Did you know 100,000 Americans die from blood clots every year? It’s true! Blood clots can suddenly disrupt and end the lives of seemingly healthy people. I’ve heard stories about people dying after long business trips where they were required to sit for long periods of time. My background in Hematology also gives me a good grasp on how serious blood clots can be. Let’s talk about the warning signs to watch for so you can avoid being a statistic.
The official name for these dangerous blood clots is deep vein thrombosis (DVT). They are formed in large veins, typically blood vessels. The most common location for DVT’s are the legs and groin. They pose the biggest threat when they dislodge and move to the lungs. This is called a pulmonary embolism.
Do You Recognize the 8 Warning Signs of a Blood Clot?
1. Leg Swelling – Since blood clots usually affect the legs, leg swelling is a common warning sign for this condition. The most common locations for the swelling are the calves, ankles and thighs. You may also have pain at the location.
2. Leg Pain – If you have a blood clot, you may notice pain and sensitivity in your legs. Again, the most common location for the pain will be the calves, ankles and groin. Leg pain can also be a side effect to other conditions or over exertion, so you should consult with your physician if you’re concerned about pain in your legs.
3. Hot Spots – Hot spots on the legs are also a common warning sign for DVT. If you notice a painful, swollen area on your leg that feels hot to the touch, you may want to call your doctor or make a visit to the emergency room. The biggest risk is the dislodging of the blood clot, which can lead to a pulmonary embolism.
4. Red/Discolored Skin – Many times the painful, swollen area on your leg will be accompanied by red or discolored skin. These are all possible signs of a blood clot. If you’re concerned, call your physician right away.
5. Shortness of Breath – Shortness of breath is one of the most serious warning signs of blood clots, as well as other serious conditions like heart and lung disorders. If you’re ever suffering from shortness of breath, you should contact your physician or emergency room immediately.
6. Pain When breathing – Pain when breathing is another very serious warning sign that a DVT has dislodged and caused a pulmonary embolism. This is another reason to call your physician or head to the emergency room immediately.
7. Cough with Blood – Coughing up blood is obviously a stress inducing event. It’s also a common warning sign of a life threatening pulmonary embolism caused by DVT.
8. Increased Heart Rate – A racing heart is also another serious and concerning symptom. It can signal a blood clot has dislodged from your leg and is blocking blood flow to your heart. Head to the emergency room or call your doctor immediately to rule out anything serious.
Who Is at Increased Risk for Blood Clots?
There are a few things that put you at increased risk for developing blood clots. Check out the list below to see if you have any risk factors.
- Surgical procedures
- Bone breaks and falls
- Being Immobile or bed ridden
- Pregnant women
- Women who use oral contraception or hormonal therapy for menopause
- Obese adults
- Genetic predisposition
Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Developing Blood Clots
There are many ways you can reduce your risk of developing blood clots. If you’re at an increased risk, you should consider trying some of the natural or prescription remedies to avoid serious complications.
- Stay Hydrated – Drink plenty of water every day to keep your blood from thickening due to dehydration.
- Add Garlic to Your Diet – Garlic has natural blood thinning properties. Talk to your doctor if you’re already taking blood thinners though, garlic can effect some drugs.
- Drink Red Wine or Grape Juice – Red wine and grape juice contain flavanoids, which can help prevent blood clots by encouraging your body to make platelets.
- Add Leafy Greens to Your Diet – Leafy greens are good for your body, but be sure to talk to your doctor if you’re on prescription meds to prevent blood clots.
- Get Moving – If you’re able to get up and move around, do it! Many doctors will suggest regular walking or physical therapy after surgery, broken bones or falls. Keeping your body moving will prevent the formation of blood clots.
- Try Plavix – Plavix is especially great for people who recently had heart attack or stroke and those who are in immediate danger of suffering from this condition. Although this is a drug that can be used before surgery to prevent clotting, you shouldn’t use it 5 days prior to surgery. People who have clotting disorder, history of stroke, kidney issues, stomach ulcer or those who are allergic to certain drugs, need to consult doctor before using Plavix. You can buy Plavix online. Discuss this option with your doctor.
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