Health

What is a blood clot?

A blood clot is a clump of blood that has changed from a liquid to a semisolid state.

Clotting is a healthy and necessary process that can prevent you from losing too much blood when you get a cut or injury. Blood clots happen whenever flowing blood comes into contact with specific substances in your skin or in blood vessel walls.

When a clot forms inside one of your veins it can be very dangerous as blood flow can be disrupted.

According to the home doctor experts at House Call Doctor, there are important signs and symptoms that may indicate a blood clot.

Blood clot in the leg or arm

The most common place for a blood clot to occur is in the lower leg. A blood clot in your leg or arm can have various symptoms depending on the size of the clot. These symptoms include:

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • A warm sensation
  • Reddish discolouration.

Blood clot in the chest

When a blood clot forms in the arteries of the heart and blocks blood flow it can cause a heart attack.

A blood clot in the heart may be indicated by chest pains and could cause your chest to feel heavy.

Other symptoms include:

  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Light-headedness.

Blood clot in the lungs

A blood clot that travels to your lungs is called a pulmonary embolism (PE). Symptoms that could indicate a PE are:

  • Chest pains
  • Heart palpitations, or rapid heart rate
  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Coughing up blood.

Blood clot in the brain

If blood clots form in the chambers of your heart or within the carotid arteries in your neck, they have the potential to travel to your brain and cause a stroke.

Unlike most other signs of blood clots, you likely won’t feel pain with a stroke.

The signs of a stroke include:

  • Weakness or numbness on one side of your body
  • Vision disturbances
  • Difficulty in speaking clearly
  • Difficulty walking
  • Inability to think clearly

When to see your doctor

Diagnosing a blood clot by symptoms alone is very difficult. It’s best to see your doctor if you think you have a blood clot.

Your doctor can tell you whether there is reason for concern and can administer further tests to determine the cause.