Focus on Blood Clot Awareness Month

March is Blood Clot Awareness Month, or BCAM, and if you or someone you care about has been affected by blood clots, you might be wondering what you can do to make a difference. Often times raising awareness starts with simply sharing your story with the people that you already know. You can share your story verbally with friends and family, in a written note, or more publicly on your Facebook Page or Instagram account. Social media – and our online connections – make it easier than ever to share important information with people in our communities, and with people all over the world.

If you don’t know where to start with sharing information about blood clots, or if you’ve never shared your story before, I’ve outlined four specific things you can focus on to easily help make a difference during Blood Clot Awareness Month, or anytime you want to raise awareness: Blood clot risk, blood clot signs and symptoms, blood clot recovery, and blood clot prevention.

Blood clot recovery is not often a focus of blood clot awareness, but it’s still a very important thing to discuss. This month, I’ll be sharing some of my thoughts about my personal recovery from a handwritten journal I kept for the first month of my recovery. I’ve never shared these thoughts before, but now I want to share them with you.

I’ll also be sharing some of your personal thoughts about how having a support system like Blood Clot Recovery Network has made a difference during your recovery. If you’re not already, connect with me on my public Facebook, Instagram and Twitter channels to hear my thoughts. Plus, if you’re a member of my private Facebook Community, I’ll be sharing some special things there, that I won’t be sharing anywhere else. If you’re not a member yet, join for free today.     

Are you ready? Let’s get focused on Blood Clot Awareness Month.   

Focus on Blood Clot Risk Factors

Blood clots can happen to anyone, no matter who you are. They affect about 900,000 people a year, and about 100,000 people a year die due to blood clots, in the United States alone. In some cases, people may have been able to prevent blood clots by knowing puts them at risk for one.

I had no idea that I could be at risk for a blood clot, so I didn’t think one could ever happen to me. One of the most important things you can share with the people you know is information about blood clot risks.

Know the major blood clot risk factors.
  • A family or personal history of blood clots
  • Recent major surgery or hospitalization
  • Total knee or hip replacement surgery
  • An inherited or acquired clotting condition
  • You have cancer, or are undergoing treatments for cancer
  • You are immobile for a long time (confined to bed, long-duration plane or car trip)
  • You are pregnant or have recently given birth
  • You use estrogen-based birth control methods or estrogen for the treatment of menopause symptoms

That’s not all. Learn more about blood clot risk factors.

Focus on Blood Clot Signs and Symptoms

Just like knowing your risk for blood clots, it is important to be able to recognize blood clot signs and symptoms. Looking back, what was most striking about my situation is that I had symptoms of a blood clot in my leg (pain) and in my lung (shortness of breath, chest pain) at the same time. I also had these symptoms for several days, and they got worse as time passed, not better. Eventually, I called my primary care physician who recognized my symptoms as blood clots and told me to go to the emergency room immediately. This month, take time to share the symptoms of blood clots with the people that you know.

Know the symptoms of a blood clot in the leg or arm, also known as deep vein thrombosis or DVT.
  • Swelling, often in one limb
  • Pain or tenderness, not caused by an injury (sometimes feels like a cramping, or “charley horse”)
  • Skin that is warm to the touch
  • Changes in your skin color, such as turning white, red, blue or purple
Know the symptoms of a blood clot in the lung, also known as pulmonary embolism or PE.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or discomfort, especially if it worsens when you take a deep breath, cough or lie down
  • Feeling light headed or dizzy, or fainting
  • Fast or irregular heart rate, or a rapid pulse
  • Coughing, or coughing up blood
  • Some people experience severe anxiety or feel like “something is really wrong”

When they occur together, DVT and PE are known as venous thromboembolism, or VTE. Blood clots in the lungs can cause death by obstructing blood flow, so if you or someone you know experiences these symptoms, do not delay emergency medical treatment.

Learn more about what blood clots might feel like.

Focus on Blood Clot Recovery

Recovery from blood clots is different for everyone. It can take weeks, months or years to recover fully, and some people live with long-term complications from blood clots, such as post-thrombotic syndrome, chronic shortness of breath, or even debilitating anxiety. If you have experienced a blood clot, it’s important to let people know what you are going through … and it’s also important for you to realize that they might not understand what you are going through.

Throughout my recovery, I had many people – some of them close to me – who did not understand how I felt, or understand why I was still in pain so many months after my PE. Sometimes, it was hard to talk about because it was so personal. How much – or how little – you share about your recovery is entirely up to you. During my recovery, I often found that sharing less was more. I found out pretty quickly that all I could do was share information about my situation, and if the people in my personal life didn’t understand, I moved on to talking with a community of my peers who knew exactly what I was going through.

