- How Medicine Clears Clots
- Treatment and home management for blood clots
- Blood clots
- Blood Clot Medical Terms Made Simple
- Doctors, nurses, and physician assistants often use medical terms to describe blood clots. As patients, you want to understand what they are saying. Here we translate common medical terms used by health care professionals into plain language.
- This is the medical term they use to refer to all blood clots.
- VTE includes blood clots that form in your arms and/or legs, as well as the pieces that may break off and travel to your lungs.
- Blood clots that form in your arms and legs are called deep vein thrombosis or DVT.
- A blood clot that breaks off and travels to your lungs is called a pulmonary embolism or PE.
- Here is a short video that shows how blood clots can form in your leg.
- You want to watch for these symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT (arm or leg clot):
- You want to watch for these symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism or PE (blood clot in lung):
- Pulmonary Embolism or PE is a life-threatening emergency. Call 911 immediately. Pulmonary embolism is fatal in about 1 out of 3 people.
- Some other names for excessive blood clotting are:
- Why Excessive Blood Clotting Matters
- The Truth About Traveling Blood Clots
- Diagnosing DVT and PE
- Managing DVT and PE Blood Clot Disorders
- Scary Signs You May Have a Blood Clot
- 1. Pain in the leg or arm
- 2. Panic attacks
- 3. Coughing up blood
- 4. Sharp chest pain
- 5. Shortness of breath
- 6. Increased heart rate
- 7. Leg or arm is warm or red
- 8. Vision problems
- 9. Swelling in your leg or arm
- 10. Severe belly pain
- 11. Bloody stools
- 12. High blood pressure
- 13. Nausea and vomiting
- 14. Sudden seizure
- 15. Blood in urine
- Who Is Likely to Get Blood Clots or Vein Problems?
- Signs That You May Have Vein Problems
- Why Vein Treatment Matters
- Can a Blood Clot in Your Leg Dissolve on Its Own?
- The Brief and Simple Answer
- Monitoring of the Blood Clot is Necessary to Avoid Serious Health Problems
- How are Blood Clots in the Leg Treated?
- Prevention is Important for Blood Clots
How Medicine Clears Clots
Doctors use different medications based on the type of clot you have:
Blood thinners. Also called anticoagulants, these are some of the more common drugs for a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). That’s a blood clot that happens in one of your large veins, usually in your leg. Blood thinners are also used to help prevent clots after a stroke or pulmonary embolism (when a blood clot travels to an artery in your lungs).
Blood thinners don’t dissolve the clot, but they can stop it from getting bigger and keep new ones from forming. That gives your body time to break up the clot.
Different blood thinners work in different ways:
- Direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) keep your body from making fibrin, the protein the forms the clot’s mesh.
- Heparin keeps one of your body’s key clotting proteins, thrombin, from doing its job.
- Warfarin (Coumadin) slows down your liver’s ability to make the proteins you need for clotting.
Thrombolytics. These clot-busting drugs are used for serious conditions, like a pulmonary embolism. Unlike blood thinners, they do break down the clot. They work by turning on plasmin, which jump-starts your body’s natural process for clearing things out.
Treatment and home management for blood clots
The treatment options for blood clots depend on a person’s overall health and the location of the blood clot.
Share on PinterestA doctor may prescribe anticoagulant medications to treat blood clots.
In most cases, a doctor will prescribe anticoagulant medications, which people often refer to as blood thinners. These medications reduce the body’s ability to form new clots, while also preventing existing clots from getting bigger.
Doctors usually deliver anticoagulant medications during the first 5–10 days after the diagnosis of a blood clot.
Some people may continue taking anticoagulants for weeks, months, or even years to keep clots from returning.
The most common anticoagulant medications include:
Unfractionated heparin (UFH) works with antithrombin — a protein in the body — to prevent new clots from forming.
A doctor will administer UFH intravenously or via an injection just beneath the skin to allow the drug to work quickly.
Blood levels of UFH may change intermittently throughout the day. For this reason, a person receiving UFH will require several blood tests daily.
Low molecular weight heparin
Low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) comes from UFH. The effects of LMWH on the body last longer than those of UFH and are more predictable.
People taking LMWH can self-inject it at home, and they do not require routine blood monitoring.
Warfarin works by interfering with the production of vitamin K. The liver uses vitamin K to make proteins necessary for blood clotting.
