A traveling blood clot is a life-threatening medical condition known as pulmonary embolism (PE) caused by Deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT occurs when a blood clot grows within a vein. This condition affects body parts such as the leg, thigh, pelvis, or even the arm of the patient. DVT is known to be life-threatening when the blood clot breaks away and travels down toward the bloodstream of the lungs.
There is a connection between DVT and PE. According to Roy Silverstein, MD, a Milwaukee professor specializing in oncology and hematology, one should consider it a complication of DVT. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this medical condition affects as many as 900,000 people in the United States, where such patients develop either DVT, PE, or even both annually. About 60,000 to 100,000 are fatal, with most of the deaths sudden due to the undetected nature of the PE.
It is also critical to know that DVT can occur undetected, especially in cases where the clot is small. Furthermore, the most common symptoms associated with DVT include the following:
- The swelling of the arm or leg.
- Tenderness of the skin and body.
- The redness of the skin in places where the clot occurs.
You should note that the clot may form in just one leg or arm, not on both arms or legs.
According to a vascular surgeon at Michigan Medicine, Andrea Obi, MD, one of three things occur with PE. PE may block a small vessel in the lung, and the remaining parts of the lungs will compensate for such blockage, and the clot will go unnoticed. A second scenario is where the clot breaks away and travels to the lung. This action then leads to the blockage of a larger blood vessel, which hinders the ability of the lung to exchange blood for oxygenated blood, causing the saturation levels to drop.
Symptoms of PE
These symptoms include:
- A rapid heartbeat,
- Shortness of breath
- General discomfort in the chest. This discomfort gets worse when you breathe deeply or cough.
- You begin to feel lightheaded as well.
- You also begin to feel anxious and sweat Etc.
According to Dr. Obi, the third scenario is sudden death, which you can prevent by making a timely diagnosis.
Conclusively, several factors can increase your risk of suffering from PE. These risks include:
- Living a sedentary lifestyle or being bedridden.
- Having excess weight
- Breaking a bone or undergoing surgery
- Smoking etc.