You may not hear much about blood clots, but they are a serious health condition that can even be fatal. Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body. Blood clots occur when blood thickens and clumps together.
These clots can happen anywhere in the body, but usually occur in the lower leg or thigh.
Blood clots may dissolve on their own, but if they don’t and are left untreated, the clots can detach and travel through your bloodstream to your lungs, blocking blood flow and causing pulmonary embolism.
Protect yourself and know these nine potentially life-threatening warning signs:
Swelling – This can happen in the exact spot where the blood clot forms, or your entire leg or arm could puff up.
Change in color – You might notice that your arm or leg takes on a red or blue tinge, or gets warm or itchy.
Pain – As the clot gets worse, you may hurt or get sore. The feeling can range from a dull ache to intense pain.
Lower leg cramp – If the clot is in your calf or lower leg, you may feel like you have a cramp or charley horse.
A blood clot that travels to your lungs is called a pulmonary embolism (PE). Symptoms that could be a sign of a PE are:
– Sudden shortness of breath that isn’t caused by exercise
– Chest pain
– Palpitations, or rapid heart rate
– Breathing problems
– Coughing up blood