Your blood clots as a way to prevent you from losing too much blood when you bleed. When you stop bleeding, the blood clot breaks up and dissolves away. While blood clots are a healthy and normal thing in most cases, a blood clot can sometimes be dangerous.
Here are five important facts vein doctors want you to know about blood clots.
5 Important Facts about Blood Clots
1. Blood clots can be dangerous
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) are two types of dangerous blood clots. DVT is a condition in which a blood clot develops in a vein deep inside the body. A DVT blood clot is dangerous because it blocks the flow of blood to a part of your body. DVT blood clots can also break off and travel to the lungs, where they can cause pulmonary embolism.
Between 60,000 and 100,000 people in the United States die from DVT and PE every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
2. Blood clots may or may not cause symptoms
Many people with DVT blood clots do not experience symptoms. When people do have symptoms of deep vein thrombosis, the symptoms usually affect the area of the body where the clot is and may include swelling, redness, tenderness, and pain. Symptoms of a PE blood clot in the lung include trouble breathing, fast or abnormal heartbeat, chest discomfort that gets worse when taking deep breaths or coughing, coughing up blood and feeling light-headed or fainting.
3. Certain factors increase your risk of blood clots
Risk factors for blood clots include a personal or family history of blood clots, being over the age of 60, smoking, being overweight or obese, having a sedentary lifestyle, having recent surgery, or being sick in bed for longer than one day. Having varicose veins may also increase your risk of blood clots.
4. You can reduce your risk of blood clots
You can take steps to prevent blood clots. Stretch, stand up and walk around every hour while you are awake and when you can, as exercise stimulates blood circulation. Engage in regular exercises, such as dancing, swimming or riding a bike. Quit smoking – smoking slows down blood flow to increase your risk of clots.
5. There is vein treatment for blood clots
Vein doctors can treat blood clots with medications known as blood thinners, or anticoagulants. Vein treatment with blood thinners helps prevent new clots and stop existing clots from getting bigger.
If you think you have blood clots, or if you would like more information about blood clots, contact your vein doctor. Your vein specialist can provide valuable information on your risk for blood clots, preventing blood clots, and treating them when they occur.
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