GMB: Dr Amir Khan discusses blood clot symptoms
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Dr Benjamin Wedro explained: “A blood clot is a gel-like mass formed by platelets and fibrin in the blood to stop bleeding.” Its purpose is to repair damage to a blood vessel. Yet, sometimes, blood clots can form inappropriately inside an artery or vein. And when it does, a blood clot can be an obstacle for the circulation of blood flow towards the brain.
The warning signs of a blood clot in the legs include redness, swelling and pain.
Signs of an arterial blood clots in the leg can include “numbness, loss of feeling, and coolness to the touch”.
“Venous blood clots often develop slowly,” warned Dr Wedro, adding there will be a “gradual onset of swelling, pain and discolouration”.
Any of these symptoms should be checked over by your doctor, who will then decide if treatment is needed.
Diagnostic tools may include an ultrasound, venography, and blood test.
While treatment can range from anticoagulation medication (i.e. blood thinners) to surgery.
Warning signs of a stroke
The NHS said: “A stroke is a serious life-threatening medical condition that happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.”
Urgent treatment is essential if any of the following signs are present:
- Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have drooped.
- Arms – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm.
- Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you’re saying to them.
- Time – it’s time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms.
The health body added: “Symptoms in the FAST test identify most strokes, but occasionally a stroke can cause different symptoms.”
Other signs might include:
- Complete paralysis of 1 side of the body
- Sudden loss or blurring of vision
- Difficulty understanding what others are saying
- Problems with balance and co-ordination
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- A sudden and very severe headache resulting in a blinding pain unlike anything experienced before
- Loss of consciousness.
What causes a blood clot?
Dr Wedro said: “The risk factors for arterial clots are those that are common to all diseases that cause narrowing of blood vessels, cholesterol plaque formation, and plaque rupture.”
These include: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, a family history of stroke, and cancer.
Therefore, in order to minimise the risk of a dangerous blood clot, Dr Wedro advises all smokers to “quit smoking”.
Movement is also key to help improve blood flow, so anybody travelling for long distances is encouraged to “walk every couple of hours”.
The NHS added that people should “drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration”.
This is because “you’re more likely to get a clot if you’re dehydrated”.
Obesity is also a risk factor for developing blood clots, so anybody who is overweight is recommended to “lose weight”.
Furthermore, the health body said: “Do not sit for long periods without moving, if you can avoid it.”
As well as: “Do not drink lots of alcohol – this can make you dehydrated.”
Anyone concerned the have a blood clot right now should call NHS 111 for advice.
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