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5 Things You Should Know About Blood Clots

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2. YOU COULD BE AT RISK OF HAVING A BLOOD CLOT
Blood clots do not discriminate, they affect people of all ages, sex, and race. There are different risk factors for developing venous and arterial blood clots. Some people have an inherited predisposition of developing venous blood clots, referred to as thrombophilia (derived from ‘thrombus’ and ‘philia’ meaning love for thrombus). This is because they lack certain proteins that are required for keeping blood in the fluid state, examples are people who have Factor V Leiden, or deficiency in Antithrombin III, Proteins C or Protein S. People with non-O blood groups are also predisposed to venous clots.

Apart from the inherited risk factors, other things that predispose to venous blood clots include; increased age (more than 60 years), pregnancy, obesity, hospitalization, (e.g. immobility, unconsciousness, long periods of sitting for more than four hours on long flights or road trips), estrogen therapy, cancer, and injury to a vein (e.g. fractures or major surgeries). Up to 50% of people who have DVT or PE acquired it during hospitalization. For arterial blood clots, risk factors that have been implicated include male sex, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, cigarette smoking and collagen vascular diseases.

Also, people who have a history of blood clots in family members are more likely to develop either venous or arterial clot.

3. SYMPTOMS OF BLOOD CLOT
Sometimes clots may not cause symptoms. The symptoms depend on the size and site of where the clot is. Venous thrombosis could manifest as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or as pulmonary embolism (PE). People that have a DVT may have pain, dark discoloration of the skin, swelling and warmness on the affected leg while the unaffected leg remains normal. In pulmonary embolism, there is sudden difficulty in breathing and chest pain, sometimes the person may cough up blood. About nine out of ten cases of PE had a venous blood clot in the leg prior to the event. A clot in the heart causes chest pain and shortness of breath.

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