Understanding Blood Clots

Stop the Clot, Spread the Word: Understanding Blood Clots


Stop The Clot, Spread The Word [PDF – 1.20 MB]


Title: Stop The Clot, Spread The Word

Blood clots can affect anyone, and blood clots can be prevented.

On average, one American dies of a blood clot every 6 minutes.

Understanding Blood Clots

A blood clot in one of the large veins, usually in a person’s leg or arm, is called a deep vein thrombosis or DVT. When a blood clot like this forms, it can partly or completely block the flow of blood through the vein.

If a DVT is not treated, it can move or break off and travel to the lungs.

A blood clot in the lung is called pulmonary embolism or PE, and can cause death and requires immediate medical attention.

Know Your Risks

Blood clots do not discriminate by age, gender, ethnicity or race. Blood clots can affect anyone. Three major risk factors are:

  • Cancer
  • Hospitalization & Surgery
  • Pregnancy

Other Risk Factors Include:

  • Birth control that contains estrogen
  • Being overweight
  • Hormone replacement therapy that contains estrogen
  • Family history of blood clots
  • Trauma, particularly when the vein is injured
  • Smoking
  • Immobility or sitting for long periods

Recognize The Signs And Symptoms

Blood clots can be safely treated.

DVT (Arm or Leg) – if you experience any of these, call your doctor as soon as possible.

  • Swelling of your leg or arm
  • Pain or tenderness not caused by an injury
  • Skin that is warm to the touch, with swelling or pain
  • Redness of the skin, with swelling or pain

PE (Lung) – if you experience any of these, seek medical attention immediately.

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain that worsens with a deep breath
  • Coughing up blood
  • Faster than normal or irregular heartbeat

Blood Clots Can Be Prevented

  • Know your risks and recognize signs and symptoms.
  • Tell your doctor if you have risk factors for blood clots.
  • Before any surgery, talk with your doctor about blood clots.
  • See your doctor as soon as you can if you do have any symptoms.

To learn more about blood clots and to spread the word, visit stoptheclot.org/spreadtheword