A thrombosis or blood clot is a disruption or blockage of a blood vessel. Above all, thrombosis occurs in older people in the legs or veins after sitting for a long time or with insufficient exercise.
What is thrombosis?
Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot, the so-called thrombus, within a blood vessel. This leads to narrowing or even blockage of the vessels. Thrombosis most commonly occurs in the deep veins of the legs and pelvis. For common bile duct cyst dictionary definitions, please visit foodanddrinkjournal.com.
Blood clots in the superficial veins are less common. These are varicose veins and they are usually less dangerous. Thrombosis is the most common vascular disease.
Arterial thrombosis is less common. It leads to a disruption in the blood flow to the affected organ or part of the body, resulting in a lack of oxygen.
The cause of a thrombosis can be the slowing down of the blood flow. This can happen due to immobilization of the legs in particular, such as after an operation, after childbirth, or by sitting for a long time, such as in a car, train or plane.
Changes in blood composition can also lead to thrombosis. The warm season is worth mentioning here, when the person affected drinks too little and wears high-heeled shoes. Another possible cause of thrombosis can be changes in the vessel wall due to inflammation, injury or deposits.
Particular factors such as the intake of estrogens, the consumption of nicotine ( smoking ) or infections can significantly increase the probability of developing a thrombosis. Frequent and regular fatty food can also lead to deposits on the vessel walls. This, in turn, also increases the risk of a blood clot.
However, half of all thrombosis diseases can be traced back to a disease-related and hereditary blood clotting disorder, also known as APC resistance.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
A thrombosis can cause a wide variety of symptoms, depending on the blood vessel affected. Sometimes there are no symptoms, or the clot takes a while to cause symptoms. Basically, a feeling of heaviness or a feeling of tension in the foot or leg indicates a thrombosis.
The leg, lower leg, or ankle swells, the skin is warm, and may also turn bluish or reddish. There may be aching pain that resembles a sore muscle. Swelling occurs, which worsens over time. It is striking that the symptoms subside as soon as those affected put their legs up.
However, this does not improve the disease itself. If the vein is blocked and the blood can no longer drain properly, it sometimes flows through veins that are located on the surface. These then appear on the shin as so-called “warning veins” and are very clearly visible.
When a thrombosis forms in a vein in the arm, the symptoms described appear in that part of the body. If the symptoms are not treated, they may also experience breathing problems or chest pain, and some people may cough up blood, which is a sign of a pulmonary embolism.
The course of a thrombosis is difficult to determine in some cases. After the clot narrows the blood vessel, it can continue to enlarge and eventually block the vessel completely.
In particular, there is a risk that the thrombus will detach and enter the lungs. It can get stuck here and lead to a pulmonary embolism, i.e. the blockage of a blood vessel in the lungs. This can even lead to the death of the person concerned. If the thrombosis does not resolve, a new bloodstream can form here to bypass the blockage. Symptoms can include swelling of the legs, a feeling of heaviness or pain in the calf.
A thrombosis can be associated with various complications. Following the blood clot, a vein often remains, which is partially or even completely blocked. As a result, a backlog of blood forms within the affected limb. Due to the increased venous pressure, varicose veins, brownish discoloration on the lower leg and chronic swelling develop after a few years.
It is not uncommon for this to cause an ulcer in the ankle region, which is referred to in medicine as a leg ulcer. Doctors also refer to these sequelae as a postthrombotic syndrome. One of the most serious and feared complications of thrombosis is embolism. It is caused due to the detachment of part or all of the blood clot.
The blood carries the clot away so it travels through veins and the right heart to the lungs, where it causes a pulmonary embolism. Patients with deep vein thrombosis are particularly affected by a pulmonary embolism. This complication has different degrees of severity.
Another serious effect of thrombosis is sepsis (blood poisoning). With this consequence, bacteria settle in the blood clot and spread with the blood throughout the patient’s body. Antibiotics are usually administered as a countermeasure.
Another complication is chronic venous insufficiency. This is a permanent weakness of the veins. It becomes noticeable through the development of varicose veins, edema (water retention in the tissue) and skin inflammation.
