Clotting is our bodies’ natural response to injury; whenever we scrape our knee or get a paper cut, our blood goes to work sealing and healing the damaged vessels. With that accomplished, the clot will naturally dissolve. However, when a clot forms in the circulatory system and does not break up, it can cause serious problems. This most often occurs in the veins, as opposed to the arteries, and is known as venous thromboembolism. The effects of a blood clot will vary depending on its location. If the clot occurs in (or moves to) a major vein, it is known as deep vein thrombosis, and it carries a much greater risk of damaging major organs. Read on to discover the five most dangerous locations for a clot to develop and their associated risks.
People who sit still for extended periods of time are more prone to blood clots, especially in the legs; when you’re less active, your blood is not circulating as quickly or efficiently. Clots are also known to occur in the arms, though not as frequently, and with the same symptoms: puffiness or swelling, discomfort (possibly warmth and itchiness) and a red or blue hue to your skin.While clots in the limbs are the least dangerous in themselves, they can easily break loose and travel through the circulatory system to other, critical locations, like the heart, lungs and brain. Clots in these locations carry their own host of serious issues.
A blood clot in the kidneys can prevent these crucial organs from filtering waste material from your blood stream. This will increase your blood pressure, as the excess volume is not being effectively removed from circulation. Additionally, it can lead to renal failure, and the kidneys will cease functioning altogether. Pain in your abdomen and lower extremities, swelling in your legs, fever, nausea and vomiting, and blood in your urine can potentially indicate a clot in your kidneys.
When a blood clot occurs in the lungs, or travels from another part of the body and becomes lodged here, it is known as a pulmonary embolism. If you suddenly feel short of breath, sweaty and lightheaded but you haven’t been vigorously exercising, you may have a pulmonary embolism; other symptoms include chest pain and coughing, sometimes accompanied by blood.
A blood clot in your heart will manifest with similar symptoms to a pulmonary embolism: chest pain, difficulty breathing and sweating. A clot in this location can cause your heart to stop functioning, leading to a heart attack. While clot formation in the heart itself is uncommon, it is more likely that a deep vein thrombosis will travel from a limb to the heart, with the same effect.
Clots can form in the brain due to fatty deposits in blood vessels as well as head trauma. This can cause difficulty speaking and seeing, and it can also cause a general feeling of physical weakness. Blood clots can also travel from other parts of the body to the brain, with the same effect. If a blood vessel in the brain becomes completely blocked, the vessel can rupture and cause a stroke.Blood clots, regardless of where they form in the body, can lead to very serious medical problems and even be fatal. If you are experiencing the symptoms above and they aren’t explained by another condition, you should contact a doctor for a professional examination.