What is a Blood Clot ?

A blood clot is the body’s way of preventing excess bleeding when a blood vessel is damaged. Clots are made up of cells in the blood called platelets combined with proteins found in the plasma. However, under normal circumstances the clot will dissolve naturally after the blood vessel heals. A blood clot can become dangerous when it forms without an injury to a blood vessel, and if it fails to dissolve naturally.

Blood clots can form in either the arteries or veins. When they form in veins, blood flow back to the heart is restricted. This can cause swelling and pain in the area where the clot has formed. When a blood clot forms in an artery, it will deprive vital organs of oxygen needed to function properly. In some cases this can lead to a heart attack or a stroke.

Risk factors for developing a clot include:

  • Smoking
  • Taking oral contraceptives
  • Trauma
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Prolonged inactivity
  • Pregnancy
  • Family history
  • History of cancer
  • Age 65 or older
  • Bone fracture

The symptoms of a blood clot vary depending on the part of the body that is affected. Symptoms can include weakness in arms, legs, face, dizziness, shortness of breath, sharp chest pain, sweating, nausea, blurry vison and coughing up blood.

Treatment of a blood clot is dependent on where the clot is located. Some clots can be treated with blood thinners while others may require surgical intervention.

If you are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms of a blood clot, it is important that you seek immediate medical attention. You should call your physician or call 9-1-1 and go to the nearest emergency room to be evaluated.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.