What Everyone Should Know About Blood Clots

Don’t have time to read through or search for a bunch of information? These are just the facts, just quickly. What everyone should know about blood clots is compiled here including stats, signs, symptoms and risk factors. Share, print and pin to help spread awareness – it could mean the difference between life and death for you or someone you know.

Blood Clots By the Numbers

  • Blood clots (DVT and PE) affect an estimated 900,000 Americans each year (Source).
  • Blood clots (DVT and PE) kill an estimated 100,000 Americans each year. The number of deaths from blood clots  exceeds those from breast cancer, AIDS, and motor vehicle accidents combined (Source).
  • One person every minute will be diagnosed with DVT in the U.S. One person every six minutes will die from a PE in the U.S. (Source)
  • Blood clots are a leading cause of preventable hospital deaths in the United States (Source).
  • Blood clots are the leading cause of maternal deaths in the United States (Source).
  • 1 in 3 people who are diagnosed with PE will die.
  • In 25 percent of people who experience a PE, the first symptom is sudden death.

What is a Blood Clot?

  • DVT – A DVT (short for Deep Vein Thrombosis) is a type of clot that forms in a major vein of the leg or, less commonly, in the arms, pelvis, or other large veins in the body
  • PE – DVT can develop into PE (short for Pulmonary Embolism), a dangerous condition in which the clot detaches from its point of origin and travels through the bloodstream to the lungs, where it becomes stuck and prevents blood flow.

What You Need to Know

Symptoms of DVT

    • Swelling in the affected leg, including swelling in your ankle and foot.
    • Pain in your leg; this can include pain in your ankle and foot. The pain often starts in your calf and can feel like cramping or a charley horse. It won’t go away with regular stretching, massaging or rest.
    • Warmth over the affected area.
    • Changes in your skin color, such as turning pale, red or blue or purple.
    • You need to know in about half of all cases, deep vein thrombosis occurs without any noticeable symptoms.

Symptoms of PE

    • Unexplained sudden onset of shortness of breath
    • Chest pain or discomfort that worsens when you take a deep breath, cough or even lie down
    • Feeling light headed or dizzy, or fainting
    • Rapid pulse
    • Sweating
    • Coughing up blood
    • A sense of anxiety, nervousness or impending doom
Risk Factors
    • Hospital stay
    • Major surgery such as abdominal or pelvic surgery
    • Knee or hip replacement
    • Major trauma such as an auto accident or fall
    • Nursing home living
    • Leg paralysis
    • Older than 65 years
    • Trips over four hours by plane, car, train or bus
    • Active cancer or chemotherapy treatment
    • Bone fracture or cast
    • Birth control pills, patch or ring
    • Hormone replacement therapy
    • Pregnancy or a recent birth
    • Prior blood clot or family history of blood clots
    • Heart failure
    • Bed rest over three days
    • Obesity
    • Genetic/hereditary or acquired blood clotting disorder

What You Need to Do

To Prevent a Blood Clot
    • Stay active and stretch often when sitting or traveling by plane or car for long periods
    • Maintain an ideal body weight
    • Know your risk factors for developing a clot and discuss with your doctor;
    • Know your family medical history
    • If you have a major hospitalization or surgery, ask your doctor what will be done to prevent clotting (i.e. medications, compression stockings, etc.)
If you are experiencing a DVT
    • Seek medical attention as soon as you are able. Either make an appointment with your primary care physician or visit your local emergency room.
If you are experiencing a PE
    • PE is life-threatening, seek emergency medical care immediately or call 9-1-1.

The Bottom Line

30 percent of people affected by PE will die if left untreated (Source). Prompt diagnosis and proper treatment saves lives.