Our veins and arteries work hard, sending blood to our vital organs and forming clots to help our bodies when we get a cut or scrape. However, sometimes blood clots that aren’t needed are created, which can be dangerous if not treated properly.
Blood clots can affect anyone; however, there are risk factors that can make them more likely to occur. The four major risk factors for dangerous blood clots are cancer, hospitalization, surgery, and pregnancy. Other risk factors include birth control containing estrogen, trauma, immobility or sitting for long periods, a family history of blood clots, and smoking.
New medical research has shown a history of COVID-19 infection as a new risk factor for blood clots. This research has shown that patients are at an elevated risk of blood clots for one year after contracting COVID-19. With over 8.6 million confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Texas reported by the Texas Department of State Health Services on August 21, 2023, there will likely be an increased number of blood clot patients in the future.
There are two types of blood clots: a deep vein thrombosis and a pulmonary embolism. Both types require medical attention, so it’s essential to recognize the signs and symptoms.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
A deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot in the arm or leg. While less serious, DVTs are more common and require medical attention to prevent the clot from breaking off and forming a pulmonary embolism. Look for the following symptoms to recognize a DVT:
- Swollen, painful veins
- Swelling in the spot of the blood clot or on the entire limb in which a dimple forms when you press on the swollen area
- A red or blue tinge in the arm or leg
- Pain ranging from a dull ache to an intense throbbing
Pulmonary Embolism (PE)
A pulmonary embolism is a blood clot in the lung. Most PEs start with a blood clot forming in a deep vein that breaks off and travels to your lung. PEs are more dangerous and urgent than a DVT, so being aware of the symptoms is essential. Common symptoms of a PE include the following:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain that worsens with a deep breath or lying down
- Coughing up blood
- A faster-than-normal or irregular heartbeat
Diagnosis and Medical Care
If you are experiencing any symptoms of a blood clot, you should seek medical attention immediately. Doctors can use a variety of tests to diagnose a blood clot, and emergency rooms are equipped to treat the clot.
Treatments can range from less invasive, such as compression stockings and anticoagulant medication (blood thinners), to more invasive, such as stents and catheter surgery. Treatment will vary depending on where the clot is and how likely it is to harm you. When blood clots are smaller, treatment will likely focus on preventing growth and breakage. At the same time, larger blood clots will likely focus on removing the clots before they cause damage to the heart and lungs.
With a commitment to shorter wait times and affordable healthcare, Ally Medical Emergency Rooms are ready to care for you. Ally Medical operates seven freestanding emergency rooms in Texas with locations in Bastrop, South and Central Austin, Round Rock, Dripping Springs, Clear Lake, and Spring. No appointments are needed; patients may come in any time, day or night, with little to no wait. Each Ally Medical Emergency Room is prepared to treat major and minor medical emergencies, including blood clots, for children and adults of all ages in a safe, stress-free setting. If you need immediate medical attention, visit any Ally Medical Facility to experience our re-envisioned medical care.