Blood Clots (cont.)
Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Blood clot facts
- What are blood clots?
- What causes blood clots?
- What does a blood clot look like?
- What are the risk factors for blood clots?
- What types and conditions are caused by blood clots?
- What are the symptoms of blood clots?
- How are blood clots diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for blood clots?
- What are the complications of blood clots?
- How can blood clots be prevented?
What are the risk factors for blood clots?
The risk factors for arterial clots are those that are common to all diseases that cause narrowing of blood vessels, cholesterol plaque formation, and plaque rupture.
Venous clots are formed due to one of two main reasons: 1) immobility, and 2) genetic errors in the clotting mechanism.
- Immobility: Most commonly, when the body stops moving, the risk of blood clots
increases, since muscle movement is required to pump blood towards the heart.
Stagnant blood in a vein is prone to clot.
- This may occur when a person is hospitalized or bedridden after illness or surgery.
- It may also occur with long trips (such as in a car, train, or plane) where hours may pass without a person getting up to walk or stretch.
- Orthopedic injuries and casting also put the person at risk.
- Pregnancy is a risk factor for forming blood clots in the legs and pelvis, since the growing uterus may slow blood flow back to the heart to a sufficient extent that blood clots may form.
- Genetic errors in the clotting mechanism: There may be a genetic or inborn error in the clotting mechanism, making a person hypercoagulable (hyper=more + coagulation= clotting) and at greater risk for forming clots.
Viewers share their comments
Get the latest treatment options.