Causes And Treatment Of Blood Clotting
Blood clots are gel-like formations of blood that accumulate in your veins or arteries when blood changes from liquid to partially solid. Blood clotting is a regular bodily function that occurs to stop your body from losing too much blood when you get injured. However, sometimes blood clots can form when they shouldn’t have and do not dissolve on their own, which can be dangerous for your health.
Types Of Blood Clotting
A blood clot that forms in the arteries is known as an arterial clot, and these can form in arteries in the brain or heart and can be life threatening. Blood clots can also form in the veins, known as a venous clot, which can develop into deep vein thrombosis (DVT) if it forms in one of the larger veins. One of the most severe blood clots is when a DVT clot travels through your body and gets stuck in the lungs, as this can stop blood from flowing and result in fatality.
Risk Factors For Blood Clotting
There are certain factors that can increase your risk of developing dangerous blood clots. These factors include being over the age of 65, having long hospital stays, surgeries and trauma, taking birth control pills, pregnancy, cancer, family history, COVID-19, obesity, and tobacco use. While some of these factors are unavoidable, managing the ones that can be avoided will help prevent blood clots from forming.
Causes Of Blood Clotting
Blood clots can form when your blood does not flow properly, as with conditions such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and atrial fibrillation. Other conditions that can lead to the development of blood clots include antiphospholipid syndrome, atherosclerosis, factor V Leiden, arrhythmias, heart attack, heart failure, peripheral artery disease (PAD), polycythemia vera, liver disease, pulmonary embolism (PE), and stroke. Blood clots can also be caused by prolonged sitting or bed rest, as well as certain medications, such as oral contraceptives and hormone therapy drugs.
Symptoms Of Blood Clotting
The symptoms of a blood clot depends on which part of the body the clot has developed, although some people experience no symptoms at all from blood clots. If the clot has formed in the abdomen, you may experience nausea or vomiting, severe pain in the belly area, diarrhea, and bloating. A clot that forms in the arms or legs can give you symptoms such as swelling, redness, warmth, pain, and tenderness.
A blood clot in the brain, known as a stroke, can cause a range of symptoms depending where it is located in the brain. These symptoms include problems speaking or seeing, inability to move or feel one side of the body, and in some cases, seizures. If a blood clot forms in the heart, it can cause symptoms that are similar to a heart attack such as chest pain, sweating, pain in the left arm, and shortness of breath.
A blood clot can also form in the lungs, which can cause chest pain, difficulty breathing, dizziness, sweating, and coughing, which can sometimes be so intense that you cough up blood. Blood clots can also form in the kidneys which prevent them from removing waste from your body. This can lead to symptoms such as pain in the side of your belly, legs, or thighs, blood in your urine, fever, nausea or vomiting, high blood pressure, difficulty breathing, leg swelling, and even kidney failure.
Prevention Of Blood Clotting
It is possible to reduce your risk of developing blood clots by engaging in regular physical activity, avoiding tobacco smoke, eating a healthy diet and staying hydrated, maintaining a healthy weight, managing high blood pressure and diabetes, and staying up to date with cancer screenings.
Testing For Blood Clotting
Symptoms of blood clots are similar to a variety of other health conditions, so your doctor will conduct a series of tests to rule out any other possible causes. These tests include blood tests, ultrasounds, CT scans, magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), and V/Q scans.
Treatment For Blood Clotting
The goal of treating blood clots is to prevent the clot from getting larger or breaking loose. Treatment varies based on the severity of the clot and where in the body it’s located. Typically, your doctor will recommend medications such as anticoagulants, also known as blood thinners, which help prevent blood clots from forming. For life-threatening blood clots, drugs called thrombolytics can dissolve clots that are already formed.
Your doctor may also recommend that you wear compression stockings, which are tight fitting stockings that provide pressure to reduce leg swelling and prevent clots from forming. In more severe cases, you may require surgery to either remove or dissolve the blood clot. Other forms of treatment include stents and vena cava filters.