Signs You May Have a Blood Clot
A pulmonary embolism (PE) is a potentially lethal complication of deep vein thrombosis. PE is caused when a blood clot from your leg or other body part travels and becomes lodged in an artery in your lung. A pulmonary embolism can be deadly because the blood flow to your lungs becomes compromised.
Some signs you might have a blood clot include sharp pains in your chest that will not subside when resting. You might also feel tightness in your chest and have difficulty breathing. You also might have a persistent cough that doesn’t go away, and there is blood in the mucus you cough up.
Other signs of a PE are excessive sweating, irregular heartbeat, and cyanosis. In some cases, you may also experience lightheadedness or dizziness. This occurs due to the as compromised blood flow to your lungs may result in poor oxygenation of the brain. The symptoms of a blood clot can vary in severity depending on the size of the clot or if you already suffer from heart or lung disease. Regardless of the severity, having a blood clot in an artery of your lungs can be fatal without treatment.
How to Preventing a Pulmonary Embolism
Even if you are at a high risk for a clot in your lung, there are preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the risk. Reducing the risk of developing a DVT is the first step in reducing the risk of having a clot in your lung. Reduce the risk of a DVT by:
- Moving your legs while sitting to promote healthy blood flow.
- Change your position as often as possible if confined to a wheelchair or bed.
- Embrace a heart-healthy lifestyle lowering your risk by eating healthy and exercising.
If you already have a history of deep vein thrombosis, you can still prevent future DVTs and a PE from occurring by:
- Faithfully taking the blood thinners prescribed by your doctor, and go to scheduled doctor appointments to make sure the dosage of the medication is effective in preventing future clots.
- Wear compression stockings to prevent the formation of a DVT.
How a Pulmonary Embolism is Treated
There is a standard treatment for getting rid of a pulmonary embolism; however, there is a new treatment option emerging as the new effective treatment therapy for PE. For years the standard treatment for a PE has been the use of blood thinners, such as heparin, to thin the blood and break up a blood clot.
It wasn’t until recently that acoustic pulse thrombolysis has been proven to be effective in treating a blood clot in the lungs. Acoustic pulse thrombolysis is an effective treatment because a catheter is used with an ultrasound to pull the clot out of the artery in the lung. This form of therapy for PE is invasive, has a shorter recovery time than the regular use of blood thinners, and effective in treating big clots.
Depending on the size of a PE, both the standard treatment of blood thinners and the use of acoustic pulse thrombolysis have their benefits in treating a PE. If you suspect that you may have a pulmonary embolism, you should seek medical treatment immediately. After the clot has been located, treatment options can be discussed with your doctors and decided based on the size and location of the clot.