How to Tell if You Have a Blood Clot

Woman point at arteries in human dummy

The ability of the body to produce blood clots is vital. It stops bleeding and prevents harmful organisms from entering the bloodstream via a wound. When the clot has done its job, it usually breaks up and you are left with only the memory of the injury.

However, for many people, the idea of developing a blood clot that doesn’t dissipate as you heal or forms unnecessarily is scary because the effects can be potentially devastating. A clot can block or slow blood flow. In an artery, this can cause a heart attack or stroke, and in veins, it can be the catalyst for swelling and joint pain.

Here, we explain how to tell if you have a blood clot, but we encourage you to call your doctor right away if you suspect that you do. While a stationary clot may be a relatively manageable problem, a clot that breaks free can travel to your heart and lungs and can constitute a major medical emergency.

Blood Clots in the Limbs

Blood clots found in your limbs can cause quite a few issues. The degree of severity will largely depend on the size of the clot.

If you are concerned that you have a blood clot in your leg, check if there is any swelling with reddish discolouration, unexplained pain or tenderness that may or may not be accompanied by a warm sensation.

The chance that the symptoms you are experiencing are due to a clot increases if they are isolated to one arm or leg.

Blood Clots in the Chest and Abdomen

It is trickier to discern if the symptoms you experience in your chest or abdomen are due to a blood clot. Abdominal pain and inflammation do accompany blood clots but could also be caused by a viral infection or gastric upset.

Clots in the chest can be very serious and can even be the source of a heart attack. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing, chest pains and dizziness.

Blood Clots in the Brain or Lungs

Again, clots that present in these areas can be the cause of a serious medical emergency. A clot in your brain can cause severe and sudden headaches, the inability to speak or can be the source of irregular speech patterns. It can also affect your ability to see properly and can result in blindness.

Blood clots that present in your lungs, or pulmonary embolisms, can cause chest pains, breathing problems and heart palpitations. They can also result in a patient coughing up blood.

Am I at risk for a blood clot?

While blood clots tend to form in older people, especially those over 65, younger people can present with them as well, depending on their risk factors. Sitting down for more than four hours at a time, obesity, a family history of blood clots and pregnancy can all put you at risk of clot formation. Lifestyle choices, like smoking or certain medications and illnesses, can also increase your risk.

Get in Touch Today

Blood clots are generally very difficult to detect and can come seemingly out of nowhere. You should seek medical attention if you suspect you have one. Contact us today if you want to discuss your symptoms.