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How can you tell if a blood clot is forming in your arms and legs?

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When a blood clot forms in one of the deep veins in your arm or leg, way beneath your skin's surface, it could be something called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). That's dangerous because the clot could travel to your heart or lungs. You're more likely to get DVT if you haven't moved around for a long time, say after surgery or during a long plane trip. Get medical help right away if you notice any of these symptoms:

  • Swelling. This can happen in the exact spot where the blood clot forms, or you may puff up on your entire limb. Change in color. You might notice that your arm or leg takes on a red or blue tinge, or gets warm or itchy. Pain. As the clot gets worse, you may hurt or get sore. The feeling can range from a dull ache to intense pain. Trouble breathing. If this happens, it could mean that the clot has moved from your arm or leg to your lungs. You may also get a bad cough, and might even cough up blood. You may get pain in your chest or feel dizzy. Call 911 to get medical help right away.

SOURCES:

National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "What Causes Excessive Blood Clotting?" "What Causes Pulmonary Embolism?"

American Heart Association: "Understand Your Risk for Excessive Blood Clotting," "Ischemic Strokes (Clots)."

University of Colorado Health: "Mesenteric venous thrombosis."

Society for Vascular Surgery: "Renovascular Conditions."

Reviewed by James Beckerman on July 5, 2018

SOURCES:

National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "What Causes Excessive Blood Clotting?" "What Causes Pulmonary Embolism?"

American Heart Association: "Understand Your Risk for Excessive Blood Clotting," "Ischemic Strokes (Clots)."

University of Colorado Health: "Mesenteric venous thrombosis."

Society for Vascular Surgery: "Renovascular Conditions."

Reviewed by James Beckerman on July 5, 2018

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How can you tell if a blood clot is forming in your heart?

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