What you should know about blood clots

A blood clot is a mass formed by platelets and fibrin in the blood to stop bleeding. Blood clotting is necessary to help stop bleeding after an injury. However, with a blood clot disorder, blood clots may form in areas of the body that are abnormal. When this happens, they become dangerous because blood clots can block a vein or artery. This increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, miscarriages, and pulmonary embolisms.

The causes of blood clots may include:

·       Inherited blood clotting disorders

·       Certain heart conditions

·       Certain medications

·       Surgery

·       Pregnancy

·       Prolonged immobility

·       Smoking

The symptoms of a blood clotting disorder include a history of blood clots, high blood pressure, severe headaches, frequent miscarriages, pain and swelling in the legs, chest pain, changes in vision, difficulty speaking, dizziness, confusion, or shortness of breath.

Treatments for blood clotting disorders include taking medications that will break up the clot such as aspirin, blood thinner medications, such as heparin and warfarin (Coumadin), antithrombin factor and protein C. You may also be treated for underlying conditions or risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart problems. Surgery or other treatments may also be required.