A blood clot is a clump of blood that has changed from a liquid to a gel-like form. This is a normal and helpful reaction by your body when you have a cut or are injured, stopping blood from flowing out of your body. When this occurs inside your veins, they often dissolve on their own, and even then they might not move (making it relatively harmless). However, if they do move, they can become quite dangerous. Once mobile, a blood clot could move into your heart or lungs, preventing blood from flowing through your body and becoming life threatening.
Your risk for getting a blood clot rises with long periods of inactivity (including hospital stays, bed rest, or lengthy travel). You are also more at risk for them after major surgery or during pregnancy. Lifestyle choices like smoking and obesity can also increase the likelihood of getting a blood clot.
It is possible to have a blood clot without symptoms, but there are usually warning signs that appear. The signs and symptoms may vary, depending on the location of the clot.
Blood Clots in your arm or leg:
- Pain or tenderness
- Warming sensations
- Pale or bluish discoloration on your skin
Blood Clots in your heart or lungs:
- Pain or heaviness in your chest
- Shortness of breath or have problems breathing
- Start to cough
Blood clot in the abdomen:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Severe pain in your belly, which may be worse after you eat
- Bloody stools
- A sensation that feels like you’re bloated
Blood Clot in your brain:
- Sudden or severe headache
- Difficulty speaking
- Sudden vision impairment
- General feeling of weakness
Contact your doctor immediately if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Contact emergency services if you are experiencing shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chest pain or pressure, or difficulty seeing or speaking.