A doctor may prescribe warfarin pills for people who are transitioning from heparin treatment.
Throughout the first week of treatment, a person will require several blood tests so that doctors can determine the correct dosage. Once a person has an established dosage, routine blood monitoring will be necessary to prevent the risk of uncontrolled bleeding.
Direct oral anticoagulant medications
Direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) are a newer class of anticoagulants. These drugs directly target the specific proteins responsible for blood clotting.
DOACs act rapidly, and their effects on the body are short lasting. Missing a dose can increase the risk of blood clots.
When a person takes them correctly, DOACs carry fewer risks than warfarin. They are less likely to cause bleeding and to interact with foods, supplements, and other medications.
However, they tend to be more expensive. It is also vital that people do not miss their regular doses.
Some DOAC drugs include:
- apixaban (Eliquis)
- betrixaban (BevyxXa)
- dabigatran (Pradaxa)
- edoxaban (Savaysa)
- rivaroxaban (Xarelto)
People who develop a blood clot in one of the deep veins in the arms and legs, called deep vein thrombosis (DVT), may go on to experience postthrombotic syndrome (PTS). In people with PTS, the damaged blood vessels become swollen and painful.
Compression stockings are elasticated stockings that fit over the foot and extend up to the calf or groin. These stockings are tight at the foot but get looser further up the leg.
This design assists blood flow out of the lower legs and back up toward the heart, helping relieve the symptoms of PTS.
Compressions stockings are available either on prescription or over the counter at most major drugstores. A pharmacist will need to measure the leg to ensure that the stockings fit correctly.
Thrombolytics are drugs that dissolve blood clots. A doctor may give a thrombolytic intravenously, or they may use a catheter in the vein, which will allow them to deliver the drug directly to the site of the clot.
Thrombolytics can increase the risk of bleeding, however. Doctors usually only recommend them for people who have very large clots or clots that do not resolve with anticoagulant treatment.
These drugs may also be an option for people who have persistent and debilitating PTS.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove a blood clot from a vein or artery. This procedure is called a thrombectomy.
A thrombectomy may be necessary for clots that are very large or are causing severe damage to nearby tissues.
People should talk to their surgeon about what to expect during the procedure.
In most cases, the surgeon will make a cut in the area above the blood clot. After removing the clot, the surgeon may insert a small tube or “stent” into the blood vessel to keep it open. They will then close off the blood vessel to restore blood flow.
Vena cava filters
The vena cava is a large vein in the abdomen that transports blood from the lower body back up to the heart and lungs.
A DVT in the legs can sometimes travel up to the lungs through the vena cava. When the clot moves to the lungs and blocks blood flow, it is called a pulmonary embolism (PE). A surgeon may insert a filter into the vena cava to prevent clots from passing through the vein.
The surgeon inserts the filter by making a small incision in a vein in the neck or groin. A series of X-rays helps the surgeon correctly position the filter inside the vena cava.
Doctors usually only use this procedure for people who are at high risk of developing a pulmonary embolism and those who cannot take anticoagulants.
A foreign body is any object or substance which shouldn’t be in your blood. Foreign bodies that cause embolisms are known as emboli – a single emboli is called an embolus.
Some common causes of an embolism are outlined below.
Blood contains natural clotting agents which help prevent you bleeding excessively when you cut yourself.
Certain health conditions – such as obesity, heart disease, cancer and pregnancy – can cause blood clots to form inside your veins even where there’s no bleeding.
A clot can travel in the bloodstream before it gets stuck and starts to block the blood flow to an organ or a limb.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot in the deep veins of your leg, is one of the main causes of pulmonary embolisms.
A fracture to a long bone, such as a thigh bone, can lead to fat particles within the bone being released into the bloodstream. Fat particles can also sometimes develop following severe burns or as a complication of bone surgery.
Embolisms can also occur if air bubbles or other gases enter the bloodstream.
Air embolisms are a particular concern for scuba divers. If a diver swims to the surface too quickly, the change in pressure can cause nitrogen bubbles to form in their bloodstream and become trapped in a blood vessel. This blockage can cause decompression sickness, which is often referred to as “the bends”.
In people with severe atherosclerosis (narrowed arteries caused by a build-up of cholesterol), small pieces of cholesterol can sometimes break away from the side of a blood vessel, resulting in an embolism.
