Cramps are a common cause of leg pain, but there’s also a possibility of something more serious. If a blood clot has formed in the deep veins of your leg, it can cause a blockage in circulation. Although your body naturally clumps up your blood to stop bleeding after an injury, a blood clot that forms inside of your veins can be a life threatening emergency. Blood clots are more common in adults and can happen at any age. If you’re wondering whether or not to go to the ER, here are some commonly asked questions that may help in your decision. Whenever in doubt, we always advise to seek professional medical advice.
Are you Dealing with a Medical Emergency?
What are the Symptoms of a Clot in the Leg?
A blood clot may cause swelling and pain in the calf or leg. It’s important to seek medical help or go to the ER if you’re concerned about unexplained pain, shortness of breath, chest pain, swelling or redness.
How Does a Clot Form?
Blood clots form when there is damage to the lining of a blood vessel. Also, if your blood isn’t flowing like it should, it could build up at your lungs and heart, causing platelets to stick together. Some common health risks like smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and genetics can lead to blood clots. Other causes include trauma to the body, surgery, prolonged immobility, birth control pills, hormone treatments, and other medications.
When is a Blood Clot a Medical Emergency?
An abnormal blood clot that forms in a vein located in a leg or pelvis, also known as deep vein thrombosis, can break off and travel to your lungs. This is known as a pulmonary embolism, which is a life threatening medical condition when not treated right away.
How is a Clot Treated?
As a patient, your doctor will examine your medical history, the location of the blood clot, and the cause. Depending on the findings, you may have to undergo surgery, be prescribed anticoagulation medications, or a combination of the two. To prevent future blood clots, the doctor may encourage you to make lifestyle changes. Some recommendations may include exercising more, quitting smoking, and starting a diet that is low in cholesterol, fat and sugar.