Thrombosis occurs when blood clots (gel-like clumps of blood) block your blood vessels. Normally, blood clots help plug an injured blood vessel. When blood vessels are plugged unnecessarily by a blood clot, it’s considered thrombosis.
There are two types of thrombosis. Venous thrombosis is when the blood clot blocks a vein (blood vessels that carry blood to the heart). Arterial thrombosis is when the blood clot blocks an artery (blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart).
While arterial thrombosis can be life threatening, most patients quickly recover from an episode of venous thrombosis and learn how to manage the risk of future reoccurrence.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can also be life threatening. Once stabilized, the long-term goal is to manage the risk of recurrence.
What are the symptoms of thrombosis (blood clots)?
Thrombophilia doesn’t cause any symptoms. Patients might not even know they have it unless they develop a blood clot. Symptoms of a blood clot vary depending on its location but may include:
Each patient’s symptoms can vary. However, symptoms may include:
- Abrupt chest pain or shortness of breath
- Swelling in one arm or leg
- Redness is one arm or leg
- Sudden change in mental state
- Numbness or weakness on one side of the body
- Pain in one leg (usually the calf or inner thigh)
The symptoms of thrombosis can often seem like other blood disorders or health problems.
What causes thrombosis?
Venous thrombosis can be caused by:
- Major surgery
- Medicines that increase your risk for clotting (birth control, hormone therapy drugs and others)
- Autoimmune clotting conditions
- Inherited clotting conditions
How is thrombosis diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask for your and your family’s medical history and give you a physical exam. Other tests may include:
- CT angiography
- MR angiography
- Venography (Die is injected into your veins which makes them easier to see on X-rays. X-rays are taken to show blood flow and look for clots.)
How is thrombosis treated?
Based on certain factors such as age, overall health and medical history, your doctor will create a treatment plan that may include:
- Blood-thinning medicines (anticoagulants)
- Thin tubes (catheters) to widen the affected blood vessels
- A wire mesh tube (stent) that holds a blood vessel open and stops it from closing