In rare cases, amniotic fluid – which surrounds and protects a baby inside the womb – can leak into the mother’s blood vessels during labour, causing a blockage. This can lead to breathing problems, a drop in blood pressure and loss of consciousness.
Situations in which a blood clot is more likely to form in veins include:
- Being on long-term bed rest
- Sitting for long periods, such as in a plane or car
- During and after pregnancy
- Taking birth control pills or estrogen hormones (especially in women who smoke)
- Long-term use of an intravenous catheter
- After surgery
Blood clots are also more likely to form after an injury. People with cancer, obesity, and liver or kidney disease are also prone to blood clots.
Smoking also increases the risk of forming blood clots.
Conditions that are passed down through families (inherited) may make you more likely to form abnormal blood clots. Inherited conditions that affect clotting are:
- Factor V Leiden thrombophilia
- Prothrombin G20210A mutation
Other rare conditions, such as protein C, protein S, and antithrombin III deficiencies.
A blood clot may block an artery or vein in the heart, affecting the:
- Heart (angina or a heart attack)
- Intestines (mesenteric ischemia or mesenteric venous thrombosis)
- Kidneys (renal vein thrombosis)
- Leg or arm arteries
- Legs (deep vein thrombosis)
- Lungs (pulmonary embolism)
- Neck or brain (stroke)
Blood Clot Medical Terms Made Simple
Doctors, nurses, and physician assistants often use medical terms to describe blood clots. As patients, you want to understand what they are saying. Here we translate common medical terms used by health care professionals into plain language.
This is the medical term they use to refer to all blood clots.
- ‘Venous’ mean vein.
- ‘Thrombus’ means blood clot.
- ‘Embolism’ means ‘plug’ or ‘stopper’ or a clot that blocks blood flow.
VTE includes blood clots that form in your arms and/or legs, as well as the pieces that may break off and travel to your lungs.
Blood clots that form in your arms and legs are called deep vein thrombosis or DVT.
A blood clot that breaks off and travels to your lungs is called a pulmonary embolism or PE.
Here is a short video that shows how blood clots can form in your leg.
You want to watch for these symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT (arm or leg clot):
- Swelling, usually in one leg or arm
- Leg or arm pain or tenderness
- Reddish or bluish skin color changes
- Leg or arm warm to touch
You want to watch for these symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism or PE (blood clot in lung):
- Sudden shortness of breath
- Chest pain-sharp, stabbing; may get worse with deep breath
- Rapid resting heart rate
- Unexplained cough, sometimes with bloody mucus
Pulmonary Embolism or PE is a life-threatening emergency. Call 911 immediately. Pulmonary embolism is fatal in about 1 out of 3 people.
Click here to learn more about blood clots and clotting disorders.
When you get a cut or wound, your body forms blood clots, a thickened mass of blood tissue, to help stop the bleeding. Proteins in your blood called fibrins work with small blood cell fragments called platelets, to form the clot. This is called coagulation, a process that helps the body when an injury occurs because it slows blood loss.
After bleeding has stopped and healing has occurred, the body should break down and remove the clots. But sometimes blood clots form too easily or don’t dissolve properly and travel through the body limiting or blocking blood flow.
This is called excessive blood clotting or hypercoagulation, and can be very dangerous. In a case of excessive blood clotting, these clots can form in, or travel to, the arteries or veins in the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and limbs, which in turn can cause heart attack, stroke, damage to the body’s organs or even death.
Many factors can cause excessive blood clotting including certain diseases and conditions, genetic mutations and medicines. These causes fall into two categories: acquired and genetic.
- Acquired means that excessive blood clotting was triggered by another disease or condition. Smoking, overweight and obesity, pregnancy, use of birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, cancer, prolonged bed rest, or car or plane trips are a few examples.
- The genetic, or inherited, source of excessive blood clotting is less common and is usually due to genetic defects. These defects usually occur in the proteins needed for blood clotting and can also occur with the substances that delay or dissolve blood clots.
Acquired and genetic sources of excessive blood clotting are not related but a person can have both.
Some other names for excessive blood clotting are:
- Hypercoagulable disorders or states
- Thromboembolic states
- Thrombophilia (a name used mainly for genetic conditions)
- Thrombotic disorders
Why Excessive Blood Clotting Matters
The outlook and treatment for excessive blood clotting depend on the cause of the blood clots, how severe they are, and how well they can be controlled.
