The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states as many as 900,000 people are affected by blood clots, killing close to 100,000 people yearly. Blood clots are solid clumps of blood that help people stop bleeding. Tiny platelets mold and stick together in an injured area to help heal a blood vessel when damaged. After the wound is healed, the clot dissolves. Although, some clots can continue to grow and form obstructions. These clots can break loose and flow to other parts of the body. This can result in pulmonary embolism (PE), stroke, kidney failure, or heart attack.
Symptoms of blood clots can include chest pain, dizziness, swelling, cramping, soreness, warmth of skin, or red/discolored skin.
Common causes of blood clots include:
- Age – More common in individuals over 60.
- Smoking – Interior lining of blood vessels are damaged, giving the blood components a chance to stick and form a clot.
- Obesity – Adds additional pressure to blood vessels of the lower extremities, which causes poor circulation.
- Prolonged Inactivity – Sitting for long periods of time does not help with blood flow or circulation.
- Pregnancy – Caused by hormonal and chemical imbalances in the woman’s body, reduced activity, and pressure from weight in the last trimester.
Blood clots can also be caused by other medical conditions including heart failure and peripheral artery disease. Prevention is key in many clot formations and, if discovered early, can be treated.