Every so often, you hear of someone you know who has had a “blood clot” in their lungs. While this sounds scary, in many situations it can be easily treated with medication to prevent complications. However, unlike some of the other venous disorders, a pulmonary embolism has the potential to be life-threatening. If you have varicose veins your chance of getting deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is five times higher. DVT can migrate and cause a pulmonary embolism To learn more information about pulmonary embolism disease, read below.
What Is a Pulmonary Embolism?
Pulmonary embolism disease can be very serious and often fatal due to the damage it can inflict in your body. This blockage in your lungs has the potential to affect your other organs since it might both lower the necessary levels of oxygen in your blood and impede its flow.
You must remember that blot clotting is part of the normal body process. This is the way that our body regulates itself by preventing bleeding. However, in certain situations, a clot can become harmful. When the body cannot break a clot down, there is a risk that it travels throughout the body to cause a pulmonary embolism.
What Causes a Pulmonary Embolism?
These harmful blood clots are often caused by inactivity or being completely sedentary. Sometimes this is over a long period of time, but other times it can happen in a short duration of time. For example, when you are on a long plane flight, it is important to periodically stand up and walk up and down the aisles of the plane to prevent a clot from forming. Certain people seem to be more prone to pulmonary embolism disease, especially those who have had:
A recent surgery
A family history of this condition
Medications like estrogen replacement therapy or birth control pills
What Are the Symptoms of a Pulmonary Embolism?
Other symptoms include:
Low blood pressure
Swelling or even a sensation of heat in the leg
A feeling of faint, dizziness or anxiety
How Is a Pulmonary Embolism Treated?
Every case is different, and the skilled staff at Northern Illinois Vein Clinic is here to carefully examine and assess each patient to determine which treatment best suits your case. Keep in mind that one vital component of treating a pulmonary embolism is to prevent new ones from forming.
There are many causes for a pulmonary embolism, but the most common is DVT. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, every year about 300,000 people experience a pulmonary embolism because of DVT. When a pulmonary embolism occurs, a piece of this clot breaks off the main clot and travels to the lungs.
The following are other causes of a pulmonary embolism, but they do not occur as frequently as DVT:
Fat deposits (these can be released when a bone is broken or when a limb is amputated)
Collagen and other tissues
The most common symptom of a pulmonary embolism is a sudden shortness in breath or difficulty breathing. Other symptoms include:
A sharp pain in the chest that gets worse if you cough or breathe deeply
A cough that produces mucus that is pink in color and has a foamy consistency
Since a pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening, it is important to see a vein doctor or emergency physician as soon as possible if you notice any of the above symptoms.
You can decrease your risk of a pulmonary embolism by avoiding smoking, eating a healthy diet and maintaining a normal weight for your height and age. Also, it’s important that when traveling long distances you take frequent breaks and walks to improve blood circulation and decrease your risk of clotting.
The most common treatments of a pulmonary embolism are anticoagulant medications such as warfarin (Coumadin), heparin and clopidogrel (Plavix). Other treatments – if the patient is unable to take anticoagulants – can include surgically removing the clots or using a catheter to insert a filter into the central vein of the body.
Long days of teaching exacerbated the burning and restless feelings in Kendra Brauer’s legs. The bruises and visible veins also provoked curious questions from her second-grade students if she wore anything shorter than full-length pants. Brauer first noticed a bruise on her leg when she was in her mid-20s. Slowly, more veins showed up and […]