Blood clots are also referred as thrombus. Dangerous blood clots are often called Venous thromboembolism or pulmonary embolism. 2,000,000 people in America develop some sort of blood clot each year. Deep vein thrombosis may lead to pulmonary embolism, and 200,000 die each year from this disease of the blood.
As you may know, blood is a liquid. This special liquid is contained in blood vessels and is pumped by the heart. Blood contains four ingredients, red and white blood cells, plasma and platelets. Your body is designed to make blood clots to heal you, but not all clots are a good thing. The ‘bad’ blood clots may form because of one of a few factors. High blood pressure and cholesterol, smoking and diabetes, and even family history can make you more prone to blood clots. Venous clots, (what we refer to as the bad blood clots) are caused by one of two things, being immobile for a period of time, or genetic errors.
Untreated venous clots can lead to such things as heart attack, stroke, and even death. Initial symptoms of blood clots can be warmth in the area of the clot, swelling, redness and pain. Of course internal blood clots are less easy to read. Symptoms of clots in areas such as the lungs are pain, lack of oxygen, and possibly heart attack or stroke.
Clots that do not cause such major incidents as a stroke or a heart attack can be diagnosed one of two ways. Your doctor can preform a ultrasound, or inject a special dye into your bloodstream. This dye will collect around a blood clot and can be seen in an xray.
Thrombus can be treated in several ways. Clots in arms and legs can be eased by putting a warm compress and acetaminophen. Venous and Arterial clots are treated more seriously. Venous clots are usually treated by a blood thinning medicine. Some patients may be kept in the hospital and given this medicine through an IV. Arterial clots occasionally need to be removed through surgery.
You can reduce your risk of blood clots, by maintaining your health (cholesterol, and diabetes risks), and refraining from smoking. Also inform your doctor of any family history of clots.