Blood clotting disorders, signs and symptoms

Our blood has a very important task. It seamlessly transports throughout the body the things we need to stay alive: oxygen, disease-fighting white blood cells, nutrition and more

When we cut ourselves, our blood clots to prevent total blood loss

Our blood is often taken for granted.

We do not think about it until something like a cut or wound happens.

A considerable number of lives are affected by a lack of awareness.

We want to raise awareness of how blood clots form, their signs and symptoms.

What is a blood clot?

A blood clot is our body’s first aid against external bleeding.

When exposed to air or other substances, it turns into a gelatinous clot formed by the platelets and fibrin contained within it.

This is our body’s biological self-preservation function.

Blood clots form in our body in two ways.

One is clots that remain in one place.

This is thrombosis.

Another type of clot breaks off from the point where it develops and moves to different parts of our body.

This can cause an embolism that can rupture. If it is found in the lungs or brain, it can be fatal (Blood Clots 2020).

What causes blood clots in the body?

Generally, our body reacts to a wound or cut by clotting blood.

In some cases, however, blood clots form for no obvious reason.

This can happen due to certain risk factors or conditions such as:

  • Prolonged sitting – work, travel, etc.
  • Prolonged bed rest due to long-term illness, hospitalisation or surgery
  • Pregnancy, certain hormonal medications, smoking or obesity
  • Certain types of cancer such as pancreatic, lung, multiple myeloma or blood-related cancers
  • A family history of blood clots
  • Diseases related to chronic inflammation
  • Certain infections (HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C or Lyme disease)
  • Autoimmune disorders

( 2020)

How do you know if you have a blood clot in a neuralgic spot?

Blood clots can reach the arteries or veins of the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and even the limbs.

Depending on where a blood clot forms, it has been classified into one of four categories in the table below:

  • Superficial thrombophlebitis – If the vein that has the clot is located just under the skin, it is called superficial venous thrombosis or superficial thrombophlebitis. This clot also has the possibility of reaching the lungs if it reaches the deep veins. In these cases, immediate medical attention and treatment are required (Healthline 2019).
  • Deep vein thrombosis – Deep vein thrombosis, commonly known as DVT, occurs when a clot forms in one or more deep veins in our body, usually in the arms or legs.
  • Pulmonary embolism – This is a blood clot in the lungs. It blocks the normal supply of oxygen. This lack of oxygen can also damage other organs in our body. If the clot is large or the artery is blocked by many smaller clots, pulmonary embolism can be fatal.
  • Arterial thrombosis – This is a blood clot that develops in an artery. It can be fatal when it obstructs or interrupts the flow of blood to important organs, such as the heart or brain. If a blood clot narrows one or more arteries leading to the heart, a muscle pain known as angina (NIH 2020) can occur.

Symptoms of a blood clot

The symptoms of a blood clot generally vary depending on its location.

They can occur suddenly and worsen quite rapidly.

Superficial thrombophlebitis

  • Tenderness and pain that worsen with the addition of pressure
  • Pain in the limb
  • Darkening of the skin over the vein
  • Hardening of the vein

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

  • Unusual redness and warmth of the skin
  • Excruciating pain not caused by an injury
  • Swelling in a certain part of the body
  • Cramp or golden horse sensation

Pulmonary embolism

  • Unexplained shortness of breath
  • Unexplained cough
  • Accelerated heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Feeling tired or not feeling yourself

Arterial thrombosis

  • Coldness/coldness in the body
  • Lack of pulse
  • Lack of movement
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Pain or spasms in muscles

(US News and World Report 2019)

When a blood clot means a visit to the emergency room

If any of the above symptoms occur, it is urgent to go to the emergency room.

In most cases, it is best to call the Emergency Number because rapid intervention can save lives and powerful drugs are available that, if administered quickly, can break the clot and reduce the severity of damage to vital organs.

Bibliographic references

“Here’s How to Recognize the Warning Signs of a Blood Clot.” 15 Nov. 2019, U.S. News & World Report,

“Blood Clots.” Blood Clots, 4 Feb. 2020,

“Impact of Blood Clots on the United States.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7 Feb. 2020,

“Population Specific Fact Sheet – Blood Clots.” National Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative,

“Arterial Thrombosis.” Illnesses & Conditions | NHS Inform,

Roddick, Julie. “Superficial Thrombophlebitis.” Superficial Thrombophlebitis, Healthline, 20 Sept. 2016,

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