Sometimes, sharing just a few general things about blood clot recovery can be helpful.
  • It’s different for everyone, and can include physical and emotional healing
  • Recovery can take a long time, but there’s no set time line
  • It’s not like a healing from a cold or a broken bone, it’s more like healing from major trauma
  • Some people require ongoing treatment for blood clots, which may involve taking medication and going to frequent doctor visits
  • Sometimes, people who are recovering may look normal on the outside, but they’re still healing on the inside
  • Blood clots are painful

Read more important things about what recovery from a blood clot can be like.

Focus on Blood Clot Prevention

It is true that not all blood clots can be prevented. About 30 percent of all blood clots that occur do not have a cause, or a known risk factor. However, there are several important things that you can do to prevent blood clots from happening, or from happening again.

The most important things that you can do to prevent blood clots are simple, and sharing them is an important part of blood clot awareness. If I had known or done these things in my situation, it may not have been as bad as it was.

Everyone can take simple steps to help prevent life-threatening blood clots.
  • Know your risk for blood clots. If you know your risk for blood clots or know when you might be in a situation that puts you at risk for blood clots like surgery or pregnancy, you can take additional steps to prevent blood clots. It is true that knowledge is power, or key, even when it comes to preventing blood clots. If you don’t know if you could be at risk, talk to your doctor about your concerns.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of blood clots. If you know the signs and symptoms of blood clots, you can seek help, hopefully before you find yourself in a life-threatening situation.
  • Know when to seek medical attention. If you think you might have a blood clots, seek help from your doctor or the hospital immediately. Don’t wait to see if it gets worse – or better. Get checked out sooner rather than later.

Learn more about how to prevent blood clots.

If you have already had a blood clot, there are some important things you can do to prevent future blood clots.
  • Take your medication as prescribed. The most common cause of blood clot recurrence is not taking your medication. If you’re struggling with your treatment plan, or side effects, talk to your doctor about your treatment options.
  • If you are going to be having surgery or a medical procedure, talk to your doctor about your risks for blood clots, and your risk for bleeding. Doctors have to carefully balance your bleeding and clotting risks. Don’t assume everyone knows your health history if you haven’t told them, and plan ahead if you can.
  • If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, talk to your doctor too. It is possible for women with a history of blood clots, or clotting condition, to have successful pregnancies. Connect with your doctor ahead of time, if you can, to talk about ways to prevent blood clots, such as taking blood thinning medications for the duration of your pregnancy.

Sharing information is the most important thing any of us can do to raise blood clot awareness, and Blood Clot Awareness Month provides the perfect opportunity to do so. If you’re not sure where to start, tell your own story and as you do, make sure to include the focus points above. Together, we can make a difference.

There is hope for healing and you are not alone,



Reader Writes In: What plans do you have to help raise blood clot awareness this month? Share in the comments.

Do you want to do more? Discover your personal plan for raising blood clot awareness.

March is Blood Clot Awareness Month and the BCRN bracelets are back! Visit my Amazon Influencer Shop to get your gear. #sponsored



Blood Clot Recurrence: Fear No More

Blood clot recurrence is something that happens. It is true that blood clots can happen more than once to the same person. The fear of blood clot recurrence is not at all uncommon if you have experienced a blood clot. You are not alone in wondering if – or even when – a blood clot will happen to you again. While some people only experience one clotting incident, myself included, some people experience many clotting incidents or even continual clotting, which is frightening to think about. Whether you have had one clot or nine clots, the fear of blood clot recurrence is valid because blood clots are dangerous and they can even be deadly. Blood clots cause physical trauma, pain and discomfort as well as emotional and psychological stress, depression and anxiety. Wondering if a second, third, fourth or tenth blood clot will happen to you, only increases the sometimes already-present emotional discomfort of surviving something that one in three people sadly do not.

Fear of Blood Clot Recurrence

In the initial days, weeks and months after my diagnosis, I worried about a second blood clot all the time. I was fearful that every twinge, pain or unusual feeling was another clot moving through my body (presumably on its way to my heart or lungs) – and I was certain that clot would be the one to claim my life. The fear consumed me and at times I could barely eat or sleep. I felt alone in my fear and I wondered if I was overreacting, further emphasizing the thought that I should keep my fear to myself. No one understood, I was certain. So, not long after my initial diagnosis, I found myself trapped in a vicious cycle of worry and and fear of a blood clot recurrence.

For days, weeks, months and even years I worried, the everlasting fear of a recurrent blood clot was at the forefront of nearly all of my thoughts. It hurt, it took its toll on my physical and emotional health – I was tired and anxious – and I feared there was no way out.

Then one day, about four years into my recovery, I realized I wasn’t afraid of getting another blood clot anymore. It was a miracle, it had to be. That was the only explanation as to why a fear I had held on to for so long was seemingly suddenly gone – without any extra encouragement on my part. Of course I prayed, pleaded, cried and wished for the fear to go away, but it hadn’t for so long, so why now?