Some Possible Effects of Blood Clots Include:
- Stroke – A stroke can occur if a blood clot causes blood flow to your brain to be restricted. If blood flow is cut off for more than a few minutes, the cells in your brain start to die. This impairs the parts of the body that the brain cells control. A stroke can cause lasting brain damage, long-term disability, paralysis (an inability to move), or death.
- Heart Attack – A blood clot in a coronary artery can lead to a heart attack. A heart attack occurs if blood flow to a section of heart muscle becomes blocked. If blood flow isn’t restored quickly, the section of heart muscle becomes damaged from lack of oxygen and begins to die. This heart damage may not be obvious, or it may cause severe or long-lasting problems such as heart failure or arrhythmias.
- Kidney Failure – A blood clot in the kidneys can lead to kidney failure, where kidneys can no longer remove fluids and waste from your body.
- Pulmonary Embolism – If a blood clot travels from a deep vein in the body to the lungs, it’s called a pulmonary embolism (PE). PE is a serious condition that can damage your lungs and other organs and cause l ow oxygen levels in your blood.
- Deep Vein Thrombosis – A blood clot in a vein deep in your arm or leg can cause pain, swelling, redness, or increased warmth in the affected limb can cause deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT clots can break off, travel to the lungs and cause PE.
- Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) – Together, PE and DVT make up venous thromboembolism.
- Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) – PAD is a narrowing of the peripheral arteries, most commonly in the arteries of the pelvis and legs.
- Pregnancy-related problems – Blood clots can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, and other pregnancy-related problems, such as preeclampsia, which is high blood pressure that occurs during pregnancy.
With medicines and ongoing care, many people who have excessive blood clotting can successfully manage it.
The Truth About Traveling Blood Clots
Diagnosing DVT and PE
DVT and PE aren’t always detected for what they are. “The symptoms are quite subtle, and sometimes it’s a nagging pain in the leg that people don’t pay much attention to,” Dr. Silverstein said. “You think you pulled a muscle — you don’t think it could be a clot.”
However, because PE can lead to sudden death, it’s critical to seek medical treatment right away if you think you might be experiencing any of the telltale symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 350,000 to 900,000 people in the United States develop DVT or PE (or both) every year. About 100,000 of them die, and most are sudden deaths because the fatal pulmonary embolism goes unrecognized.
That need not be the case, however. “As long as we make a prompt diagnosis and treat it, patients do extremely well,” Silverstein said.
Most often, DVT can be diagnosed with Doppler ultrasound. A sonographer uses an ultrasound machine, sending sound waves through the leg, to observe blood flow in your veins.
To diagnose PE, doctors may order a CT scan or a specialized X-ray of your lung, called a lung ventilation/perfusion scan, that also can show how much blood is getting to your lungs. During the ventilation part of the scan, you inhale a small amount of a radioactive gas. Radioisotopes also are injected into your bloodstream to allow doctors to see where blood flows to your lungs.
A blood test known as D-dimer measures a substance found in your blood when a clot dissolves. High levels may suggest blood clots. If your levels are normal and you have few risk factors for PE, it could indicate that you don’t have PE.
RELATED: 6 Simple Steps to Avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis
Managing DVT and PE Blood Clot Disorders
Sitting while traveling long distances in a plane or car can increase your risk for DVT and PE, and “the longer the flight, the higher the risk,” Silverstein said.
Women who take hormones, whether birth control pills or estrogen therapy, also are at increased risk, as are pregnant women and women in the six weeks after childbirth. People who have to spend an extended amount of time in bed, most often because of hospitalization and recovery from an illness or surgery, also have heightened risk.
Treatment involves medications that thin your blood and slow its ability to clot. Blood thinners won’t break up clots, Silverstein said, but they will stop the clot from growing and prevent further clots. “The body has a natural way of healing itself, and eventually the clot disappears on its own,” he said.
If a pulmonary embolism is life-threatening, your doctor can administer a thrombolytic, an agent that will dissolve the clot quickly. Because thrombolytics can cause you to bleed, they’re used only when your life is in danger. “Thrombolytic therapy has to be done in a hospital setting,” noted Silverstein.
Sometimes, though not often, surgery is required to remove the blood clot.
