What is a Blood Clot?

What is a Blood Clot?

A blood clot is when blood has turned from liquid into a gel-like state, which is necessary to prevent losing too much blood when injured.

Sometimes, a clot in a vein won’t dissolve on its own, which can become serious if it moves to the heart or lungs.

Types of blood clots:

  • Arterial blood clot: A clot that forms in the arteries. Symptoms include paralysis in certain areas of the body, severe pain and can lead to heart attack or stroke.
  • Venous Clot: A clot that forms in the veins. These types of clots form over a longer period of time, but can still be life threatening. Deep Vein Thrombosis is the most common and serious type of Venous Clot.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT occurs in a vein deep in the body, which commonly happens in the legs, but also can occur in the arms, pelvic area, lungs or brain. Symptoms of a blood clot include, swelling, tenderness, warm sensation, pain, and reddish discoloration.
  • Blood Clot in the heart or heart attack: Blood clots that happen in the heart cause heart attacks. Symptoms include heaviness in the chest, pain in the chest, lightheadedness, and shortness of breath.
  • Abdominal blood clot: A blood clot in the abdomen could include symptoms of pain and swelling. The pain may be similar to stomach virus or food poisoning.
  • Brain blood clot: Also known as a stroke, this type of blood clot can produce symptoms of sudden and severe headache, impaired speech or vision.
  • Pulmonary embolism or blood clot in the lungs: Symptoms include increased heart rate, shortness of breath, chest pain, heart palpitations, or coughing up blood.

Increased risk factors of blood clots include:

  • Age
  • Sitting for long periods of time, especially while travelling
  • Bed rest
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • History of blood clots in the family
  • Cancer
  • Smoking
  • Birth control pills

As always, if you believe you have a blood clot, make an appointment with your healthcare professional. If you are experiencing shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain, difficulty breathing, seeing, or speaking, call your local emergency services immediately.

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