A 68 year old female with a history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes came in complaining of pain, swelling and redness of her leg with no shortness of breath upon further workup found to have deep venous thrombosis (blood clot in her leg); A 36 year old man who is a professor at the local university went to the ER because he was having chest pain but no shortness of breath upon further workup found to have pulmonary embolism (blood clot in his lung); A 16 year old male high school student complained of swelling and tightness in his right arm with arm pain upon further workup found to have subclavian vein thrombosis (blood clot in his arm).
All the above people were people I have seen in my practice with a blood clot. It happened to them. It could happen to anyone. Obviously, there are certain people at higher risk than others such as people with history of recent surgery, smoking, previous blood clot, obesity, older age, people on birth control or hormone replacement, pregnancy, recent long travel, medical problems that can increase your risk such as cancer or clotting disorders. If you have any concerning symptoms such as calf or arm pain, lower or upper extremity swelling especially in 1 extremity, redness, warmth, shortness of breath, chest pain, to name a few, you MUST get checked out by your physician. It is up to you to do it!
Prevention goes a long way. Drink plenty of fluids, get plenty of exercise, weight loss if obese or overweight, quit smoking, make sure if traveling stand up and walk around every hour or two. Relay your symptoms and concerns to your doctor. Take action! If something does not feel right, then go with your gut and push until you get answers. After all, it is your life and as told by the many stories here, when something as significant as this happens, it not only effects you but also your loved ones. It can have devastating and heartbreaking consequences.
Darla Hull, MD St. John's Clinic Family Medicine 1640 East Kearney Springfield, MO 65803 417-863-9190