Blood Clots can cause heart attacks and strokes. If you are experiencing suspicious heart problems or numbness in your arms or legs, you should go to the nearest emergency center (ER) for treatment immediately.
What is a Blood Clot?
A blood clot is a thickened mass in the bloodstream. It is made from platelets, which are crucial to healing wounds and cuts. However, when platelets accumulate and cause a blood clot, this mass can travel throughout the body and into a person’s lung, heart, brain, and other vital organs. Blood clots can cause a heart attack, stroke and death. If you are experiencing the symptoms of blood clots, you should go to the nearest ER immediately.
SignatureCare Emergency Center has multiple locations in Houston, Austin, College Station and other cities in Texas. Find an emergency center near you and seek immediate medical attention if you believe you have a blood clot.
Common Causes of Blood Clots
Many health conditions can lead to blood clots depending on which part of the body the clot forms. Below are some of the most common causes of blood clots.
Abnormal heart rhythm – Also known as atrial fibrillation, this condition is the result of irregular electrical impulses in the upper chamber of the heart. It causes blood to clot in the lower chambers.
Heart attack – A deadly condition caused when clots decrease or stop the flow of blood to the heart. The heart tissue dies, causing the organ to malfunction.
Prolonged immobility – Sitting or lying down for long periods of time can decrease blood flow and cause clotting in the legs and lower abdomen.
Pregnancy – Pregnancy strains the legs and lower abdomen and can restrict the flow of blood in these areas. This risk can be elevated if a woman is carrying multiple pregnancies or is overweight.
Smoking – Smoking hardens the arteries throughout the body and restricts the normal flow of blood from the lower extremities to other parts of the body.
Birth control pills – Birth control pills increase the production of estrogen and other chemicals that encourage blood clotting. Women who take oral contraceptives raise their risk of developing blood clots.
High blood pressure – High blood pressure causes arterial hardening and decreases blood flow and clotting.
High cholesterol – Too much cholesterol in the blood encourages masses to form and can cause clots to travel from one area of the body to another.
Diabetes – Diabetics produce too much protein known as fibrinogen. Too much fibrinogen in the blood causes the blood to clot excessively.
Genetics – A family history of blood clots and heart disease raises a person’s risk of inheriting and developing the same complications.
Other causes of blood clots
Surgery – Undergoing surgical procedures can raise a person’s risk of developing blood clots. Many hospitals require patients to wear surgical socks or leggings to encourage normal blood flow during their hospital stay.
Genetic mutations – Some inherited genetic mutations and conditions, most notably Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum (PXE), raise the risk of clots and arterial hardening.
Determining whether or not you have blood clots can be difficult without proper medical care. However, you should call a doctor if you experience numbing of your arms, hands, feet or legs. You should also get medical help if you experience a rapid heartbeat that does not subside with rest or a medication like low-dose aspirin. You should go to your nearest ER if you experience any of these symptoms or have chest, leg or back pain that does not subside with over-the-counter remedies or home treatment. Or, if any of the following symptoms are present:
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Loss of consciousness or feeling light-headed
Confusion or difficulty answering questions
Sudden and intense pain that is located on only one side of the body
Facial numbness or slurred speech
Inability to lower and raise arms or grasp things with hands
Inability to walk or bear weight on legs or feet
If you are experiencing symptoms of blood clots, please the closest ER. Our ERs are open 24/7 and we have several emergency center locations.