Blood clots, also known as deep vein thrombosis, can be a potentially serious condition that must be treated immediately. Blood clots are often found on the arms and legs and in people who are not able to move around to allow for proper circulation. Individuals on bed rest and the elderly are most susceptible to blood clots. Flat red spots may be found around the clotted area, and can serve as a sign that a clot is present.
Blood clots are most typically found in sedentary individuals. People over the age of 65, obese and severely ill people are at risk for blood clots. Clots can also result from being confined to a small space for long periods of time time, such as when taking long trips in a car or plane. Symptoms include swelling in the arms and legs, redness, warm red spots and soreness, though many people with deep vein thrombosis do not have symptoms.
There are several ways to diagnose blood clots. Your doctor may perform an ultra sound, a CT or a MRI scan. Blood tests can also diagnose blood clots. Individuals whose blood have higher levels of a clotting substance called D-dimer serve to indicate that a clot may be present. If suffering from deep vein thrombosis, your doctor will prescribe medication and offer exercises to help manage you symptoms.
Blood clots can progress to a more serious condition if not properly treated. The Mayo Clinic warns that blood clots can travel to your lungs and cause pulmonary embolisms. If a blood clot manages to block a major artery, it can be life threatening. People with congenital heart defects are at risk of clots traveling to their coronary artery, which can cause a heart attack or stroke. Blood clots can also cause varicose veins, discoloration and permanently block blood flow to certain veins.
There are several self-care remedies to help relieve the pain cause by blood clots. If the blood condition is not severe and is more superficial, it is recommended that you apply a warm wash cloth over the affected area daily. Anti-coagulation medications and prescribed support stockings can help reduce the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis. If you have blood clots, consult your doctor if you experience vein swelling, high fever or shortness of breath.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services recommends that if you are at risk for blood clots raise your legs at least 6 inches above your head from time to time. It is also advisable to not stand or sit for more than one hour at a time, minimize your consumption of salty foods and wear loose fitting socks or stockings.