It was then that I realized, I had also come to understand a lot about blood clots – and even more importantly, a lot about myself – in those same four years. What scared me the most about my blood clot was that I had no idea it was happening: I didn’t know my risk, I didn’t know the symptoms and I didn’t know how I could have prevented any of it. From there, I was able to determine that – armed with knowledge and the passage of time – I had some very valuable tools to help me face, minimize and nearly eliminate my fear of blood clot recurrence.

How to Minimize the Fear of Blood Clot Recurrence

blood clot recurrence tips

Know Your Risk for Blood Clots

One of the most important things you can do to help prevent blood clots is to know your risk for blood clots. I had no idea I was at risk for a blood clot taking birth control pills with estrogen until a blood clot happened to me. Learn about your risks now.

You are at increased risk for blood clots if you or a close family member have had a blood clot before; you have had recent major surgery; you have an inherited clotting condition; have cancer; are immobile for a long time (confined to bed, long-duration plane or car trip, etc.); are pregnant or have recently given birth; or use estrogen-based birth control pills or estrogen for the treatment of menopause symptoms.

You could also be at risk be at risk for a blood clot if you: have a hospital stay, major surgery such as abdominal or pelvic surgery, knee or hip replacement; have major trauma such as an auto accident or fall; live in a nursing home, are immobile, have leg paralysis, are on bed rest for three or more days or are over 65 years old; are on a trip for over four hours by plane, car, train or bus; have active cancer or chemotherapy treatment; have a bone fracture or cast; are taking estrogen-based birth control pills, patch or ring; are taking estrogen for the treatment of menopause symptoms; are pregnant or have recently gave birth; have had a prior blood clot or family history of blood clots; have heart failure; are extremely overweight; or have a genetic/hereditary or acquired blood clotting disorder.

Once you know your risk for blood clots, you can work with your doctors to determine what steps you need to take to help prevent blood clots. For example: I am at risk because I have had a DVT and PE and I have antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, an autoimmune clotting condition. For these risk factors, I take a long-term anticoagulant as part of my treatment plan. I am also at further risk if I sit for long periods or become inactive. For these additional risk factors, I make sure I move around during the day, take extra precautions on long trips and do my best to eat well and exercise.

It is important to note that in 30 percent of patients there is no known cause for blood clots, also called idiopathic. While this is scary in terms of understanding your risk, there are still important things you can do to help ease your fear of blood clot recurrence: recognize signs and symptoms of blood clots and take steps to help prevent blood clots.

Know the Signs and Symptoms of Blood Clots

One of the scariest parts about my blood clot experience is that I had no idea what to watch out for in terms of signs and symptoms of blood clots – so I did not know I had any until it was almost too late. Had I known that I was at risk taking birth control pills with estrogen and that severe pain in my leg and difficulty breathing when laying down were symptoms of a DVT and PE, maybe I would not have waited so long to get help.

A blood clot in your leg or even arm may lead to swelling of your leg or arm, pain or tenderness not caused by an injury or that does not subside, skin that is warm to the touch or skin that is red or discolored. Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

A blood clot in your lung can be life-threatening and may result in difficulty breathing, especially when lying down, chest pain that worsens with a deep breath, coughing or coughing up blood or a fast or irregular heartbeat. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room if you have any of these symptoms.

Take Steps to Help Prevent Blood Clots

The good news is, there are many things you can do to help prevent blood clots. Besides knowing your risk and recognizing the signs and symptoms of blood clots you can take some fairly simple steps to help prevent blood clots.

Talk your doctors if you have any risk factors for blood clots, including a family history of blood clots and together, devise a treatment plan. You can also talk to your relatives about your family’s history of blood clots. Before any surgery or procedures, talk with your doctors about blood clots to take preventative measures. If you are confined to a bed either in a hospital or at home due to surgery, illness or paralysis, talk to your doctor about ways to prevent blood clots. If you have been sitting for long periods or are traveling long distances, get up and move. Take steps to maintain a healthy weight, don’t smoke or quit smoking.

Do I still worry about a blood clot happening to me again? Sure, I do. I think that is a very natural part of surviving something that other people do not. I worry from time to time. However, what I can also tell you is that my fear of blood clot recurrence no longer consumes my thoughts and my time. If I think about it at all, it is a passing though, most usually connected to a specific memory about my blood clot or recovery.

There is hope for healing and you are not alone,



Reader Writes In: Are you worried about another blood clot? How do you handle your fear? What tips for facing the fear of blood clot recurrence can you share with others? Share in the comments.

What does it feel like to recover from a blood clot coverTo learn more about what it feels like to recover from a blood clot, visit here.

Are you suffering from depression after a blood clot? You’re not alone. For some tips to deal with depression after a blood clot, visit here.

To be a part of the private Facebook community, go here, and ask to join the group. Chat with you there.