Blood clots are jelly-like masses of blood which form after an injury to protect against excessive bleeding. Proteins and platelets in the plasma work in synergy to form a clot in the affected area. The body usually dissolves the clot once the injury heals.
The clots occasionally form within arteries or veins without injury and do not break down on their own. Consequently, this may lead to pulmonary embolism and stroke. It is important to understand that clots are very serious and require precise diagnosis and adequate treatment.
According to the CDC,
- Stroke accounts for over 130,000 deaths in the U.S annually, which is one out of every twenty deaths
- Every 40 seconds someone in the U.S has a stroke and every 4 minutes someone dies as result of it
- Annually, over 795,000 Americans have a stroke, out of which 610,000 are first/ new strokes
- It is estimated that about 185,000 strokes are in those who have had a stroke earlier
- Up to 87 percent of all strokes are ischemic, where blood flow to the brain is restricted
- Stroke costs about $33 billion annually in the U.S, including the medicines to treat it, the cost of health care services, and missed days of work
- Stroke reduces mobility in over half of stroke survivors aged 65 or over
Types of Blood Clots: Arterial and Venous
Arterial Blood Clots
Blood clots can either form in arteries or in the veins. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart, while veins are responsible for bringing the oxygen-depleted blood back to the heart.
Arterial clots occur in the arteries and block blood and oxygen from reaching important organs. They typically form in the legs and feet, but are also like to form in the brain and lead to stroke as well as in the heart and cause a heart attack.
Symptoms of Arterial Clots
- Muscle pain or spasms to the affected area
- Tingling or numbness in your leg or arm
- Fingers or hands that feel cool to the touch
- Loss of color to the affected area
- Cold arms or legs
- Weakness of the affected area
Risk Factors for Arterial Clots
- Lack of physical activity
- High cholesterol
Venous Blood Clots
As the name itself suggests, venous blood clots form in the veins. They typically develop after trauma or surgery, such as a broken leg. As a matter of fact, there are 3 types of clots that develop in the veins: deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE) and superficial venous thrombosis.
DVT: It typically forms in the lower leg, pelvis, or thigh, but it can also develop in areas like the liver, intestines, kidneys, arm, and the brain.
PE: It is basically a deep vein thrombosis that has broken off the original point and has reached the lungs.
Superficial Venous Thrombosis: These clots form in the veins that are the closest to the skin`s surface and require treatment.
Symptoms of Venous Clots
- Painful, swollen or inflamed skin over affected vein
- Vein that is painful or hard to the touch
- Red skin over the affected vein
Early Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of blood clots are wide ranging and depend on their location in the body. According to the American Society of Hematology, you are likely to experience the following symptoms if a blood clot has formed in these locations:
Arm or Leg: Warmth, swelling, tenderness, and either gradual or sudden pain
Abdomen: Diarrhea, intense abdominal pain, and vomiting
Brain: Vision problems, dizziness, headache, difficulty speaking, and weakness of the face, arms, or legs
Heart: Sweating, nausea, shortness of breath, light-headedness, chest pain, and discomfort in areas of the upper body
Lung: Fever, sweating, coughing up blood, chest pain, shortness of breath, and racing heart
4 Blood Clot Prevention Tips
Healthy diet: Avoid foods that are detrimental to the heart, including processed foods, trans fats, refined carbohydrates, artificial sweeteners, sugars, and GMOs.
Active lifestyle: Exercising on a regular basis and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle is key to maintaining good health. If your job requires sitting for many hours, get up and stretch the legs a few times daily.
Smoking: Tobacco products, including both cigarettes and vapor devices, are known to increase the risk of blood clots.
Medication changes: Cancer medications, blood pressure drugs, and hormone medications increase the risk of blood clots.
6 Natural Blood Thinners and Supplements
The herbs and supplements below are extremely beneficial for the overall health and can be safely used as preventative measure against blood clots. Check them out!
1. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Some of the best sources of these fats include walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and fish (salmon, trout, herring).
2. Vitamin E
The best sources of vitamin E include almonds, avocado, kiwi, butternut squash, broccoli, and green leafy veggies.
3. Vitamin C
This potent antioxidant helps maintain vascular health and prevent blood clots from forming.
4. Bilberry, Ginger, and Turmeric
These herbs are extremely effective in reducing platelets` ability to clump, which may lead to formation of blood clots.
It reduces the fibrin content, a protein that plays a role in the formation of blood clots.
6. Natural antibiotics
Onions, garlic, and olive oil are one of the most powerful natural antibiotics known to mankind. It has been scientifically shown that garlic is very beneficial in preventing thrombosis.