Have you ever thought how your blood has the most crucial job of all? It has to keep on pumping throughout each and every organ of your body, for as long as you are breathing.
When you do not have enough blood in the body, you become more prone to many different kinds of diseases and some can be life threatening.
Sometimes, your blood performs the important function of clotting. When you injure or cut yourself, your blood assumes a gel-like texture to cut off its flow and prevent excess loss of blood.
Not all blood clots are good for the body. There are times when the blood clots may occur deep inside your veins, especially the veins in your legs, and have nothing to do with an injury or cut. This condition is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
There are many factors that could lead to DVT in an individual. Most common among these include smoking, obesity, pregnancy, heart and lung disease, cancer (especially of the brain, bone, pancreas, ovaries and lymphomas), chemotherapy, hormone therapy (such as being on birth control pills), and inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
One of the leading causes of DVT is immobility, and usually happens after a person has had major surgery or an accident that renders him or her unable to move actively.
Genetics also plays an important role in determining whether a person is prone to developing DVT. But, in some cases, DVT can happen for no apparent reason.
DVT can be an extremely dangerous and potentially life-threatening condition.
When there is a blood clot in the lungs this is call pulmonary embolism, which calls for serious medical attention.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that around 60,000 to 100,000 Americans find out that they have DVT or PE each year.
Even though DVT is largely asymptomatic, it does produce symptoms in some people that are definitely worth knowing. Simple awareness of these symptoms could prevent a serious illness and even death.
Here are 10 signs and symptoms of an unnatural blood clot that you should know.
Swelling, especially in the leg(s) and often called leg edema, is one of the primary and classic symptoms of DVT.
You may notice a difference in the appearance and feeling in one leg compared to the other. Additionally, you may feel like there is fluid buildup in your leg as you stand up and begin to walk.
Even though a swollen leg could mean many things, when it is combined with the risk factors of DVT along with its other symptoms, you have reason enough to suspect DVT and look for appropriate medical attention.
According to a 2009 study published in the European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, one of the most common and significant symptoms of DVT is leg edema.
So, an unnatural swelling of the leg is not always a reaction to an intense workout session likely to resolve itself, but could be indicative of a blood clot.
- Pain & Tenderness
Leg pain is one of the most common symptoms of DVT, stated a study that was performed in 2000 and was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
You may feel a sharp and/or burning leg pain and tenderness for a variety of reasons, and it may be located anywhere in the leg.
Around 50 to 75 percent of patients who are suffering of DVT and show symptoms are likely to experience pain. DVT patients are likely to experience the most consistent and extreme pain when they are walking, because it puts pressure on the blood clot.
People who notice this pain tend to take breaks while they are walking and for some people the pain will come back as soon as they continue walking.
If you feel any pain while you are walking, take a break and if you feel the pain again when you begin to walk, it’s best to see a doctor. Another way you can check if you have a problem is by squeezing your calf and experiencing immediately a sharp pain.
A person with DVT will also feel pain if they lift their leg up in a straight position and pull their toes toward themselves with their hands. This is called the Homan’s Test for DVT.
- Unusual Warmth
A person who has a DVT blood clot in their leg can feel unusual warmth in the area where the clot has developed. This is accompanied by other symptoms, such as swelling and pain.
Every time you experience pain after walking, and you are stopping and/or sitting down to take a break, run your hand over the area from where you feel the pain emanating.
- Skin Discoloration
If you have DVT, you may notice a certain part of your leg assuming an unusual color, becoming blue or red in color. This is likely because of a blood clot developing under the discolored area.
Because a blood clot is, essentially, a trauma to the vein, it causes inflammation of the vein, manifesting itself via a visible discoloration on the skin’s surface. This irritated part of the skin may or may not become flaky and excessively dry. It can cause an itching problem.
If this happens, you are advised to not scratch the area, because it could further aggravate the skin as well as the underlying blood clot.
A person who is suffering from DVT might feel weakness in their quadriceps which is located in the middle of the thighs. It might feel as if they can’t hold their own body weight.
Dizziness and mental weakness usually come to this feeling. This feeling may occur after resting for a little or when consuming a lot of fluids.
This is not one of the primary and most common symptoms of DVT, but it does occur in many patients and thus is worth keeping an eye out for.
The above symptoms indicate a blood clot in the leg, which has not yet detached itself.
The following symptoms represent an advanced stage of DVT and the onset of pulmonary embolism (PE). It is a condition in which the blood clot in the leg detaches itself, travels to the lungs and blocks blood flow. PE is potentially fatal.
A symptom of DVT is a low-grade fever, which has progressed to an advanced stage. According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Thrombolysis, a fever is a common symptom and may indicate serious outcomes.
- Shortness of Breath
This is also a very alarming symptom that happens to people who have had DVT for a while and indicates pulmonary embolism. Shortness of breath is a clear-cut indication that there is a blood clot in the lungs, obstructing not only the blood flow through the lungs but also the airflow, which will result in obstructed breathing.
According to a 2007 study published in the American Journal of Medicine Dyspnea, shortness of breath is the most common symptom of PE, with the majority of PE patients suffering from it.
The breathing may also be abnormally quick and rapid.
- Chest Pain
When a person’s lungs are blocked because of the settling of a blood clot in the lungs, they feel the extreme strain when trying to breath, which often results in a sharp chest pain.
According to a 2013 study published in Experimental and Clinical Cardiology, many of the patients with advanced DVT and PE are likely to report chest pain.
Coughing is another symptom of advanced DVT and PE-associated shortness of breath.
It is a sign of the obstruction caused by a blood clot that has travelled to the lungs. In this way it makes breathing impossible.
- Extreme Sweating
A person who has DVT for a while and possibly PE will experience a great amount of sweating along with many of the symptoms above. They are also likely to feel light-headed, as if they could pass out any minute.
Night sweats are common in patients of PE, and can help detect PE at an early stage, stated in a 2015 study published in Case Reports in Pulmonology.
The blood clot in the leg can not only travel to the person’s lungs, but also their heart and brain, which can cause a heart attack or a stroke.
So, if you notice any of the above symptoms at any point of your life, it is best to get it properly diagnosed.