A lot of people associate blood clots with injuries and car accidents. However, did you know that blood clots can also form in the body without any external injury? Blood clotting is a natural process that helps to stop bleeding. But sometimes, blood clots can form inside the veins, leading to serious health complications. As you read on, let’s cover the symptoms and warning signs of blood clots in detail. We will also provide tips for preventing blood clots from forming in the first place.
What are Blood Clots?
Blood clots are masses of blood that have coagulated or thickened and solidified. They can occur anywhere in the body but most commonly in the legs and arms. Blood clots are dangerous because they can break off and travel through the bloodstream to the lungs, heart, or brain, where they can cause a blockage. This can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or respiratory failure. Blood clots can also cause pain and swelling in the affected area.
How is a Blood Clot Formed?
A blood clot (thrombus) is formed when blood cells and proteins thicken and stick together. It can happen for a variety of reasons, including:
- an injury to the blood vessel wall
- exposure to certain chemicals
- an abnormal increase in the clotting cells themselves
When a clot forms, it can block blood flow through the vessel, leading to serious health complications.
What is Thrombosis?
Thrombosis is the medical term used to describe the formation or development of a blood clot within a blood vessel.
Types of Blood Clots
The two main types of blood clots are classified as arterial and venous.
Arterial Blood Clot
A serious condition that can lead to potentially life-threatening complications. It occurs when a blood vessel becomes blocked by a clot, which can restrict or completely block blood flow. This can cause serious problems such as tissue death, organ damage, and even death.
Warning signs and symptoms of an arterial blood clot
The most common symptom of an arterial blood clot is pain. This pain is usually severe and comes on suddenly. Other symptoms may include:
- Tingling or numbness in the affected area
- Weakness or paralysis in the affected area
- A change in skin colour in the affected area (pale, blue, or red)
- A change in skin temperature in the affected area (cool to the touch)
Venous Blood Clot
Venous blood clots form in the veins. They can occur anywhere in the body but most commonly occur in the legs. Venous blood clots can be dangerous because they block blood flow and cause tissue damage. If a venous blood clot breaks loose, it can travel to other body parts and cause serious health problems.
Venous blood clots are most commonly caused by prolonged immobility, such as after surgery or during a long plane flight.
Warning Signs and Symptoms
Most people with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) experience pain, swelling, warmth, and redness in the affected leg. You may also have:
- Tenderness or cramping in the calf muscle
- Swelling of the entire leg
- Skin that feels warm to the touch
- Red or discolored skin on the leg
- Increased skin sensitivity
- A feeling of heaviness or tightness in the leg
- A burning or throbbing sensation
- Difficulty moving the leg
- Weakness or numbness in the leg
Stroke can be a fatal consequence of untreated blood clots. In emergency cases, Southport first aiders in the workplace or the community setting are the first responders to prevent the patient from any further harm. If you are interested in a first aid course in Southport, call CPR First Aid (RTO 21903), and we will answer your enquiries.
What Causes Blood Clots?
Many factors can increase a person’s risk and contribute to blood clot formation. Some of the more common causes include:
- Age – Being over the age of 60.
- Inactivity – When you are not active, your blood flow slows down, and your blood becomes more likely to clot.
- Different types of injuries – If you have an injury, your body will work to form a blood clot to help protect the area.
- Surgery – The healing process can sometimes cause blood clots to form.
- Hormones – Can play a role in blood clotting. For example, estrogen can make your blood more likely to clot.
- Birth control – Birth control pills and other contraceptives can also increase your risk of blood clots.
How Do You Check for Blood Clots at Home?
There are a few ways that you can check for blood clots at home.
- One way is to check your pulse. You can do this by taking your pulse or feeling for a pulse in your neck or wrist.
- Another way to check for blood clots is to look for signs of swelling, redness, or pain in the affected area.
- You should also feel for any lumps or bumps under your skin.
If you notice any of these signs, it is important to contact your doctor right away.
Can Blood Clots Go Away?
Yes, blood clots can resolve on their own. The body constantly forms and dissolves blood clots, and most of them never cause any problems. However, if a person experiences persistent symptoms, medical advice and/or treatment should be sought early.
Complications That Can Happen from a Blood Clot
Untreated blood clots can lead to severe complications, and even death, such as:
A clot forms in the veins of your leg or arm and then travels to your lungs. It can cause shortness of breath and chest pains.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
A DVT is a blood clot that develops in your arm or leg veins. It can cause pain and swelling.
A clot forms in the arteries of your brain. This can cause paralysis and difficulty speaking.
A clot forms in the arteries of your heart. Heart attacks can cause chest pain and shortness of breath.
Main Types of Treatment in Southport QLD
Medical treatments that can be used to dissolve or break up blood clots are as follows:
Blood thinners or anticoagulants prevent new blood clots from forming and can also help dissolve existing blood clots. Commonly used anticoagulants include heparin and warfarin.
These drugs are injected into a vein and work to break up blood clots. Some examples of thrombolytic medications include alteplase and reteplase.
In some cases, surgery may be needed to remove a blood clot. This is typically only necessary if the blood clot is large or causing serious complications.
Your doctor will determine the best treatment option for you based on the type and location of your blood clot and your overall health.
How to Prevent Blood Clots?
There are a few things you can do to help prevent blood clots:
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
- Elevate your legs when you are sitting or lying down.
- Get up and move around every few hours.
- Avoid crossing your legs while sitting.
- Don’t smoke.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Eat a healthy diet.
If you or a person you know is at increased risk for blood clots, the doctor may prescribe medication to help prevent them.
While blood clots can happen anywhere in the body, it’s essential to be aware of their risk factors and associated symptoms. If you experience any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek medical help. Different treatments are available for blood clots, but prevention is still the best option. Moreover, there are several ways you can reduce your risk of developing blood clots, including staying active, avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol, and taking medications as prescribed by your doctor.
Being prepared in emergency cases brought about by blood clot complications can be a matter of life or death for a person. Get a first aid certification at Cnr Ferry Rd and Cotlew St E, Southport 4215, or check out CPR First Aid’s other locations near you.