Our grateful thanks to Professor Beverley Hunt and Thrombosis UK for their contribution to our radio report (which you can hear again via the audio player at the bottom of this page) and for the use of the information below from their website.
Thrombosis is the formation of potentially deadly blood clots.
Blood clots can form in the artery (arterial thrombosis) or vein (venous thrombosis).
Blood clots in the arteries cause heart attacks and strokes. Blood clots in the veins can lead to death due to breaking off and blocking the blood supply to the lungs:
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is when blood clots in a deep vein (most often the leg)
Pulmonary embolism (PE) occurs when a blood clot breaks loose and travels to the lungs
Collectively, DVT and PE are known venous thromboembolism - VTE.
Most deep vein blood clots occur in the lower leg or thigh, however, they can also occur in other parts of the body.
A blood clot in a deep vein can break off and travel through the bloodstream. The loose clot is called an embolus. It can travel to an artery in the lungs and block blood flow. This condition is called pulmonary embolism, or PE, a very serious condition.
Many DVTs occur in the legs, most often the calf, but DVTs can occur anywhere and in many cases, there may be few or no symptoms of DVT.
If symptoms do occur they can include:
DVT usually (although not always) affects one leg. The pain may be worse when you bend your foot upward towards your knee. A DVT requires urgent investigation and treatment. Remember if in doubt get checked out. If left untreated, about 1 in 10 people with a DVT will develop a pulmonary embolism.
Some of the signs and symptoms of a PE include:
A pulmonary embolism requires urgent investigation and treatment. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop breathlessness and chest pain.
Risk Factors. Being aware of risk factors, and especially of your own risk factors is really important in helping you to avoid and protect yourself from thrombosis. bThe most common risk factors for thrombosis are:
Blood clots are rare in young, healthy people. You're more likely to get them if you:
There are also other things that increase your risk of clots. Find out more via the NHS website
Listen to this weeks radio report
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