Blood Clot Symptoms


Article from National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute

Venous Thromboembolism, also known as Blood Clots, Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), Pulmonary Embolism (PE)

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a disorder that includes deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the lower leg, thigh, or pelvis. A pulmonary embolism (PE) occurs when a clot breaks loose and travels through the bloodstream to the lungs.

The risk of developing VTE is highest after major surgery or a major injury, or when you have heart failure, cancer, or a heart attack. Swelling, redness, and pain are some of the signs and symptoms of deep vein thrombosis. A pulmonary embolism can cause sudden chest pain and shortness of breath. Sometimes VTE occurs without any obvious signs. Medicines that help prevent further blood clots from forming or that dissolve serious vein blockages are the main treatments for VTE. Without treatment, VTE can restrict or block blood flow and oxygen, which can damage the body’s tissue or organs. This can be especially serious in the case of a pulmonary embolism, which blocks blood flow to the lungs. If a blood clot is large or there are many clots, a pulmonary embolism can cause death.

Signs, Symptoms, and Complications

The signs and symptoms of VTE are not the same for everyone. Sometimes VTE does not cause symptoms until serious complications occur. In other cases, deep vein thrombosis causes swelling or discomfort near the blood clot. Pulmonary embolism can cause chest pain and difficulty breathing. Pulmonary embolism can be a life-threatening condition.

Deep vein thrombosis may cause the following to occur around the area of a blood clot:

  • Swelling
  • Pain or tenderness
  • Increased warmth, cramps, or aching in the area that is swollen or painful, usually the calf or thigh
  • Red or discolored skin

Signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain with deep breathing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate

Less common signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism may include coughing, with or without blood; feelings of anxiety or dread; light-headedness or fainting; and sweating.

Contact your doctor right away if you suspect that you have signs or symptoms of VTE. Deep vein thrombosis should be taken seriously, as it may lead to pulmonary embolism.

Your doctor will diagnose deep vein thrombosis with or without pulmonary embolism based on your medical history, a physical exam, and various imaging or blood test results. Your doctor will identify your risk factors and rule out other causes of your symptoms.

Article from National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute