Medical Info

Blood clots are an especially dangerous and life threating complication, depending on which artery or vein in the body. For example, a blood clot can form in a cerebral artery and cause severe paralysis and even death. The formation of blood clots is related to numerous factors. These include atherosclerosis development, trauma and genetic disorders. These contribute to abnormal clotting and narrowing of the blood vessels, and thus, blockages. These blood clots thus can directly impede with blood flow to the tissues of the body and cause health complications. Treatment of blood clots must begin immediately following the signs and symptoms of a blood clot. These symptoms are again dependent on where the clot has formed in the body. In the brain, muscle numbness, facial paralysis and migraines can result, while in the heart, chest pain, shortness of breath and abnormal heart rates are often present. Clots can also form in the extremities and this is associated with swelling, redness and warmth in the area. It is imperative to monitor for these signs and symptoms as the probability of dissolving blood clots is greatly improved if treatment is begun immediately.

The treatment of blood clots involves numerous diagnostic procedures. These can include computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance images, angiographs, and ultrasounds. Your physician will decide which diagnostic procedure is best to elicit detailed images of the clot in the body. Treatment for blood clots differs depending on where the clot has formed. In general, the treatment of blood clots includes lifestyle changes, medications and surgery. Lifestyle changes are associated with decreasing the risk and size of the present clot. These include quitting smoking, exercising regularly and avoiding long periods of inactivity. Medications for blood clots are also extremely common. These include anticoagulants, antiplatelets and thrombolytics. Warfarin and heparin are the most common anticoagulants, while aspirin and tissue plasminogen activator are the most common antiplatelet and thrombolytic respectively. These medications for blood clots are not without side effects and thus, it is important to discuss them at length with your physician to avoid problematic health complications associated with the drug. Treatment of blood clots with surgery is most often used if a blood clot has formed in one of the cerebral arteries of the brain. This is due to the life-threatening situation a blood clot in the brain presents. The most common procedure is a carotid endarterectomy. This procedure helps to restore blood flow to the brain by removing plaque build up and reversing atherosclerosis development.

Formation of Blood Clots

The formation of blood clots is usually associated with a defensive mechanism by the body to deter severe or fatal bleeding. These clots are formed by platelets in the blood that coagulant and act as a plug for the wound. Sometimes, hyperactive or the abnormal formation of blood clots can develop. This can be a very serious health complication as blood clots can impede with blood flow to numerous areas of the body, including the brain, heart and lungs. There are numerous genetic diseases that are associated with hyperactive clotting. These individuals are especially at risk for stroke development. Also, aging, smoking, atherosclerosis, trauma, obesity, diabetes and hypertension can all contribute to the formation of blood clots. Thus, it is important to mitigate the preventable risk factors associated with the formation of blood clots to avoid serious health problems. Your doctor is the best person to aid in this.

Treatment of Blood Clots

The treatment of blood clots is dependent on where the clot formed, how large the present clot is, and the severity of symptoms. For example, the treatment of blood clots in the legs is different from the treatment for blood clots in the heart or brain. In general, lifestyle changes, medications for blood clots, and surgery are used.

Lifestyle Changes

The most common lifestyle changes recommended are directly associated with the risk factors presented. These lifestyle changes aid in decreasing the risk from suffering a blood clot in the body and are usually always recommended in the treatment of blood clots. These lifestyle changes include exercising on a daily basis, eating healthy foods (avoiding foods high in saturated and trans fats, sugars), losing weight, quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol and avoiding long periods of inactivity. Your doctor is the best person to consult on improving lifestyle habits.

Medications

Medications for blood clots are almost always used in the treatment of blood clots. This is because they can actively work in dissolving blood clots and can prevent further clots from forming. The most common medications are anticoagulants, antiplatelets, and thrombolytics.

Compression Socks

Compression socks are commonly used in the treatment for blood clots in the legs. They pose no risk to the patient and thus, are recommended by physicians. Compression socks should not be used as the method of treatment for blood clots in the legs. This is because they only help to encourage blood flow, rather than actively seek to treat the current blood clot present. It is important to speak with your doctor on the use of compression socks.

Surgery

Surgery is not common in the treatment of blood clots. It is only used in a situation becomes life threatening and needs immediate treatment. The most common time surgery is needed is if a blood clots forms in the brain or lungs. This can pose a serious and immediate fatal situation and must be alleviated immediately. Carotid endarerectomy is a common surgical procedure used to restore blood flow to the brain. Surgeons enter the carotid artery and remove plaque build up, which can reverse atherosclerosis development. Thus, this greatly improves blood flow to the brain and can prevent strokes from occurring in the future.

It is extremely important to discuss with your doctor on the treatment methods for blood clots. He or she can provide information on the positives and negatives of each method for treatment of blood clots.