You can have no blood clot risk factors and still develop one — which is one reason why it’s important to know the warning signs.

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    Blood clots affect everyone differently, but there usually are definite symptoms, says vascular medicine specialist Michael Tran, DO . To help unravel the mystery surrounding blood clots, Dr. Tran shares six of the most common blood clot warning signs.

    What are blood clots?

    A blood clot is blood that has partially solidified in a blood vessel. Blood vessels are your body’s highway system. They provide the roads that blood uses to travel from your heart to the rest of your body. There are three kinds of blood vessels:

    • Arteries, which carry blood away from your heart.
    • Veins, which carry blood back to your heart.
    • Capillaries, which connect your arteries and veins.

    Blood clots can occur anywhere along the 60,000 miles of blood vessels in your body, but they’re most likely to happen in veins (venous blood clots). The most common kinds of venous blood clots are:

    • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) . A DVT most often forms in your legs in the deep veins of your body. Thrombosis is when clots stay put and block blood flow.
    • Pulmonary embolism (PE) . If a DVT breaks off and travels to your lungs, it can create a pulmonary embolism. Embolisms are blood clots that break free and travel to other parts of your body.

    Less common, thankfully, are arterial clots. These occur when a blood clot clogs an artery. “They are a whole different beast,” says Dr. Tran. “The clot can block oxygen from reaching the heart or brain, leading to a heart attack or stroke.”

    What are the signs of a blood clot?

    Early signs of a blood clot can be hard to identify. “Everyone has different symptoms that can range from none to severe,” notes Dr. Tran. “But there are common signs and symptoms of blood clots to be aware of.”

    Here are six of them.

    Signs of a DVT

    DVTs can occur in your legs or arms. The most common signs of a blood clot in your leg include:

    Swelling

    Most people typically have some degree of leg swelling, especially near the end of the day. “That’s not the swelling we worry about,” says Dr. Tran. Instead, watch for swelling that:

    • Occurs suddenly or more dramatically than usual.
    • Lingers throughout the day.
    • Doesn’t get better with leg elevation.

    Leg pain

    New leg pain — such as a calf cramp or charley horse — could signal a blood clot in the leg. But if the pain only lasts for a few seconds and doesn’t come back, it’s probably not a blood clot.

    Blood clot symptoms don’t come and go quickly,” says Dr. Tran. “They stay.”

    Varicose vein changes

    If you have varicose veins , warning signs of a DVT include:

    • A vein that bulges out and does not flatten when you lay flat or raise your leg. “This could be a sign of a superficial or small blood clot in the varicose vein,” notes Dr. Tran.
    • A vein that suddenly hardens.
    • Skin around a varicose vein becoming tender and red.

    Signs of a blood clot in an arm are similar to the legs but often more noticeable if there’s swelling. Also, arms may turn slightly purple — particularly in your forearm or hand ­— because of the congestion caused by the blood clot, says Dr. Tran.

    Signs of a pulmonary embolism

    Symptoms of a pulmonary embolism often depend on:

    • The size of the clot.
    • Your age.
    • Your overall health.

    Some common signs of a blood clot in your lungs include:

    Shortness of breath

    Shortness of breath that’s new and different from what you’ve experienced before could be a sign of a blood clot in your lung — especially if the feeling lingers.

    “Breathlessness or becoming easily winded with mild exertion will last for hours, even days, if there is a blood clot,” notes Dr. Tran. “If you feel breathless for a second and then you’re OK, it’s probably not.”

    Chest pain

    While chest pain may signal a heart issue, it can also be a sign of a clot. The chest pain will be constant or happen when you take deep breaths.

    It may feel like a shooting pain that starts in your front and travels to the back in the chest area,” says Dr. Tran. “You may also feel chest heaviness or pressure that lasts. If it’s just fleeting, goes away and doesn’t happen again, you’re probably not dealing with a blood clot.”

    Coughing up blood

    Another sign of a blood clot in your lung is coughing up blood. The sputum (spit or mucus) would have more than a tinge of blood in it, too: “It would be much more — teaspoons or tablespoons of blood,” notes Dr. Tran.

    What to do if you think you have a blood clot

    Your action plan may vary depending on if you suspect a pulmonary embolism vs. a deep vein thrombosis.

