep vein thrombosis (DVT) are pain, redness, and swelling
- Symptoms of an arterial blood clot in the leg are painful and the leg is cool and pale.
- Symptoms of blood clots in the lung (pulmonary embolus) are chest pain, shortness of breath, and rapid pulse and breathing
- Symptoms of a stroke (blood clot in an artery of the brain) include loss of speech, vision, and weakness on one side of the body
- Symptoms of a heart attack (blood clot in a coronary artery) are chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, indigestion, and sweating
- Symptoms of mesenteric ischemia (blood clot to an artery that supplies the intestine) are abdominal pain, nausea, blood in stool
- The diagnosis of a blood clot is suggested by the history and physical examination and is often confirmed with an imaging test. Depending upon the location of the blood clot and its cause, treatment may require surgery, anti-coagulation medications, or a combination of the two.
- Prevention of blood clots involves attention to the risk factors for vascular disease and includes avoiding smoking and lifelong control of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
- Serious complications may arise from blood clots, some are life threatening, and individuals should seek urgent or emergent medical care if they believe they may have a blood clot. This is especially true if signs and symptoms of a heart attack or stroke occur. Continue Reading
Antithrombotic Therapy and Prevention of Thrombosis, 9th ed: American College of Chest Physicians Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines. Chest. 2012;141(2_suppl):
Dzsheka MS, et al. Stroke and bleeding risk in atrial fibrillation. Clin Cardiol.2014, Oct, 37(10)
Medscape. Deep Vein Thrombosis and Thrombophlebitis.
Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2011.
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