All You Need To Know About Pulmonary Embolism

Medical, Pulmonary Embolism • 29 Nov 2011

A pulmonary embolism is a life-threatening condition in which a person is unable to breathe. It can occur over time but usually the symptoms have a sudden onset. What some people are not aware of is that this type of embolism occurring in the lungs is from a result of a blood clot.

What Are The Signs and Symptoms?

When a physician examines the patient they will find someone who has the main symptoms and signs of a pulmonary embolism such as pain in the chest, pale colour, sweating, shortness of breath and difficulty exercising.
This is a serious situation that occurs when the vessels that enter and leave the lungs become clogged by a blood clot. When this happens oxygen-rich blood cannot leave the lungs and oxygen-poor blood is unable to enter to release its carbon dioxide. Therefore, without enough oxygen, the tissues and organs of the body begin to suffer. Unfortunately, this will occur in all organs such as the liver, brain and heart. Thus without oxygen a pulmonary embolism can lead to a stroke or heart attack. These conditions can be fatal if not treated in adequate time.

What Causes Pulmonary Embolism?

The causes of pulmonary embolism can also occur quickly or over time. Some women can develop blood clots while they are pregnant. The pregnant woman’s blood will go through changes that affect its flow and viscosity. Her blood becomes more thick and is prone to clotting.
Some people might not be aware that health conditions such as recovery from surgery, cancer or anything that involves prolonged bed rest can put people at risk for developing a pulmonary embolism. These conditions create ideal situations for clots to form.
In rare instances taking birth control pills may also cause a pulmonary embolism if a clot forms from high estrogen levels.

What Treatment Is Available?

The main treatment for a pulmonary embolism is to destroy the blood clot and resume blood flow. The blood flow can be restored by using a blood thinner called Heparin that thins the clot and causes it to breakdown. Afterwards, the person will be given another medication called Warfarin that prevents the blood from clotting.

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