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All You need To Know About Blood Clots and How To Prevent Them

Blood clot is gel-like clump of blood. Some blood clots form inside your veins without a good reason and don’t dissolve naturally. These may require medical attention, especially if they are in your legs or are in more critical locations, such as your lungs and brain.

Too many lives are affected by blood clots, and too many lives are lost because public awareness about life-threatening blood clots is so low, says National Blood Clot Alliance.

On average, one person dies every six minutes from a blood clot. Don’t be one of them. Blood clots can be prevented. Understand the risks. Know the signs and symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of blood clots

Blood clot in the leg: swelling; pain; tenderness; a warm sensation; pain in your calf when you stretch your toes upward; a pale or bluish discoloration.

Blood clot in the heart: chest pain; light-headedness; shortness of breath

Blood clot in the brain: sudden and severe headache; sudden difficulty speaking or seeing.

Blood clot in the lungs: sudden shortness of breath; chest pain; rapid heart rate; breathing problems; coughing up blood.

Risk factors that can put you at a moderate risk for a blood clot include:

  • Older than age 65
  • Antiphospholipid syndrome
  • Arteriosclerosis / atherosclerosis
  • Certain medications, such as oral contraceptives, hormone therapy drugs and some breast cancer medications
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Factor V Leiden
  • Family history of blood clots
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Obesity
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Polycythemia vera
  • Pregnancy
  • Prolonged sitting or bed rest over 3 days
  • Pulmonary embolism (blood clot in an artery in the lung)
  • Smoking
  • Stroke
  • Surgery

Practical Steps to Lower Your Risk for a Blood Clot:

  1. Avoid sitting for long periods. If you travel by airplane, walk the aisle periodically. For long car trips, stop and walk around frequently.
  2. Stop at least every two hours when you drive, and get out and move around.
  3. After you’ve had surgery or been on bed rest, the sooner you get up and move around, the better.
  4. Drink plenty of fluids when traveling.
  5. Lose weight, lower high blood pressure, stop smoking and exercise regularly.
  6. Follow any self-care measures to keep heart failure, diabetes, or any other health issues as stable as possible

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