Pulmonary Embolism: What it is, Symptoms, & Treatment

Pulmonary Embolism_Northern Illinois Vein Clinic
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Throughout Illinois and around the country, a pulmonary embolism (PE) can strike suddenly and unexpectedly. This is a serious condition that requires immediate treatment. Expert care is essential to control the possible complications.

What is a Pulmonary Embolism?

PE can take place if an artery or arteries in the lungs become blocked by a blood clot. This can happen as a result of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition where a blood clot forms in the leg. If not treated, the clot can break off and may travel elsewhere in the body. The lungs are at significant risk.

What causes a pulmonary embolism? Risk factors include a history of or propensity toward conditions that affect the veins and the rest of the cardiovascular system. Even a relatively benign and straightforward condition like varicose veins may influence your odds of developing a dangerous blood clot in the future.

Pulmonary Embolism Symptoms

PE Symptoms_NI Vein Institute
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The principal signs of PE are shortness of breath, chest pain and a cough. These may come on suddenly. The pain is sharp and worsens when you cough or breathe deeply. The cough may bring up a pink, foamy mucous – if you notice this, seek medical attention right away.

Many Illinois patients are at risk of misunderstanding the signs of a pulmonary embolism. Although it is usually evident that something is wrong, the condition can be misdiagnosed. Patients can then be tempted to take a “wait and see” approach, which can make the outcome more perilous.

Because PE can arise as a result of deep vein thrombosis, it is important to take urgent steps to control DVT. If you experience warmth and swelling in one or both legs, seek help. If you are currently being treated for DVT and encounter any signs of pulmonary complications, contact your doctor.

Pulmonary Embolism Treatment

PE treatment focuses on managing the blood clot and preventing symptoms from getting worse. Anticoagulant medication (also known as “blood thinners”) can help prevent an existing clot from breaking off and will make it less likely that a new clot will form.

Medication cannot eliminate an existing blood clot. However, a clot under appropriate treatment resolves itself within a matter of weeks or months. Further steps can be taken to prevent the development of clots in the future. These include lifestyle changes such as exercise as well as additional medication.

We Can Treat Your Pulmonary Embolism in Rockford

Northern Illinois Vein Clinic is dedicated to vein health in Rockford, IL. We have helped thousands of patients from all across the state of Illinois deal with both serious and minor vein complaints. Only our clinic has the world-class training, technology and insight specific to vein care.

The sooner you receive treatment, the better. To learn about your options, contact us today.