9 Warning Signs Your Body Gives You Before a Blood Clot Forms

Wouldn’t it be great to know if you’re going to get sick ahead of time so you can do something before it hits you? While it doesn’t always work like that with the flu or a cold, there are some signs that your body will give off when a blood cot begins to form.

What is a blood clot?

A blood clot is pretty much what it sounds like: a clump of blood. But it’s when the texture of the blood changes from liquid to a more gel-like state—essentially what happens when you get a cut: you bleed for it a bit, but it eventually stops because the blood coagulates into a more solid state, which stops the blood flow.

However, there are times when blood cots are more serious—like when one forms inside of your major veins. This is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

If the blood clot stays where it is in your body, it’s usually not harmful, but if left untreated, it can travel through your veins to your heart and lungs. A blood clot in the lungs is called pulmonary embolism (PE). This can be fatal and requires medical attention.

About 900,000 Americans a year are affected by DVT with PE, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 100,000 Americans die from these types of blood clots each year.

While signs of a blood clot depend on the type of blood clot you’re experiencing, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs before they get worse.

Here are 9 of the signs you want to look out for:

  1. Racing heart.

    A blood clot in your lungs may be limiting the flow of oxygen in your lungs and a speedy heart rate may occur. In simple terms, the heart is trying to compensate for the shortage and may start beating rapidly.

  2. Chest pain.

    Many people having a pulmonary embolism believe it’s actually a heart attack because the pain is similar. However, the hallmark sign it could be a blood clot if the pain is sharp or stabbing, and feels worse when you take a deep breath. The pain might get worse with every breath you take.

  3. Shortness of breath.

    Speaking of breath, a blood clot in your lung might make it difficult to breathe due to the slowing of oxygen flow. You might even suddenly feel faint, like you’re about to pass out.

  4. Unexplained cough.

    People usually associated a cough with a cold or strep throat, but if you have a dry cough with no logical explanation that seems to have come out of no where, it could be the sign of a pulmonary embolism. If you cough up mucus or blood, call for medical help immediately.

  5. Skin discoloration.

    If you have deep vein thrombosis, it may cause a patch or steak of redness on our arm or leg. It might also feel warm and tender when you touch it.

  6. Sudden swelling.

    If you notice one ankle or shin suddenly becomes swollen, this could be a sign of a deep vein thrombosis. This might happen if the flow of blood in the legs is being blocked, causing blood to pool behind the clot and puff up.

  7. Arm or leg pain.

    This might simply feel like muscle cramping, but pay attention if pain is worse when you’re walking or when you flex your foot upward. The skin around the pain may be red, swollen, or warm as well.

  8. Vomiting.

    . If you have mesenteric ischemia (a fancy way of saying a blood clot in your abdomen), it could cause you to become nauseous and throw up. This usually goes along with bad pain in the abdomen area.

  9. Impaired vision.

    Can’t see well out of one of your eyes? It could be a sign of central retinal artery occlusion, especially if loss of vision is coupled with vertigo and balance problems.

If you even think you might have a blood clot, don’t hesitate to call your health care professional to get evaluated.



Johns Hopkins

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