How Do I Recognize Blood Clot Symptoms?

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  • Written By: Elizabeth West
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 16 February 2019
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Blood clot symptoms vary depending on where in the body the clot forms. In limbs and lesser organs, pain and decreased function will call attention to the problem. A clot, or thrombus, in the heart, lungs, or brain is particularly dangerous and should be considered a medical emergency. Arterial embolism happens when the clot blocks an artery. Although clot formation can be caused by medication, disease, or lifestyle factors, most conditions are treatable if caught in time.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) happens in the deep veins of the legs and can occur in the pelvis as well. These symptoms include pain in calf or thigh, redness, swelling, warmth, and a heavy feeling. The skin of the foot may feel cool from reduced blood flow. DVT should be treated as soon as possible before the thrombus can travel. Anti-coagulants, such as warfarin, are given to dissolve the blockage.

A DVT or a piece can break loose and travel through the veins into the lung, causing blood clot symptoms. The resulting pulmonary embolism blocks oxygen absorption and can be fatal. Warning signs are sudden chest pain, severe shortness of breath, and a cough with blood-tinged mucus. A pulmonary embolism is a medical emergency, and an ambulance should be summoned immediately or the person should be taken to the nearest hospital.


Blood clot symptoms in the thorax may indicate a heart attack. A thrombus can sometimes block blood vessels leading to the heart, causing nausea, shortness of breath, and crushing pain in the chest radiating to the arm, neck, or jaw. Surgery may be necessary to remove the clot and open the vessel.

Many people fear a stroke, which can cause lifelong disabilities or death. Symptoms such as severe head pain, dizziness, sudden changes in speech or comprehension, and paralysis, especially on one side of the body, may indicate that a thrombus has blocked blood flow to the brain. The faster treatment can take place, the better the prognosis is for a good recovery.

Although most clots form in veins, an arterial thrombus can happen in the arms, legs, or feet. Blood clot symptoms in an artery are similar to DVT, manifesting as tingling, numbness, and cold pale skin. The person may notice a lack of movement in the affected limb. Blood flow must be restored immediately to prevent tissue death. Medical attention should be sought right away.

Pregnancy, smoking, obesity, and diabetes are some of the risk factors for excessive blood clotting. Various other medical disorders that interfere with blood coagulation or cause platelets to clump as well as medications containing estrogen, such as birth control pills and hormone therapy drugs, can also contribute to blood clot symptoms. Treating the conditions, monitoring medications, and leading a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise can help reduce the risk.


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