When flowing freely in the bloodstream, this mass can partially or totally block an artery or vein, which is a condition known as thrombosis.
Given that our entire body is connected by blood vessels, a blood clot could travel anywhere, which is extremely dangerous.
If it moves to the heart, brain or lungs, there’s a risk of it getting stuck and causing an embolism or a cardiovascular accident.
There are two types of blood clots:
- Arterial. These are blood clots that form in the arteries and hinder oxygen from reaching principal organs.
- Clots can cause countless complications such as heart attacks, cerebrovascular nerve paralysis and intense pain.
- Venous. Venous blood clots form slowly in the veins, which is why the symptoms appear over time.
- They commonly appear in the arms, legs and pelvic area.
- Generally, these clots remain immobile. However, there is always a risk that they might move and become a serious health risk.
Risk factors for blood clotting
Some situations might increase the risk of having blood clots such as the following:
- Staying in the same position for a long period of time puts pressure on blood vessels, which impedes blood flow.
- Long travels exceeding four hours are also factors that can cause blood clots.
- Sitting down for long periods of time doesn’t allow blood to flow correctly, thus, possibly resulting in blood clots.
- Spending long periods of time in bed or relaxing.
- Certain contraceptive pills.
- Family history.
- Sedentary lifestyle.
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Look out for these signs
1. Inexplainable cough and breathing difficulties
A clot in the lungs slows down oxygen flow, which makes your heart rate quicken.
The faster pace paired with breathing difficulties are usually an alerting sign signalling a pulmonary embolism.
2. Mood changes
Symptoms such as irritability, confusion, hallucinations or convulsions can warn us of an existing danger of an arterial thrombosis in the brain.
This happens when a blood clot obstructs the regular flow of oxygen and glucose in the bloodstream. As a result, the brain can’t work as it should.
When the body has a blood clot, it activates its defense organisms, which can sometimes lead to fatigue or exhaustion.
It’s often difficult to diagnose fatigue symptoms, which is why it’s so important to be wary of other possible symptoms.
In many cases, you’ll experience fatigue for no apparent reason. It may occur even after fully resting at night.
4. Swollen limbs
This condition is known as deep vein thrombosis. It impedes blood flow in the circulatory system, which hinders oxygen from reaching vital organs in the body.
You should be very cautious if your limb swells up quickly, especially if it’s painful as well. Don’t mistake it for swelling caused by liquid retention.
5. Arm or leg pain
This is a localized and sharp pain. It often occurs when walking or bending limbs.
A numbness may also be present along with the pain.
6. Bulging veins
Bulging veins don’t cause complications or major problems. However, when a blood clot exerts pressure on blood vessels, it cause lead to internal ruptures, reddening or bruising.
Sometimes, varicose veins can appear as a result of a venous thrombosis in the legs.
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7. Red lines on skin
When you’re showing red lines along your veins, you should check for other changes in your skin.
You should also be wary of mood changes to rule out the possibility of an arterial thrombosis. These red lines will make your limbs warm to the touch.
When you have a blood clot and it loosens into your blood stream, it can cause a fever. The fever often comes with sweating, shaking, migraines, dehydration, physical weakness and poor appetite.
Recommendations for preventing blood clots
- Try to eat foods rich in vitamin B3, C and E for good blood circulation. Examples are garlic, zinc, magnesium, manganese and mineral supplements.
- Quit smoking. Cigarettes increase the formation of blood clots.
- Keep a healthy weight, that’s right for your height and body size. You can keep in shape through exercise.
- Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are the main factors that cause cardiovascular accidents and heart attacks that result from loose blood clots in the bloodstream.
- Be careful if you take oral contraceptives as hormones increase blood clotting.