What is thrombosis and what are its risks?

What is thrombosis and what are its risks?

26/08/2022

Thrombosis occurs when thrombus or blood clots block blood vessels. There are two types of the thrombosis:

  • venous thrombosis, when a blood clot clogs a vein;
  • arterial thrombosis when a blood clot clogs an artery.

The risks of the thrombosis depend on its location. If the thrombosis occurs in arteries which supply blood to a heart, it may cause a heart attack, but if the arterial thrombosis occurs in the blood vessels of a brain, it may lead to a stroke.

If a thrombus breaks away from a wall of the blood vessel, it may travel to lungs and partially or completely block blood flow to the lungs. It is called pulmonary embolism.

The pulmonary embolism is a serious and life-threatening disease. About a quarter, i.e., 25% of people with the pulmonary embolism die suddenly. (1)

Symptoms of the pulmonary embolism are:

  • unexplained shortness of breath;
  • rapid breathing;
  • pain in a chest, under a costal arch (pain may increase with a deep breath);
  • rapid cardiac activity;
  • dizziness or fainting.

Symptoms of the thrombosis of limbs (arms, legs) are:

  • oedema, pain, numbness in a leg or arm;
  • skin warm to the touch
  • skin redness or red streaks on skin.

The thrombosis is life-threatening, therefore its early diagnosis and treatment are essential. Usually, a doctor will prescribe drugs which thin blood to prevent the thrombus formation or drugs which dissolve the blood clots.

Tips to prevent the thrombosis:
  1. Maintain a healthy weight, since obesity is one of the risk factors for the thrombosis occurence!
  2. Lead an active lifestyle, but if you must sit in one place for a long time, do not forget to get up every hour to move a little!
  3. Quit smoking!
References

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [Online] 9 June 2022 [Quotation: 20 June 2022] https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/dvt/data.html.

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