“The complication of PE that we worry about most is death,” Silverstein said. “If you have repeated clots, over time they can damage your lungs, and that can lead to chronic heart disease. Most of the time, that doesn’t happen.”
Once you’ve had a PE, you are at greater risk of having more. Other factors that could further increase your risk include:
- Being sedentary or bedridden
- Being overweight
- Undergoing surgery or breaking a bone
- Having stroke, chronic heart disease, high blood pressure, or paralysis
Age is also a risk factor. “The older you are, the higher your risk,” Silverstein said, “particularly after age 55.”
Never ignore DVT or PE symptoms, thinking they will go away, especially if you have risk factors. Because the signs — if any — will be subtle, err on the side of caution.
Scary Signs You May Have a Blood Clot
Blood clotting is your body’s way of keeping you from bleeding out. But if a clot doesn’t break up, it’ll keep traveling through your body. If it gets stuck in the lungs, it’s called a pulmonary embolism (PE). If it stops in a leg or arm, it’s called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Blood clots can also make their way to the brain, kidneys, belly, and heart.
No matter where the clot ends up, it can lead to a heart attack or stroke. It’s important to know the symptoms, especially if you’re at high risk. Here are the scary signs you may have a blood clot.
1. Pain in the leg or arm
Woman with arm ache | Triocean/Getty Images
A symptom of deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is pain in the affected limb. As the blood clot worsens, it can go from being a dull pain to more severe. Sometimes it is described as pressure caused by inflammation, and it’s often worse while walking. These types of blood clots can make their way to other areas of the body with devastating consequences.
Next: Don’t “panic” if you experience this symptom.
2. Panic attacks
Panic attacks are terrifying. | Tom Merton/Getty Images
This symptom may seem like it’s on the wrong list, but many people who have had a pulmonary embolism, or PE, reported feeling panic. If a blood clot travels to the lungs, it can severely hinder blood flow and oxygen to the body. This can cause similar symptoms to anxiety or panic attacks.
Next: See a doctor immediately for this scary sign.
3. Coughing up blood
Coughing is a concern. | Koldunov
This sounds like the stuff of nightmares, but it’s true. Coughing up blood is a sign there may be fluid buildup and lung inflammation. If a DVT makes its way to the lungs, you may see blood in your hand after coughing. Some mistake this as pneumonia, so it’s essential to think about all your symptoms together. Either way, you seek medical attain ASAP.
Next: This one will hurt …
4. Sharp chest pain
Experiencing chest pain | twinsterphoto/Getty Images
Sudden, sharp pain in the chest could indicate a PE. It often hurts a lot more when breathing — a scary sign that a blood clot has formed in or around the heart. If the pain is dull and in the arm, it may signal a heart attack. Pain from a PE is usually sharper, but it may also appear in the arms as well.
Next: Seek help fast if this happens.
5. Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath | FlamingoImages/Getty Images
Blood clots in the heart or lungs can make you feel shortness of breath or like you have a heavy weight on the chest. Others describe it as if you were breathing through a straw. Women’s Health explains it will feel like you just finished exercising even though you haven’t. Regardless, it’s a life-threatening sign you’re not getting enough oxygen.
Next: Most often, this is the first sign.
6. Increased heart rate
A rapid heart rate | ijeab/Getty Images
When arriving at the lungs, a blood clot blocks the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain and the rest of the body. To compensate, your heart will try to beat faster. An average heart rate is between 60-100 beats a minute. If a PE occurs, your resting heart rate can rise well above 100.
Next: This one can be seen and felt.
7. Leg or arm is warm or red
A hot knee | Motortion/Getty Images
If you notice a change the color of your arm or leg, it might be a sign you have DVT. These form in the deep veins of the arms or legs. If you have a DVT, it can block or slow blood flow to that arm or leg, changing the color. It can also make it feel warmer or even tingle. Don’t ignore these symptoms. DVT’s often make their way to the heart or lungs.
Next: Sometimes, this symptom is overlooked.
8. Vision problems
Man having vision trouble | fizkes/Getty Images
One of the lesser known symptoms, vision problems can occur when blood flow and oxygen diminish. Affecting one or both eyes, blurred vision can also occur if the blood clot is in the eye. This usually only happens after a traumatic injury to the area.
Next: Your clothes might not fit right.