When should you go to the doctor?
A doctor should be consulted in the event of circulatory disorders, abnormalities in cardiac activity and acute irregularities in the organism. Feelings of tension in the limbs, a feeling of heaviness or discoloration of the skin are indications of a health impairment. Since thrombosis can develop into a life-threatening condition for those affected, a doctor’s visit must be made as soon as the first discrepancies arise. Problems with breathing and chest pain are warning signs of the organism.
A stabbing sensation in the area of the heart needs immediate medical attention and treatment. In the event of an acute health-threatening condition, an emergency service must be alerted immediately. A sudden drop in inner strength, severe dizziness, unsteady gait and disturbances of consciousness are emergency signals from the body. Until a rescue team arrives, those present must take first aid measures to ensure the victim’s survival. Swelling, unsteady gait and restricted mobility are further indications of a health irregularity.
Visible formation of veins, for example on the legs or arms, should be presented to a doctor. It is already a first indication of the presence of a disease of the blood circulation. The formation of varicose veins, water retention and general irregularities in blood flow should also be discussed with a doctor at an early stage. There is a need for action in the event of headaches, functional disorders or sensory disorders.
Treatment & Therapy
Treatment of a blood clot depends on the size, location, and age of the thrombosis. In any case, the first goal should be to prevent enlargement of the thrombus. This is achieved, among other things, by administering heparin and other blood thinners.
Within the first ten days it is still possible to restore blood flow and eliminate the thrombosis in this way. This is achieved through drug treatment. In more severe and older cases of the disease, surgical intervention is required. This can be a thrombectomy or a bypass.
During a thrombectomy, the clot is removed from the vessel. If the thrombosis is treated with a bypass operation, the blocked part of the blood vessel is simply bypassed and the blood flow is made possible again in this way.
Since there is a further risk of thrombosis, a longer-term drug treatment with blood-thinning agents follows after a thrombosis. The use of thrombosis stockings is also recommended and the patient should exercise regularly.
Once the clog is removed, the danger is over for the time being. However, the risk of developing a new blood clot may still exist. The medical approach is to reduce blood clotting, with the result that platelet clumping is reduced to a minimum. For this reason, thrombosis patients often receive tablets that inhibit blood coagulation.
Such drugs can usually be prescribed for months or years – the patients should take them consistently. Taking blood-thinning medication is associated with a very small limitation in life. However, it should always be borne in mind that the blood does not clot as well as a result.
So if you get injured, you should reckon with the fact that wounds can bleed not only more heavily, but also for longer. Bruises could also develop more quickly. Before an operation, the medication should be discontinued in good time after consultation with the doctor. Naturopathic substances can also effectively accompany aftercare, for example garlic and onions are known for their blood-thinning effect.
In addition, horse chestnut and comfrey preparations can help with feelings of tension and heaviness in the legs. The aim of thrombosis follow-up is to prevent the platelets from clumping together again so that a blood clot cannot travel to vital organs such as the heart.
You can do that yourself
There are many ways to reduce the risk of thrombosis with the help of simple everyday measures. Getting enough exercise keeps blood flowing in your legs, which helps prevent blood clots. Endurance sports such as cycling or swimming are particularly suitable. On the other hand, short, jerky movements, such as those that occur when playing tennis, are less suitable.
In addition to an active lifestyle, you should also pay attention to a balanced diet. Overweight should be reduced to normal weight if possible. In addition, alcohol and nicotine should ideally not be consumed. It is also important to always drink enough water.
It is advisable to avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time. Short walks or leg exercises while sitting can be done, for example, if long periods of sitting cannot be avoided entirely. For longer flights, it is advisable to wear special compression or support stockings as a preventive measure. The stockings can also be worn in high heat or while sleeping. To support the blood flow in the veins, cold showers or cold footbaths are also suitable. Alternating showers can also stimulate blood circulation.
The contraceptive pill can pose a risk of thrombosis. Therefore, alternative methods of contraception should be considered and clarified by a doctor if possible.