The dangers of blood clots

Published on 1st May 2021


Picture a blood clot on an open wound.

Within minutes of the skin being wounded, blood cells clump together and clot. This protects the wound and prevents blood loss. This is a good thing.

Now picture a blood clot within a deep vein in the leg.

The leg swells. The leg becomes painful. Worse still, the clot detaches from the vein and gets stuck in the lungs, blocking blood flow. This is not a good thing.

Causes of blood clots

If the normal flow of blood in a vein is disrupted, a blood clot may form. This is a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It may be due to any number of reasons, from inflammation, infection, trauma, even to surgery. What is clear is that certain factors increase the risk of DVT.

  • Sitting down - especially for long periods of time without a break, for example when flying or driving
  • Post surgery
  • Injury to veins
  • Extended bed rest
  • Being overweight
  • Being 60+
  • The use of oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Heart failure
  • Smoking
  • Cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBT)
  • Familial history of DVT
  • Inherited genetic predisposition

Symptoms of deep vein thrombosis

DVT can occur without symptoms, however it is common for pain to start in the calf. This may be accompanied by swelling, skin discolouration and a feeling of warmth.

For information on diagnosis and treatment options


More time

We all know that blood clots have been in the news lately.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) recently announced that a possible link between unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be included in product information for the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Janssen. This is similar to the scenario faced by AstraZeneca.

This complex issue will be debated long and hard around the world but without doubt, more in-depth research, data collection and time will help us understand this possible side effect.

And finally ?

If pathologies of the cardiovascular system spark an interest for you, why not join our online e-course to gain a Level 3 ITEC Diploma in Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology?




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