9. Swelling in your leg or arm
Swollen arm | Horillaz/Getty Images
A major indicator of DVT is swelling in an arm or leg. The change can usually be seen and felt. You may notice a size difference when looking in the mirror or when your jeans fit too tight on one leg. If you have a DVT, you will usually be able to measure the difference. Call your doctor immediately if you suspect a blood clot.
Next: You might mistake this sign for gas at first.
10. Severe belly pain
Stomach pain | AaronAmat/Getty Images
Blood clots can form in veins that drain blood from the intestines. This can cause swelling and blockages. If this happens, you’ll notice severe abdominal pain. We’re talking about pain that makes you keel over. It’s often accompanied by bloating and discomfort. If belly pain occurs out of nowhere and worsens with digestion, let your doctor know.
Next: Take a peek in the potty.
11. Bloody stools
Toilet paper roll | cihancagli/Getty Images
Another scary sign is bloody stools. When a person develops a health problem, their bowel movements often change. If a blood clot forms or travels in the bowels or stomach, you might notice blood in your stools. According to WebMD, diverticulitis, birth control pills, and even liver disease can cause blood clots in the belly.
Next: Often called the silent killer
12. High blood pressure
High blood pressure is a concern. | Martin Barraud/Getty Images
People with high blood pressure already know they’re at high risk for heart attacks and strokes. But this symptom may occur because of a blood clot. It can happen to people who have never had high BP. When a blood clot forms in the kidneys, the body may struggle to remove waste, causing blood pressure to rise. Sudden onset of headaches, pounding in the chest, or fatigue can be signs of high blood pressure.
Next: Unless you ate bad takeout, don’t ignore this one.
13. Nausea and vomiting
The stomach says a lot. | AaronAmat/Getty Images
Sometimes blood clots form in the vessels in and around the digestive tract, including the stomach and intestines, which can cause nausea or vomiting. This symptom can be a problem if ignored. Many people will write it off to catching a bug or something they ate.
Next: This sign might be an obvious sign of a problem.
14. Sudden seizure
Seizures are serious. | Tunatura/Getty Images
Obviously, if you have a sudden seizure something isn’t right. But it’s important to know that blood clots in the brain can cause seizures. These clots can form because of trauma like a concussion, or they can come from other areas in the body and make their way up. If you are at high risk for blood clots or have recently hit your head, let your doctor know.
Next: Your kidneys are trying to tell you something.
15. Blood in urine
Toilet | sitthichai sun/Getty Images
Sometimes a blood clot can form or make its way to the kidneys. When this happens, a person might notice blood in their urine. It is important to know that seeing blood in the toilet, does not automatically mean you have a blood clot. It is just one symptom that can occur.
Because the kidney’s handle the body’s waste, it often alerts you to a problem this way. If it is due to a clot, you may also notice the next scary sign on the list.
- Posted on: Jun 21 2018
- By: charles dietzek
Minor blood clotting, natural blood coagulation, is part of healing from bruises cuts. These clots are typically broken down by the body and go away on their own, once your injury has healed, but never take chances. Blood clots can be very dangerous if they go undiscovered and untreated. That’s why it’s important to err on the side of caution. Always seek medical attention if you suspect a clot, or show symptoms of vein problems, described below, that may require vein treatment.
Who Is Likely to Get Blood Clots or Vein Problems?
If you’ve recently had a surgical procedure, are prone to blood clots through family history, or are traveling long distances without stretching your legs, you could be vulnerable to blood clots that require expert vein treatment. Vein problems, from spider veins to varicose veins, to the most serious DVT emergencies (deep vein thrombosis) should always be investigated to ensure your vein health. Vascular exams are quick, convenient and painless at your NJ vein clinic.
