Signs and Symptoms
Knowing the most common blood clot signs and symptoms can help you spot or even prevent this potentially life-threatening condition.
The signs and symptoms of a blood clot, and the recommended treatment, depend on where a clot forms in your body and how much damage it could cause.
Signs and Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
A DVT is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body. Blood clots occur when something slows or changes the blood flow. Blood thickens and clumps together. Most deep vein blood clots occur in the lower leg or thigh, however, they can also occur in other parts of the body such as the veins of the groin and arms. Be proactive. If you feel a sign or symptom, regardless of your risk factors, contact your healthcare professional immediately.
Pain or tenderness
- Pain or tenderness that often starts in the calf. For upper extremity blood clots, the pain is usually in the arm or shoulder region.
- Swelling of the leg, including the ankle or foot can occur in a minority of cases. Swelling can also occur in upper extremity DVTs.
- Redness or noticeable discoloration in the leg or arm ors occasionally
- A sensation of warmth in the leg or arm can also be a sign of a DVT
Signs and Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism (PE)
A PE is a sudden blockage in a lung artery. The blockage usually is caused by a blood clot that travels to the lung from a vein in the leg, also known as a DVT.
A PE can be life-threatening. About one-third of people with an undiagnosed and untreated PE do not survive. When the condition is diagnosed and treated promptly, however, that number drops dramatically. If you experience a sign or symptom, contact your healthcare professional immediately.
Shortness of Breath
- Shortness of breath is a sign of a PE.
- Rapid breathing, or difficulty catching your breath, can be a sign of a PE.
- Chest pain that becomes worse with deep breaths can be a sign of a PE. Any patient with unexplained chest pain should be considered for a PE.
Lightheadedness or Passing Out
- Becoming lightheaded and/or passing out can be a sign of PE.
Coughing Up Blood
- Coughing up blood is a cause for concern. If a patient is coughing up blood, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.
Mental Health Matters
A blood clot diagnosis can feel lonely. Having a blood clot can be a life-altering event. Research shows that in addition to physical symptoms (such as pain or swelling), patients may experience a range of mental health issues after a clot, including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).