A pulmonary embolism is a health condition that many people are not aware of or know they might be at risk for a blood clot. It is a severe health issue that occurs when there is a blockage in a pulmonary artery in the lungs. A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot makes its way from the legs to the lungs. In rare cases, it can occur in other parts of the body like Deep Vein Thrombosis. The clots block the flow of blood to the lungs, and is very often life-threatening. Once you have been diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism, you must seek prompt treatment. Catching the PE early can significantly lessen the risk of death. You can help prevent PE by taking measures that can help stop blood clots from forming.
Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism
The symptoms of PE will vary depending on several factors. One factor is how much of the lung is involved. Another factor is if your lung is healthy or if you have a lung disease. Lastly, it will also depend on the size of the clot. Signs and symptoms could include shortness of breath, chest pain, or a cough that produces sputum with blood streaks in it. The chest pain may get worse with breathing, eating, stooping, or bending. Although it gets worse with exertion, it will not go away during rest. Other signs are fever, clamminess, leg pain, sweating, dizziness, and rapid heartbeat.
Risk Factors for PE
The risk factors include a family history of embolisms, a fracture to the hip or leg, a history of stroke or heart attack, being overweight, a major surgery, taking estrogen, being over the age of 60, and being sedentary. It is imperative to be physically active, especially for older adults. If you have any of these risk factors, and are experiencing chest pain, coughing with blood in sputum, or leg pain, see your doctor immediately.
Reasons to See a Doctor
One main important reason for seeking medical attention is that PE has the potential for being fatal. If any of the symptoms persist, get help quickly. Your medical professional will treat the PE in the hospital, and send you home with complete instructions on how to take care of yourself to prevent any future blood clots.
Another reason to see a physician is to avoid the possibility of further affecting any underlying health issues. PE can be devastating if you have heart disease or any other health condition.
Thirdly, once you have sought treatment for PE, your physician can then start you on the course of medical procedure for your deep vein thrombosis. One treatment option is blood thinners, which will serve as two key roles. First, it will keep the clot from getting bigger, and second, it will prevent new clots from forming. Blood thinners don’t dissolve the clot. Your body will do this over time.
A Final Thought
It is essential to take care of issues that involve the blood because you want the blood to flow freely throughout the body. If you are not exercising regularly, now would be a good time to start. If there is pain in the legs that do not go away after some physical activity, it could be a clot. Eating healthy meals also keeps the blood flowing freely. Do all that you can to help prevent PE, and do not hesitate to see your physician if there is suspicion of a blood clot.