The clotting factors in our blood perform an important task; they stop bleeding when we injure ourselves. However, those same factors can cause serious problems if the clot is inside the body. Here are a few things that could go wrong.
Strokes: Strokes are caused by lack of blood flow to a part of the brain, either caused by a clot or by bleeding. Heart disease and high blood pressure are often the culprits for the various types of strokes, though they aren’t the only ones. In the case of blood clots, heart disease is the number one problem.
A stroke can kill by itself. In those that survive there is a chance of permanent brain injury. The earlier the intervention, the better chance there is for both survival and keeping brain injury to a minimum.
Signs of a stroke include:
Numbness or weakness in your face, arm, or leg, especially on one side
Confusion or trouble understanding other people
Trouble seeing with one or both eyes
Trouble walking or staying balanced or coordinated
Severe headache that comes on for no known reason (from WebMD)
Heart: A blood clot in the coronary arteries can cause a heart attack. The clot could form in the artery itself, usually because of arteriosclerosis. It can also come from other parts of the body via the blood stream. There can be multiple clots or just one. Each area of the heart that loses blood flow is in danger of dying. If enough capacity is lost, the patient dies.
Symptoms of a heart attack are pressure or pain in the chest or other parts of the upper body, shortness of breath, pain in the left jaw, arm or back and possibly nausea.
Lungs: A blood clot in the lungs is called pulmonary embolism. The majority of these cases come from blood clots elsewhere in the body, usually the limbs. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, coughing and coughing up blood. A large enough clot can cause both heart and lung failure.
Limbs: This is important for two reasons. The first is that it can break loose and travel to the heart and lungs as described above. If that happens, death is possible.
The second is in itself. Blood clots in a vein can shut off circulation below or above the clot, depending on where it is. This shut off can kill the limb requiring amputation. The signs for this are redness, inflammation that moves up the limb and sometimes a lower temperature in the limb.
As you can see, blood clots are dangerous and need fast treatment. I’ve actually seen a case of blood clots in a lower limb. The problem was noticed by an observant caregiver, adequate information was forwarded to the hospital even before the patient arrived and the diagnosis and treatment were effective. If you suspect there is a clot problem, it is an emergency. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.