Blood clots tend to be fast acting, difficult to see coming, and unfortunately fatal in many cases.
If you have a family history of blood clots or find yourself concerned about their manifestation in your body, finding the warning signs is not going to a simple task.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in up to half of all cases, there are no warning signs whatsoever for blood clots. The insidious nature of this condition may result in an unexpected heart attack or stroke regardless of whether or not you’ve seen the warning signs.
That’s why prevention is far more important in the case of blood clots. By eating right, getting enough exercise, and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle or resting for long periods of time, you can stop a blood clot far before it ever begins. However, if you’ve already taken pre-emptive measures to stop blood clots or are taking medication to keep your blood thinner and less susceptive to the disease, keep reading to learn a few of the warning signs of blood clots you need to know.
Pain & Discoloration
The most common and least telling warning sign of blood clots has to be the general swelling and discoloration that you’ll see in the affected area. Many blood clots begin as Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) before resulting in a stroke or a heart attack, and typically manifest themselves in the legs or lower body. When a DVT forms, you can expect to feel pain similar to a cramp or a charley horse in the affected area. Discoloration from the blocked passage will also result, and could look like reddish inflammation or a bluish bruise.
Since this specific symptom is rather ubiquitous to many other conditions of varying degrees of severity, we recommend being careful to declare a swollen area a DVT unless you’ve experienced one before or see this warning sign in conjunction with others.
Ways of distinguishing a DVT from a bruise or other form of injury includes seeing the swelling in only one limb or expressing pain that’s not quite like other injuries you’ve had in the past.
Shortness of Breath & Heart Rate
A DVT is often a prerequisite for a Pulmonary Embolism (PE). A PE is more in line with what you may be familiar with. PE can be a fatal condition in which the heart experiences a blockage, often from a DVT breaking off and flowing through the bloodstream to the heart.
Warning signs for a PE are often pretty severe, and one of the most common symptoms includes a shortness of breath and an elevated heart rate. These will come almost instantaneously as you experience a PE, which allows it to be distinguished from other congestive heart conditions.
Blood clot or not, if you experience a sudden shortness of breath and feel a racing heart, call a doctor or go to a hospital immediately. These symptoms can mean anything from a stroke to a debilitating panic attack, and needs to be taken seriously.
Chest Pain & Pressure
A PE severely impacts your heart’s ability to pump blood to much-needed areas, and your core and chest may be the first to feel the adverse effects. A sudden and sharp pain in the chest that correlates to breathing difficulty or any of our other warning signs can quickly help you determine a blood clot or blood clot-induced condition like a heart attack. This is especially true if you feel great pressure on the chest or experience a loss of feeling and motion in one of your arms or legs.
While intimately related to blood clots, these specific symptoms are more indicative of a heart attack than anything else, so it is best to take immediate action and call an ambulance. These symptoms can get worse or better as suddenly as they’ve arrived, so don’t leave it up to chance and delay even a moment in getting medical attention.
Coughing Up Blood
Finally, a cough that results in a bloody sputum is a sure sign of either a blood clot or other life-threatening condition.
Unlike conditions such as bronchitis, which will result in a thick or green sputum cough, blood clot-induced coughing will often be instantaneous and result in a thick red or brown sputum. The instantaneous nature of this cough can often mean that your lungs and respiratory passages are filling with blood—either from a blood clot-induced rupture or other previously uncovered ailment.
Coughing up blood, especially in conjunction with these other symptoms needs to be treated as quickly as possible. If these symptoms arrive instantaneously, they need to be dealt with just as quickly.
If you’re concerned about blood clots or know that you have a family history of heart attacks and strokes, talk to your doctor about preventative care so that these warning signs can be avoided before they appear.
Ask to be prescribed blood thinning medications if you’re eligible and utilize discounts or pharmacy cards to lower your Eliquis cost or the cost of whatever medication you’ve been prescribed. It cannot be stressed enough that immediate medical attention for serious signs of a blood clot will greatly increase your ability to survive and thrive long after the ill effects of a blood clot wear off.
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