Some medical conditions, such as cancer and heart disease, garner a lot of headlines. They are serious issues that adults need to be knowledgeable about. As a result of all the media attention, many people understand the risk factors and early symptoms of these health problems. The accessibility of that information undoubtedly saves lives.
One condition that hasn’t earned much public awareness is blood clots. This is true despite the alarming statistics related to this dangerous health condition:
- An average of 247 people in this country lose their life from blood clots every day.
- One person dies every 6 minutes from a blood clot. That translates to as many as 300,000 people per year.
- Only 1 in 4 people are familiar with the signs that signal a blood clot.
To help alert the public to this growing health crisis, the National Blood Clot Alliance launched a “Stop the Clot” initiative. It’s designed to help people learn the risk factors for blood clots, and how to recognize the symptoms.
Risk Factors for Developing a Blood Clot
What conditions make it more likely that you will develop a blood clot?
Here are a few of the most common causes:
- Using birth control methods that contain estrogen
- Having cancer or undergoing cancer treatment
- Being hospitalized or otherwise confined to bed
- Experiencing a car accident or other trauma
- Undergoing surgery, especially of the pelvis, abdomen, hip, or knee
- Practicing a sedentary lifestyle, especially sitting with one’s legs crossed
- Being pregnant, and up to three months after delivery
- Utilizing hormone therapy that contains estrogen
- Having a family history of blood clots
- Being overweight or obese
- Smoking or routinely being exposed to secondhand smoke
If any of the above descriptions apply to your personal situation, it’s a good idea to talk with your physician about ways to minimize your risk. It’s also essential to learn to recognize the early signs you may be experiencing a blood clot.
Warning Signs of a Blood Clot
Blood clots can form in both the veins and the arteries in the body. Those that develop in the veins are known as venous clots, and those in the arteries are called arterial clots.
- Arterial blood clots: When a clot develops in the arteries, the warning signs are sudden. They require immediate emergency medical intervention to prevent a heart attack or stroke. Symptoms may include blurry vision, difficulty walking, paralysis on one or both sides of the body, drooping of the face, problems talking, and a sudden, severe headache. Confusion may also occur.
- Venous blood clots: While this type of blood clot may build more slowly, it can be equally as deadly. The most serious form is a deep vein thrombosis, also referred to as a DVT. These clots occur in the major veins of the body. Legs are the most common, but clots can also develop in the arms, pelvis, brain, or lungs. Other symptoms include leg cramps, skin discoloration, and pain or swelling of the affected area. Unfortunately, sudden death occurs in about 25 percent of all DVT cases.
We hope you will consider sharing this article with friends and loved ones to help raise awareness about this life-threatening medical condition.
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