British Heart Foundation: Understanding blood clots

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Blood clots are small clumps of blood that have the consistency of gel. While some clotting is necessary to the body to prevent excessive bleeding, those that don’t dissolve by themselves can be dangerous. And if these clots travel to certain organs it can be life-threatening.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein – typically in the leg.

This is especially concerning as the clot can break away and travel to other parts of the body such as the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism.

As with any medical condition, the sooner you notice the warning signs of a blood clot the better chance you have of getting it treated.

According to charity Thrombosis UK, half of patients won’t experience symptoms of DVT.

However, for those who do it can cause symptoms in the ankle or foot.

More specifically patients could experience a “sudden” and “severe” pain in these areas.

It explains: “Sufferers of deep vein thrombosis may also experience sudden and severe pain in their ankle or foot.

“Similar to the aforementioned cramping but otherwise a separate symptom, this is often sharp and unexplained.”

There are other symptoms that can signal DVT in the lower half of the body.

Leg swelling

“A common sign of deep vein thrombosis is a swelling that usually occurs in the leg, ankle or foot,” the charity says.

“This typically appears on one side of the aforementioned places.

“On its own, this symptom can be mistaken for something else, such as an insect bite. But combined with other signs and when it occurs on one side of the leg, it can be an indicator of deep vein thrombosis.”

Enlarged, sore veins and cramping

Thrombosis UK says: “The leg swelling above is often accompanied by visibly swollen veins.

“These will feel painful or hard to the touch.

“Along with swelling, sufferers of deep vein thrombosis might also experience sharp, painful
cramps in the leg.

“These usually start in the calf before spreading to the rest of the leg.”

Warmth and discolouration in the skin

“Some deep vein thrombosis sufferers may feel a warm sensation in their skin, typically in their leg area,” it adds.

“This warmth occurs where the clot is in your body, and is noticeable by the difference in temperature between the affected patch and surrounding areas.

“This affected area may also become a pale colour, usually a red or blue shade.”

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