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Watch for These Signs of a Dangerous Blood Clot

Posted by David Ghiorso, CPA, June 26, 2018

You might not think that a blood clot sounds like a life-threatening emergency. However, when left untreated, a blood clot in a leg can eventually detach and travel upward to your lungs. At this point a dangerous pulmonary embolism can occur. Since this condition can be life threatening, watch out for these signs of a blood clot in your legs:

  • Skin redness that does not go away over time, or intensifies for no apparent reason
  • Swelling, especially if it does not respond to the usual treatments
  • A feeling of warmth or tingling in the skin
  • Fainting or dizzy spells
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sharp, stabbing pains in the chest, especially with deep breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue, particularly if it begins suddenly and for no discernible reason
  • Fever, and symptoms you typically associate with fever
  • Tenderness in the skin
  • Visibly distended veins
  • Foot pain (because the clot is blocking blood flow to one or both feet)
  • Calf pain, most notably when walking
  • Paleness in your extremities (particularly your ankles and feet)
  • An unexplained cough (this might indicate that the clot has already traveled to the lungs)

Some people do not present with any symptoms at all, or only mild symptoms that they don’t recognize. Then, they suffer a sudden onset of severe problems once the clot has traveled to their lungs. At this point the situation is an emergency, and medical attention must be sought immediately.

That’s why, in addition to knowing the signs of a blood clot, you should understand the situations in which they are likely to occur. While anyone can develop a blood clot in their legs, long periods of inactivity seem to trigger them more often. Blood clots are a particular risk after surgical procedures. So, avoid remaining in the same position for long periods of time, and wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. You might also wish to discuss your salt intake with your physician.

If you do notice signs of a blood clot, make an appointment with your physician immediately. The good news is that with appropriate treatment, blood clots don’t have to be dangerous.

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