Blood Clots - Describe Your Experience

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What are blood clots?

Blood is a liquid that flows within blood vessels. It is constantly in motion as the heart pumps blood through arteries to the different organs and cells of the body. The blood is returned back to the heart by the veins. Veins are squeezed when muscles in the body contract and push the blood back to the heart.

Blood clotting is an important mechanism to help the body repair injured blood vessels. Blood consists of:

  • red blood cells containing hemoglobin that carry oxygen to cells and remove carbon dioxide (the waste product of metabolism),

  • white blood cells that fight infection,

  • platelets that are part of the clotting process of the body, and

  • blood plasma, which contains fluid, chemicals and proteins that are important for bodily functions.

Complex mechanisms exist in the bloodstream to form clots where they are needed. If the lining of the blood vessels becomes damaged, platelets are recruited to the injured area to form an initial plug. These activated platelets release chemicals that start the clotting cascade, using a series of clotting factors produced by the body. Ultimately, fibrin is formed, the protein that crosslinks with itself to form a mesh that makes up the final blood clot.

The medical term for a blood clot is a thrombus (plural= thrombi). When a thrombus is formed as part of a normal repair process of the body, there is little consequence. Unfortunately, there are times when a thrombus (blood clot) will form when it is not needed, and this can have potentially significant consequences.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: troubles, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 02

On December 21, I woke up and had bad chest pain. A week prior to this happening, I was so tired, more than usual and I thought then something was not right. But I went on, and at 2:30 am on December 22 I woke up my other half and said I think I am having a heart attack. He asked me if I wanted to go to the emergency room (ER). I said no, and lay back down and went to sleep. I got up in the morning of 12/22/14 and in my left hand, two of my fingers were blue. So I went to my doctors and she sent me to the ER. I got a CAT scan done and blood work. Then I hear that a helicopter is landing. Well, it was for me, I had a blood clot, a big one in my heart and my left arm was not getting any blood. So, I got transferred to a different hospital 45 minutes away from home. I was in ICU and was to have open heart surgery on 12/24/14. Doctor told my other half that I might not get to keep my arm. I woke up on Christmas Eve and I was still there. No surgery. I had big blood clot in heart and hundreds in left arm all the way into my fingers. I was in there one week. I am out and doing better now. I have been having problems breathing in deep, and my heart hurts now. I go to the heart doctor tomorrow. I am hoping there will be no surgery. But the blood clot could have done some damage to my heart. So I hope all is going to be ok, I am so ready to put this behind me.

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Comment from: KATE, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 20

For the past few months, I have been prone to sweating to the point where I am soaked in sweat. Right now I have severe pain in both legs, and one leg where it is swollen and told I had a blood clot, but not to worry about it. My feet were swollen but doctor said to take water pills and keep my feet up; and they are no longer swollen but my legs still hurt to the point where walking is very, very painful.

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