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: Heath166, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 18

I am 47. I had a very sore right calf. It was very tight. I went to the doctor and she thought I might have a blood clot. I went to the local hospital who performed an ultrasound and found a blood clot. I have been on Xarelto for nearly 3 months now. I am having a follow up ultrasound this week. I am hoping the blood clot has gone.

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Comment from: weird shoulder pain, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 26

I started to have problems lying down flat on my back. I have had a very bad back for most of my adult life. The pain I was having in my shoulder was very different. I went to my regular doctor and he said it was a pulled muscle. I tried to tell my doctor that I have pulled muscles before and this was different. It only hurt when I laid down flat on my back. He just shrugged and said he wanted me to give it some time to go away on its own. It didn"t, the pain got so bad I could not lay down in bed to sleep any more. I did research online and I found some articles that suggested I see a vascular surgeon. I made an appointment with one for as soon as I could. Three days before my appointment two of my fingers turned blue on the arm I had been having shoulder pain. It only lasted a few minutes but still I ran into my doctor. He blamed it on a vascular problem I had had for years called Raynaud's syndrome. I tried to explain that it was not the same. He brushed off my concerns. Three days later I was so happy to go to my appointment with the vascular surgeon. On the way there my two fingers turned blue again and they stayed that way longer. I got in to see him pretty fast. He was only in the exam room for 3 minutes tops, when he told me he was admitting me right away for emergency surgery to save my left hand. He said I had a blood clot in my shoulder and it was cutting off the supply of blood to my hand.

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