Remember, blood clots may have no symptoms. Blood clot risk factors include:
- Recent surgery or injury/trauma
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Pregnancy or birth control pills
- Age (especially when over 60)
- Underlying disease, like diabetes or inflammatory conditions
- Recent placement of an IV line (intravenous medication or blood administered)
Signs That You May Have Vein Problems
Watch for these symptoms of vein disorders or blood clots and seek vein treatment at our local vein clinics:
- Small webs (clusters) of red or blue-ish veins under facial skin, chest, legs or other areas (usually superficial spider veins)
- Bulging or discolored veins that may feel solid, often in the legs (varicose veins)
- Pain in the legs or a heavy feeling
- Pins-and-needles or numbness in lower legs
- Swollen ankles (possibly due to partially blocked veins, possible local blood clotting, and chronically poor circulation)
- Darkened, thickened skin on lower legs/ankles
- Sores or wounds near ankles that heal slowly, which can lead to serious, quickly-spreading infections (cellulitis)
- Pain or a pulling sensation in your thigh or lower leg*
- Red, swollen area that feels hot to the touch*
*These can be signs of a DVT blood clot, which requires emergency care. A DVT can travel to the lungs causing breathing difficulty, pulmonary embolism, and even death.
Why Vein Treatment Matters
Even slight vein problems can compromise your quality of life, if not diagnosed and treated promptly. Over time, the condition of your veins can deteriorate and can interfere with healthy circulation throughout your body. Even when circulation is not completely blocked with a DVT blood clot, your health can still be at risk from smaller clots or vein valve problems. Chronic poor circulation slowly robs your extremities of oxygen and nutrients needed for cell growth.
Where to Get Expert Vein Treatment in NJ
At the Vein & Vascular Institute, we have several locations in New Jersey offering convenient diagnosis and treatment for vein problems. With proper vein care, as recommended by your vein doctor, we can help you prevent (avoid worsening of) vein problems and maintain your vein health for life. Contact the Vein & Vascular Institute in NJ, today.
Posted in: Vein Treatment
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Can a Blood Clot in Your Leg Dissolve on Its Own?
By Vein911 June 15th, 2018
Many patients are curious to know whether a blood clot that has developed in the leg can dissolve on its own or does it require them to undergo a minimally invasive vein treatment procedure. After all, it formed naturally maybe the body can heal itself naturally. Unfortunately, answering this question is more difficult than providing a “yes” or “no” answer.
The Brief and Simple Answer
The brief and simple answer to whether or not blood clots in the legs can dissolve on their own is “yes”. However, even though the blood clot can dissolve naturally, you will want to make sure you have a doctor monitoring the situation.
Monitoring of the Blood Clot is Necessary to Avoid Serious Health Problems
Once a blood clot has formed in the veins of the leg, the body instantly starts to work to dissolve the clot so blood flow isn’t restricted or blocked. While this sounds like a good thing, it could lead to potentially serious, even fatal problems.
A serious problem, known as pulmonary embolism, can occur if a blood clot that has started to dissolve on its own doesn’t dissolve completely and instead breaks off from the walls of the veins and travels to the lungs. If this happens it can damage the lungs and cause serious complications.
In an effort to avoid the development of serious complications, a doctor may allow a blood clot, depending on its size, to dissolve on its own. However, your doctor will monitor your symptoms and watch for the possible development of pulmonary embolism.
How are Blood Clots in the Leg Treated?
If your doctor believes that you aren’t at risk for a pulmonary embolism, he or she may recommend that you let your body naturally dissolve the blood clot. However, if your doctor believes your health is at risk or you may develop a pulmonary embolism, he or she may recommend a procedure known as a catheter-directed thrombolysis.
Catheter-directed thrombolysis is designed to quickly break up the blood clot. Quickly breaking up the blood clot and dissolving it allows the body to restore blood flow to the veins and prevents any serious problems from developing.
Due to the risks involved with catheter-directed thrombolysis doctors will only use it when it is a medical emergency. If you are not in immediate danger, your doctor may recommend other treatment options or other less minimally invasive procedures.
Prevention is Important for Blood Clots
After you experience a blood clot in the leg, your chances of experiencing another blood clot increases. To avoid future problems that can develop from deep vein thrombosis or a pulmonary embolism, your doctor may work closely with you to make sure blood clots don’t form in the future.
The most common way to prevent blood clots from forming is with blood thinners. The thinner the blood is, the less likely it is to clot. Other treatment recommendations could include exercising more, making changes to your lifestyle, and avoiding prolonged periods of sitting.
If you suspect you may have a blood clot, don’t wait to see if something serious will happen. Call Vein911 in Tampa, Florida to schedule an appointment with Dr. Chris Pittman. Dr. Pittman can help treat your blood clot and provide you with recommendations on how to prevent future blood clots from forming. Call our office today to schedule an appointment to discuss blot clots or other vein problems such as varicose veins or spider veins.