    If you think you have a pulmonary embolism

    Some pulmonary embolisms can be life-threatening, so go to the emergency room for a doctor’s evaluation if you notice any signs of a blood clot in your lung. Your primary care doctor may send you to the ER so you can get a same-day lung scan, says Dr. Tran.

    “The ER can rule out a pulmonary embolism with a CT scan or nuclear medicine ventilation profusion study,” says Dr. Tran. “A CT scan shows doctors your arteries. A nuclear medicine ventilation profusion study is a breathing test with a tracer.”

    If you think you have a DVT

    If your symptoms remain for more than a day or two and worsen, reach out to your primary care doctor. “Your doctor can help you decide your next steps,” recommends Dr. Tran.

    If you need help outside of your doctor’s regular business hours, go to the emergency room and not urgent care. “Urgent cares often can’t do ultrasounds, which is the test you need,” says Dr. Tran.

    The location of the suspected blood clot matters, too. For example, different leg locations are more worrisome than others.

    If the blood clot is in your calf, for instance, your doctor may monitor it by ultrasound with scans every few weeks. If it’s a high-risk blood clot, doctors will often prescribe a blood thinner within 24 hours.

    “But it’s not like a stroke where you need to get to the ER within three hours,” says Dr. Tran. “It’s OK to take a wait-and-see approach. Most patients come to us after they’ve had symptoms for several days and do just fine.”

    Is blood clot pain worse when lying down?
    Fluid that collects in the lungs (pulmonary edema) can cause shortness of breath that mirrors the symptoms of a pulmonary embolism that can happen with DVT. Symptoms typically worsen when you lie down. more
    Does blood clot pain come and go in leg?
    Symptoms of a blood clot in the leg: swelling or pain in the affected calf muscle or area. The pain will usually get worse over time and does not come and go, like the feeling of a pulled muscle might. a red or raw tender area of skin, often below the back of the knee. veins that feel hard or swollen when you touch more
    What helps leg pain from a blood clot?
    To ease the pain and swelling of a DVT, you can try the following at home:
    1. Wear graduated compression stockings. These specially fitted stockings are tight at the feet and become gradually looser up on the leg, creating gentle pressure that keeps blood from pooling and clotting.
    2. Elevate the affected leg.
    3. Take walks.
    more
    Can knee pain be a blood clot?
    The popliteal vein runs behind the knee and transports blood back up to the heart. When a blood clot forms in this vein, doctors refer to it as popliteal vein thrombosis. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and redness in the leg and knee area. more
    Does pain from a blood clot come and go?
    Does blood clot pain come and go? Unlike the pain from a charley horse that usually goes away after stretching or with rest, the pain from a blood clot does not go away and usually gets worse with time. more
    Can a blood clot cause knee pain?
    Causes and risk factors. Share on Pinterest A blood clot behind the knee can cause pain, swelling, and redness. Sometimes, there is no obvious cause of a blood clot behind the knee, but various factors can increase a person's risk of developing one. more
    Is leg blood clot pain constant?
    Leg pain. New leg pain — such as a calf cramp or charley horse — could signal a blood clot in the leg. But if the pain only lasts for a few seconds and doesn't come back, it's probably not a blood clot. “Blood clot symptoms don't come and go quickly,” says Dr. more
    How can I ease the pain of a blood clot?
    To ease the pain and swelling of a DVT, you can try the following at home:
    1. Wear graduated compression stockings. These specially fitted stockings are tight at the feet and become gradually looser up on the leg, creating gentle pressure that keeps blood from pooling and clotting.
    2. Elevate the affected leg.
    3. Take walks.
    more
    Is blood clot pain constant?
    While chest pain may signal a heart issue, it can also be a sign of a clot. The chest pain will be constant or happen when you take deep breaths. “It may feel like a shooting pain that starts in your front and travels to the back in the chest area,” says Dr. more
    Is blood clot pain in leg constant?
    Leg pain. New leg pain — such as a calf cramp or charley horse — could signal a blood clot in the leg. But if the pain only lasts for a few seconds and doesn't come back, it's probably not a blood clot. “Blood clot symptoms don't come and go quickly,” says Dr. more
    How does blood clot pain feel?
    It can cause pain, swelling, and red or dark, tender skin. The area around the blood clot may feel tight or sore like you have a muscle cramp or charley horse. Unfortunately, these symptoms of a blood clot can be confused with other conditions, including muscle pain and muscle injury. more

    Source: health.clevelandclinic.org

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