What are the Signs of a blood Clot in Arm, Leg, Lungs, heart & Treatment
Clotting the blood is the body’s way of preventing the excessive loss of the blood, in case if you get a cut or are injured. However, a clot developed inside the veins, and isn’t dissolving on its own, can lead to life-threatening situations. So, it is necessary to identify the signs of a blood clot. And if you suspect that you have one, then contact your doctor immediately.
The formation of a blood clot takes place when a clump of blood changes its state from liquid to semisolid or gel-like form. A lump that is immobile isn’t harmful, but if it starts moving, then it can become dangerous, as it can get stuck in the blood vessels in lungs and hurts, and prevents the flow of blood. This is typically a medical emergency and expects you to get yourself checked by a healthcare professional.
5 Most Common Causes of blood clot you should know
The primary reasons that can lead to the triggering of the clotting mechanism are leakage in the blood vessels. These leakages are usually caused by broken bones, nosebleeds, scrapes or cuts, and sprains. However, in case of the heart, these occur after a heart attack, as its damaged areas are unable to work in coordination with the other parts.
The clotting of blood in veins (also known as Deep Vein Thrombosis) occurs when the muscles aren’t able to pull the blood back towards the heart, and the stagnation results in the formation of tiny lumps on the walls of the vessels. These globules, then, can grow to block it partially or entirely; and can stop the blood from getting back to the heart.
An Arterial blood clot is usually the result of the atherosclerotic disease, a condition in which the deposition of plaque obstructs and narrows the vessels. Therefore, such a blood clot causes peripheral artery disease, stroke, or even a heart attack.
Signs of a blood clot in arm or leg
According to Doctor Akram Alashari, a physician and trauma surgeon at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, most of the cases that he deals every day are of patients with the blood clots in their lower legs. The blood clot symptoms in arm or leg include:
- Reddish discoloration
- A warm Sensation
Obviously, these signs depend on the extent to which the clot is affecting your body part. For example, a minor swelling might not show any signs, but in case of larger lumps, the pain can take over the entire leg.
Signs of a blood clot in heart
A hurting chest is one of the most common symptoms. It is important to note that even though the heart is not a common position for a blood clot to happen; but it can still occur, and can even lead to a heart attack. Other symptoms include shortness of breath and lightheadedness.
Signs of a blood clot in lungs
A blood clot that happens in the lungs, also known by the name of Pulmonary Embolism (PE), is identified by various symptoms include chest pain, coughing up blood, breathing problems, rapid heart rate, palpitations, or sudden breath shortness. Such a condition can lead to two serious issues. Either the supply of blood to the lungs gets compromised, and the affected tissues die or the blockage results in the decreased functionality of the lungs and causes hypoxia
What are the Risk factors associated with blood clots?
Certain risk factors can heighten up the chances for you to develop a blood clot, e.g., if you have recently been in the hospital for, somewhat, long time or have undergone a major surgery, then there is an increased risk of blood development within your body. Other common factors include:
- Age, mainly if you are above the age of 65 years
- Prolonged bed rest
- Family history
- The use of birth control pills
What happens if a blood clot travels from leg to lungs?
If there is a lot of blood in a vein of arm or leg, then there is a risk that it may break off and move towards the lungs and the heart. There, it stops the proper functioning of lungs by lodging in a pulmonary artery. So one can say that DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) can also cause pulmonary embolism.
Diagnosis of blood clots
Just as we mentioned above, blot clot can lead to fatal medical situations, and might also be considered in the differential diagnosis of the patient. In the preparation of a differential diagnosis, a health-care professional listens to the patients describing their symptoms and signs and lists down the potential diseases.
According to medical experts, the clot, itself, is not the main issue. In fact, it is the position of the clot and the effect which it poses to the flow of the blood. So the doctor might also want to explore the situations or risk factors involved in putting the patient in such a condition.
Most of the venal blood clots develop gradually with a slow onset of discoloration, pain, swelling. Arterial thrombus, on the other hand, happens acutely. This is because the tissues are in constant need of oxygen, and due to the cutoff of the blood supply, the symptoms start appearing immediately.
- Physical Examination
There are several things that the doctor might want to check during the inspection. This checkup will help in gathering additional information about the situation. These points include, but are not limited to:
- An EKG and heart monitoring to assess the heart rhythm and rate
- Blood pressure, body temperature, respiratory rate, pulse rate, as well as the oxygen saturation in RBCs (Red Blood Cells).
- Examine the lungs to check for a possible pulmonary embolus.
How to get rid of a blood clot
Learning how to treat a blood clot depends on their location. Moreover, the same can be said about the method of treatment, i.e., clots can be treated aggressively, or they might not require anything more than symptom relievers.
- For Venous Blood Clots
The signs of a blood clot in the deep venal systems often call for blood thinning medications (anticoagulants). According to a report put forward by the American College for Chest Physicians, the patients with PE (Pulmonary Embolism) or DVT without any active cancer, can be treated using NOAC medications. Whereas, those patients who have cancer should use low molecular weight heparin (Lovenox).
The direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs), more commonly known as NOACs, work by inhibiting different factors involved in the clotting process. These inhibition actions are performed by several components including Edoxaban, Rivaroxaban, and Apixaban. However, the direct thrombin inhibition is done by dabigatran (present in Pradaxa).
Heparin is often injected under the skin to anticoagulated the patient, and “thin” the blood. Since warfarin, dabigatran, and Edoxaban take a long time before they reach a therapeutic level in the patient’s body, the Heparin is used as a bridge treatment for patients with PE or DVT.
- For Arterial Blood Clots
More aggressive methods are generally implemented for dealing with the blood clots in arteries. In not so severe cases, the medication may directly be applied to the lump to dissolve it, but if the situation calls for it, then the doctor might also recommend going through surgery. Tenecteplase (TNKase) or Activase (Alteplase) are commonly implemented tissue plasminogen activator medications to restore the supply of the blood in the body.
Wen to call a doctor
The diagnosis of blood clots just by using their symptoms is a complicated process. CDC says that more than 50% of people affected by DVT show almost no signs, which is why it is better to give your doctor a visit if you think you have one. So, pay proper attention to the signs of a blood clot, particularly the ones that appear out of nowhere. If you experience chest pressure, sudden breath shortness, or difficulty in seeing, speaking or breathing, seek immediate medical treatment.