What is a Blood Clot?
A blood clot is a mass of blood cells. For example, when a person has an open wound, their blood clots together to heal and protect the wound. This is normal. However, a blood clot is an abnormal lump of blood cells which most commonly occur in the legs but can occur anywhere in the body.
It is important that we are aware of the signs and symptoms as some can become fatal, if left untreated. If you or someone you know starts experiencing these symptoms, please seek medical attention.
Deep-Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is where a blood clot forms, most commonly in a person’s leg but occasionally it can occur in a person’s arm.
- Pain and tender to touch
- Warm to touch
Pulmonary Embolism (PE) is when a blood clot(s) in the leg (DVT) travels through the body and into the lung. This can be serious and requires emergency medical attention.
Signs & Symptoms
- Sudden shortness of breath
- Chest pain – sharp, stabbing
- Fast heart rate
- Coughing, coughing up blood
My health and level of mobility began to deteriorate rapidly from September 2017. Undiagnosed, depressed and isolation led me to becoming a recluse in which I rarely left the house or even my recliner. I was posing a risk to myself and others when I did try and walk, therefore it just made sense, to me, to stop walking full stop.
In March 2018, I was hospitalized due to being unconscious and within a few days contracting bilateral pneumonia. This was the start of a 9-month hospital and rehabilitation stay. For the first few months, I had next to no mobility. I had to wear stockings, Sequential Compression Device sleeves (SCD) and to have an injection administrated in my stomach to help prevent blood clots forming and Deep-Vein Thrombosis
As my mobility improved, with intensive physiotherapy, I did not need to use the SCD sleeves anymore. I began having the injection (I can’t remember the specific name) on a daily basis, the only disadvantages of the injection are that it stings and can cause bruising – this is a small price to pay in comparison to what blood clots could potentially cause.
Now, I only need to wear stockings every day. Not the attractive ones! Like I say, a small price to pay.
Are YOU at risk?
If any of the following apply to you or someone you know, speak to your GP.
- Hospitalisation – Although this cannot be prevented, there are sufficient methods to help prevent blood clots. As I have mentioned above, SCD sleeves, stockings and the injections are beneficial. Speak to your GP about these if you would like more information.
- Surgery – Again, this cannot be prevented but the above methods should be available to you, if you attend a pre-op assessment then be sure to ask how active you are advised to be during recovery. If they advise little activity then ask about ways to prevent blood clots.
- Severe trauma
- Prolonged bed rest – Seek advice from a physiotherapist to see what small but effective bed exercises you could do.
- Cancer and some cancer treatments
- Injury to a vein
- Pregnancy and post-partum
- A family history of blood clots
- Oral contraceptive pill
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- Long periods of inactivity – Look for gentle exercises to do every day.
- Dehydration – Regularly drink to stay hydrated.
Both images, signs & symptoms and risk factors have been approved to use in this post and sourced from Thrombosis UK.