The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 900,000 Americans suffer from blood clot issues, and about 11% die yearly. Your blood’s ability to stop bleeding at the site of an injury is a powerful healing weapon. Still, in some cases, inside your body, clots can form and break loose before traveling to another location where they cause dangerous blockages.
Blood clots can be treated, but they must be dealt with before they get large or break loose. Look to ARK Cardiovascular & Arrhythmia Center when you need help with blood clots and their contributing factors. Today, we explore four warning signs of blood clots that you should never ignore.
Clots often form from venous insufficiency in the legs, but many serious health problems happen elsewhere. When a clot hits the lungs, you’re at risk of a pulmonary embolism. In the brain, clots can cause strokes, while heart attacks may occur if they settle in the heart. Blood clots can sometimes affect the digestive system and kidneys too.
The risk of blood clots increases with certain factors, such as being over 60, carrying extra pounds, having medical conditions like diabetes or high cholesterol, following surgery, sitting for extended periods, or following an injury or bone fracture. Some of the clues that reveal a blood clot issue include:
Medically known as edema, swelling in the ankles and lower legs can be a sign of blocked veins, a condition called deep vein thrombosis. Sometimes, the appearance of varicose veins may indicate deeper problems that start with the failure of venous valves that no longer prevent the backward flow of blood. Blood pools and stretches vein walls, creating conditions for the formation of clots.
When superficial veins become varicose, they show through your skin as blue or purple, and they may also bulge out, revealing a twisted and gnarled appearance. The skin itself may also change color, appearing red or blue. Some discolored areas may also feel warm to the touch.
When clots begin to form, you may feel aches and soreness in your lower legs. Cramps can also occur, and symptoms may increase when you’re walking. Your legs could eventually feel pain rather than just sore. Itchiness in the skin might be another sensation. Sudden and intense chest pain could signify pulmonary embolism or heart attack. In either case, it’s a medical emergency requiring immediate attention.
If you have trouble breathing, it’s a sign that a blood clot is actively blocking crucial functions in your lungs or heart. Like chest pain, it’s a medical emergency upon which you must act immediately.
If you have one or more risk factors for blood clots, consider a consultation with our ARK Cardiovascular & Arrhythmia Center team. We can do the diagnostic work and recommend a treatment plan to minimize the effects of blood clots on your life. Call or click today to arrange your visit.