Silent but Deadly: What you need to know about Blood Clots

4 months 1 week ago

October 13th is World Thrombosis Day. Thrombosis is the presence of blood clots, which is an abnormal and life-threatening condition. Thrombosis will lead to hospitalization, prolonged recovery and can even cause death. A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a clot that develops deep in a vein in the leg or pelvis. It can break off and travel through the blood vessels to the lungs. This is called a pulmonary embolism (PE). Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is the name for DVT and PE (DVT + PE = VTE1).

Are you at risk? Risk factors for VTE include cancer and cancer surgery as well as age and inactivity.

What can you do?

Watch for signs and symptoms of VTE and seek medical help if they are present.

  • DVT symptoms include redness, swelling, and pain in an extremity, usually the leg. You should go to the ER if this occurs so they can evaluate for a clot.
  • PE symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain and rapid heart rate. These are life-threatening symptoms and you should call 911 immediately.

Prevent VTE by exercising regularly, moving your legs when you are sitting for long periods, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking.

 

Resources

Centers for Disease Prevention and Control: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/dvt/index.html

National Blood Clot Alliance: Stop the Clot: https://www.stoptheclot.org/

This is Serious: http://thisisserious.org/

World Thrombosis Day: http://www.worldthrombosisday.org/issue/vte/#risk-factors

Gwen Spector, RN, BSN, COCN, CCP