Signs That You May Have a Blood Clot
Blood clots are one of the leading causes for death in the United Sates. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one American dies of a blood clot every six minutes. Shockingly, many medical professionals overlook the signs of blood clots, and fail to catch the issue in time to administer proper care. Knowing the signs yourself can help you determine when you need emergency treatment.
The Danger of Blood Clots
A blood clot is a small lump of blood cells that have fused together in a hardened state. Everyone develops blood clots at some point in their lives, as these clots help people from continuing to bleed after suffering a cut. They are, essentially, scabs. However, when clots detach from the inside of a blood vessel and begin to travel through the bloodstream, they can become very dangerous.
A blood clot can float freely until it reaches a vessel too tight to pass through. At that point, it will become stuck, blocking blood to the vessel’s end destination. This may happen in an arm or leg, or it could happen in the heart, brain, or lungs. Wherever blood travels, so can a blood clot, meaning a clot can become lodged almost anywhere in the body.
Blood clots become particularly dangerous when they reach the heart, brain, and lungs. There, they can cause extreme damage, such as a stroke or heart attack, or organ death due to lack of oxygen. If these clots are not treated swiftly, they will likely become fatal. That is why medical professionals need to suspect blood clots first when a patient has symptoms or is in a high-risk group.
How to Spot a Blood Clot
Not everyone who has developed a blood clot shows symptoms, which can make it difficult to detect. In fact, late diagnosis is one of the leading causes of blood clot fatalities. However, even when symptoms do become apparent, they are often chalked up to other disorders, leading to an incorrect diagnosis. Knowing the signs can help you identify when you may have a blood clot, and allow you to get emergency care as soon as possible.
If you have a blood clot in your arm or leg, known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), then you may experience:
- Swelling in the impacted limb
- Pain or tenderness in the impacted limb
- Abnormally warm skin in the impacted limb
- Discoloration of the skin on the impacted limb, usually red or blue
However, if you have a blood clot in the lungs (pulmonary embolism) or heart (cardiac embolism), then your symptoms can include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Coughing up blood
- Shortness of breath
- Intense chest pain
- Irregular or fast heartbeat
If you have a blood clot in one of the arteries leading to your brain, you may have an ischemic stroke. However, strokes, especially in low-risk patients such as people below the age of 60, can be overlooked by medical professionals. Symptoms of an ischemic stroke include:
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty understanding others
- Paralysis of the face
- Difficulty seeing out of one or both eyes
- Intense headaches
- Difficulties maintaining balance and walking
Always keep in mind that blood clots are life-threatening. If you are unsure as to whether you are suffering from a blood clot, get checked out anyway. This is especially important these days because COVID-19 places people at a higher risk for developing blood clots — if you have been treated for COVID recently, you are a high-risk blood clot patient.
How Hospital Stays Can Harm
It is possible that your blood clot came about as the result of medical malpractice, especially if you developed it after a surgery or a lengthy stay in the hospital. Being confined to a hospital bed, or being unconscious for several hours during a surgery, can increase your chances of developing a deadly blood clot. Doctors and surgeons can minimize the formations of a blood clot in these cases, but often neglect to do so.
For example, during surgery, a serial compression device could be used on your limbs to promote proper blood floor. Or doctors could administer a blood-thinning, anti-coagulant drug to prevent your blood from clotting. Despite having these tools, medical professionals often overlook the risk of blood clots, which leads to patients becoming ill or even dying.
Seek Medical Help
If you are showing signs of a blood clot, then you need to seek medical help as soon as you can. DVT is not immediately life-threatening, which means you can call you general practitioner and set up an appointment. However, if you have the symptoms of a heart, lung, or brain-related clot, visit the emergency room immediately.
If you believe that you suffered a blood clot due to the actions of a medical professional, then you should file a lawsuit. Getting compensation, however, will require the help of a top medical malpractice attorney. Thankfully, you can find plenty of them at our firm, Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. Call us at (303) 759-9945 or toll-free at (877) 433-3906 to schedule a no-cost consultation.