Patient's Complete Guide to Thrombosis

Overview of Thrombosis

Thrombosis (شریان میں خون کا جم جانا ) means the formation of blood clots in the arteries that interferes with the normal blood flow. In case of injury or wound the blood tends to clot so that the bleeding can be stopped. This is one of the best and first lines of defense so that the bleeding is not severe. After some time when the wound has been healed, the clotting system breaks the clot. But, when the clots are formed inappropriately they fail to dissolve.

Thrombosis can make a person more prone to chronic diseases. It is possible to prevent this disease with the help of a primary healthcare provider.

What is Thrombus?

A thrombus is the formation of blood clots in the blood vessels. It forms in the blood vessels and then stays there and interferes with the blood flow.

Signs and Symptoms of Thrombosis

The symptoms of thrombosis are as follows. These signs may vary from person to person because of the severity of the blood clotting:

  • Frequent pains in the chest
  • Swollen legs or arm
  • Pain in the calf or inner thigh 
  • Absence of mind 
  • Numbness in one side of the body

Patients suffering from thrombosis may exhibit the same signs as other blood disorders and that is why it is important to consult with your doctor.

Types of Thrombosis

There are two known types of thrombosis depending upon the formation of blood clots:

Arterial Thrombosis

Arteries are those blood vessels that carry the blood away from the blood to the body parts. In arterial thrombosis, a blood clot is formed in the arteries and then tends to stay there. This way the blood flow to the body is interrupted. 

Deep Venous Thrombosis

Venous thrombosis or deep vein thrombosis is the formation of a thrombus in the veins. Veins are special blood vessels that carry blood to the heart from the body organs. This condition usually arises in the lower body parts such as the lower legs, pelvis, and thighs. But in rare cases, they can also form in the arm.

Causes of Thrombosis

The causes of thrombosis can be one of the following: 

  • Damage to the blood vessel due to surgery can activate the coagulation process.
  • Slower blood flow than regular.
  • Thrombosis can be due to longer periods of desk-bound behaviors. 
  • Thrombophilia is a condition in which the clotting factors are high in the blood. This leads to the frequent coagulation of the blood.

Risk Factors of Thrombosis

Following are the risk factors for thrombosis :

  1. Family history or genetics 
  2. Previous history of deep vein thrombosis 
  3. Pregnancy 
  4. Use of birth control pills 
  5. Hormone therapy 
  6. Trauma to a vein 
  7. Sudden loss of sensation in the legs
  8. Inheritance of blood clotting disorders 
  9. Older age 
  10. Smoking 
  11. Obesity 
  12. A nervous catheter
  13. Chronic diseases such as cancer, heart issues, or lung cancer
  14. Sedentary lifestyle 
  15. Malnutrition or poor dietary choices 
  16. High blood pressure 
  17. High levels of cholesterol

Complications of Thrombosis 

Thrombosis is a serious condition that can give rise to permanent organ damage. Deep vein thrombosis is a more common condition of thrombosis. The complication due to DVT are as follows:

  • Pulmonary Embolism (PE)

Deep vein thrombosis tends to affect the lower leg. When the blood clot starts to travel away from the vein, with the blood flow it ends up blocking an artery in the lungs. This condition is known as pulmonary embolism. People who have DVT are at a greater risk of developing PE.

  • Post-Thrombotic Syndrome or Chronic Venous Insufficiency

This condition can arise when the clot formation stays in the leg or arm for a longer period. This clot formation can put pressure on the veins. When the blood flow is constricted, the valves don’t work well and the blood is either pooled or pushed back.

  • Phlegmasia Cerulea Dolens (PCD)

PCD is a serious form of thrombosis. In this medical condition, thrombosis leads to maximum blood blockage. This build-up of blood can cause collateral damage to the veins.

Prevention

Given below are the preventive measures that a person can take to reduce the complications that thrombosis may cause:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Quit sedentary lifestyle 
  • Avoid tobacco smoke 
  • Lose weight 
  • Manage other chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure
  • Getting back on your feet after a surgical procedure

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask the patients about their medical history and will recommend a physical exam. Apart from these, several other tests can diagnose thrombosis.

  • Ultrasound

These tests used sound waves or sonography to measure the blood flow through both the arteries and veins. Ultrasound is one of the primary and most used diagnostics means for thrombosis. In several cases, an ultrasound procedure can be repeated to check whether the blood clot is growing or not.

  • Tests

To check the proficiency of blood clots, several tests are conducted. These tests are:

  1. D-Dimer blood test 
  2. Contrast Venography 
  3. Magnetic reasoning imaging
  • Venography

With the help of a dye, the blood flow is measured. After the injection of the dye into the veins, X-rays are used to get a visual of the blood flow. This is an invasive procedure that is rarely used.

  • MRI, MRA, or CT

Your doctor can suggest whether there is a need for MRI, MRA, or a CT scan. This recommendation is based on the severity of the blood clot.

  • D-dimer Blood Test

Patients who are suffering from thrombosis, especially deep vein thrombosis, have high levels of D dimer in their blood.

 

Treatment of Thrombosis | When to Consult a Doctor

Some of the common treatments for thrombosis are as following:

  • The use of anticoagulants or blood-thinning medicines to dissolve the clots is the most popular mode of treatment for thrombosis. These medications do not allow your clotting factors to coagulate your blood anymore. Blood thinners can be used orally or can be given to a person through IV. Heparin is usually administered by IV.

 Apart from heparin, the other used medications are:

  • Enoxaparin
  • Fondaparinux

Medications that you can swallow  are:

  • Warfarin
  • Dabigatran

Other types of blood thinners are:

  • Rivaroxaban
  • Apixaban
  • Edoxaban

Clot-Busters 

These medications are used in severe cases of clot formation. The doctor may give it to the patient depending upon the severity of the disease. When the doctors suspect the onset of PE they prescribe these clot busters.

Note:  (Consult your doctor before taking any medications)

Stockings

These are special socks that are of knee length and they prevent blood build-up in the lower regions of the body. In case of swelling, the patients should wear them on the legs. 

Some Other Treatments Are

  • Insertion of catheters so that the affected vessels can be widened 
  • Stents so that the blood vessels are held open

Speciality for Thrombosis

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