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Blood Clot - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

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A blood clot is formed when blood platelets, proteins, and cells clump together. For more information, read the below article.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Abdul Aziz Khan

Published At October 27, 2022
Reviewed AtOctober 27, 2022

What Is a Blood Clot?

Blood clots are semi-solid aggregates of blood that can either remain stagnant (thrombosis) and restrict blood flow or break free (embolism) and migrate to different places in the body. A blood clot, or coagulation, is a vital mechanism for preventing excessive bleeding when an artery is damaged. Blood cells, such as platelets, and plasma (the liquid component of blood), work together to stop bleeding by forming clots over the wound. Blood clots usually dissolve spontaneously after the damage has healed.

Veins are low-pressure blood channels that transport deoxygenated blood away from organs and bring them back to the heart. An unusual clot in a vein can limit the blood flow to the heart and cause discomfort and swelling as blood accumulates behind the clot. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a type of clot that originates in a major vein of the leg or, less usually, in the arms, pelvis, or other big veins throughout the body. Depending on their location and severity, blood clots can be fatal. Blood clots are quite dangerous. It is critical to recognize the symptoms and get treatment as soon as possible.

What Causes Blood Clots to Form?

Blood clots can be generated by a variety of circumstances, and the kind of clot usually determines the cause. Often, blood clots in arteries are caused by plaque fragments composed of fat or mineral deposits. A plaque explosion in the heart or brain is the most common cause of heart attacks and strokes. When the blood does not flow properly, blood clots can develop. Platelets are more likely to clump together if they collect in the blood arteries or heart. Slowly flowing blood can create clotting issues in atrial fibrillation and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Clots in veins can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Infection or damage to the region where the clot originates immobility or lack of movement.

  • A shattered bone is a hereditary or genetic disease affecting blood clotting.

  • Obesity.

  • Autoimmune conditions.

  • Some drugs, such as birth control or hormone treatment.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Blood Clot?

Blood clots are a potentially fatal medical problem. It is critical to recognize the symptoms and get treatment as soon as possible. Among the symptoms are:

  • Pain in the abdomen, nausea, and vomiting.

  • Severe headaches that occur suddenly.

  • Experiencing a gradual soreness, swelling, tenderness, and warmth in an arm or leg.

  • Weakness.

  • Discoloration.

  • Rapid breathing.

  • Speaking difficulties.

  • Discomfort in the chest.

  • Sweating.

  • Breathing difficulty.

  • Visual disturbances.

  • Seizures.

How Are Blood Clots Diagnosed?

A range of tests is used by clinicians to diagnose blood clots and to rule out alternative causes.

  • Physical Examination and Medical History-The physician will perform a thorough physical examination to check for blood clots and take a medical history.

  • Blood Test- In a few circumstances, blood testing might be done to rule out a blood clot.

  • Ultrasound- The blood flow and veins may be observed more clearly using ultrasound.

  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan- A scan of the head, stomach, or chest may be utilized to confirm the presence of a blood clot. This imaging examination can assist in ruling out other possible reasons for the symptoms.

  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA)- It is a comparable imaging technique to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

  • VQ (Ventilation and Perfusion) Scan- These scans could examine the flow of air and blood in the lungs.

  • CT Angiography - It is considered a gold standard for the diagnosis of thrombosis.

How Are Blood Clots Treated?

The purpose of treating blood clots is to keep the clot from growing. Treatment for blood clots could lower the risk of having further blood clots in the future. Treatment is mainly determined by the location of the blood clot. Some of the treatments included are:

  • Medication: Blood thinners, also known as anticoagulants, prevent blood clots from forming. For life-threatening blood clots, medications known as thrombolytics can dissolve the already-formed clots.

  • Compression Stockings: These snug-fitting pantyhose provide pressure to the legs to assist decrease edema and prevent blood clots from developing.

  • Catheter-Directed Thrombolysis: It is a surgical treatment in which doctors direct a catheter (a long tube) to the blood clot. The catheter directs medicine to the clot to aid in its dissolution. Thrombectomy surgery involves the use of specialized devices to gently remove a blood clot.

  • Stents: A stent is used to keep a blood channel open and allow the blood to move freely.

  • Vena Cava Filters: When a patient is unable to take blood thinners, a filter is inserted into the inferior vena cava (largest vein of the body) to catch blood clots before they reach the lungs.

How to Prevent Blood Clots?

The following steps can be taken to prevent the formation of blood clots:

  • Wearing loose-fitting attire can help improve blood flow.

  • Regular exercises.

  • Changing position often, particularly during long journeys or sometimes while sitting and working in one position.

  • It is not recommended to stand or sit for more than an hour at a time.

  • Reduce the salt intake.

  • Avoid smoking.

  • Staying hydrated.

  • Eating a nutritious diet is essential.

  • Keeping a healthy weight.

  • Managing medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes.


A blood clot is an aggregate of blood that looks like gel. They develop as a reaction to an injury or a cut; they block the wounded blood artery and halt the bleeding. Some blood clots grow inside the veins for no apparent cause and do not disintegrate on their own. These may necessitate medical treatment, particularly if they are in critical areas, such as the legs, lungs, and brain. A stable blood clot will normally not affect people, but it may progress and become harmful. Upon escaping and traveling through the veins to the heart and lungs, it might become lodged and restrict blood flow, causing a medical emergency. They can be managed by eating a balanced diet, wearing loose clothing, and using medicines as directed by physicians.

Dr. Abdul Aziz Khan
Dr. Abdul Aziz Khan

Medical oncology


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