Top 10 Blood Clot Symptoms
The process of blood coagulation is a healthy and natural part of the everyday function of the body. When injury or illness present, the platelets in the blood are quick to respond to the scene to form a temporary healing plug and a quick burst of chemical release to start the clotting process. Blood coagulation is essential to stopping blood loss and initiating the body’s own repair system. But, sometimes this process goes askew and can be the result of mixed signals that confuse platelets or health conditions or lifestyle issues that affect blood consistency. Clots can form from these instances and therefore result in blood clot symptoms.
In some cases, clots can form in response to plaque that forms in the arteries which, when ruptured, can release substances that trigger the formation of blood clots. In other cases, thick blood, often a result of smoking or immobility, can lead to pooling and clotting and a whole host of associated health conditions. Smoking for instance, creates not only thick blood, but also that which is sticky. This combination can be even more dangerous because the blood is even more challenged to circulate properly both in terms of viscosity and consistency.
This thickened consistency to the blood is also related to several blood clotting disorders such as Polycythemia Vera, a condition marked by the over creation of red blood cells. It results in a dramatic increase in blood viscosity, which severely impacts circulation and oxygenation of the body in some cases.
But, regardless of the cause, blood clot symptoms vary little from source to source. Sometimes they appear suddenly and sometimes produce mild symptoms that gradually worsen. Their presence can be problematic and treatable, or severe and life threatening. For these reasons, it is important to be aware of the top ten blood clot symptoms to be on the lookout for, especially if health conditions that affect blood consistency are present or other risk factors.
- Swelling: Puffiness and a swollen sensation can all be present in the area surrounding a blood clot. Most often, this symptom affects the region around the clot and so it may be an easily missed identifier.
- Pain: Generalized pain and discomfort can persist when a blood clot exists and is most common in the arms and legs.
- Numbness: Blood clot symptoms may include numbness or tingling. This symptom however is much more common in the extremities such as the arms and legs or the feet and hands.
- Redness: It may seem unusual, but redness can occur as a sign of a blood clot and is not considered to be an uncommon symptom. In most cases, this will be generalized and surround the area of the clot.
- Change of Color: Most notably found in the legs and arms, it is possible that the entire extremity may turn very white or blue in color. This is frequently accompanied by pain.
- Weakness: A feeling of weakness may be encountered for clots occurring in the arms and legs. This can also be similarly related to a loss of sensation entirely, which also can be encountered in the case of a blood clot.
- Bloody Diarrhea: Most blood clot symptoms are associated with a particular area (such as the arms or the legs) and therefore are dependent upon the location of the clot. Diarrhea that is bloody is also a symptom that is location specific. If the clot is affecting the bowel’s blood supply, then it is possible for bloody diarrhea to be present.
- Shortness of Breath: Regardless of whether or not a clot is suspected, shortness of breath is always considered a medical emergency and should be treated as such, especially if sudden. This symptom of a blood clot is not always present, but can be present depending on which organs or organ systems are being affected from a loss of blood flow.
- Chest Pain: Similarly to shortness of breath, chest pain is always considered a very serious medical situation. It can be a symptom of a heart attack, an unfortunate byproduct of a clot that has cut off the flow of blood to the heart. It is important to note that chest pain may also present as a sensation of fullness or pressure and less like sharp, stabbing or intense pain.
- Vision Changes: Less common but still present in cases of blood clots, vision changes may occur as blood clot symptoms. These can include a loss or decrease in visual capability, blurry vision or persistent double vision.
In managed cases of conditions that pose a greater risk for blood clots, anticoagulant therapy is often employed. This method of treatment often employs the use of blood thinner medications such as Coumadin and may be used in both methods of preventative treatment (used to prevent the movement of a clot) or, as treatment to prevent the formation of clots altogether in high risk patients or those with underlying health conditions. Other methods of anticoagulant therapy include some alternative healing options that have been considered for their roles as natural blood thinners such as turmeric and ginger. Some even consider garlic and pineapples to be blood thinning foods to help thin out the blood naturally. However, the sheer magnitude of consequence that can result from the formation and movement of a blood clot (heart attack, stroke and death) require that medical advice be obtained if clots are suspected or the risk of their development is high. It’s quite possible that blood clot treatment and prevention can be a multifaceted method, employing the use of medications, lifestyle changes and even natural blood thinning herbs and foods. However, prompt medical care and evaluation when blood clot symptoms and signs present serves as a means to prevent serious risk and complication and promote healthy treatment and management.