A blood clot can be very, very dangerous. This lump-like collection of blood platelets and plasma proteins doesn’t have to be large — often, it’s too small to even see — but by forming in a sensitive area, such as the location around the heart or in major veins leading to critical organs, can be deadly.
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Blood clots tend to take formation in the veins in a process known as deep vein thrombosis. They’re most often formed in the legs but are also known to emerge in the heart, lungs, brain, and pelvic area. Often, blood clots are formed by lack of activity — possibly due to sitting at a desk for extremely long periods of time or undergoing surgery and being confined to a bed — physical trauma to the body, or obesity.
To get better informed on the topic, we’ve compiled a list of what to know about blood clots including the signs and symptoms, what the major risk factors are, as well as how to prevent and treat them. Take a look…
1. Defining a Blood Clot
Before you can combat against blood clots, it helps to understand exactly what they are. While blood clots are healthy when they’re stopping the blood flow from a cut or injury, they can also form when they’re not actually needed, which can be a real problem, notes WebMD.
Platelets in your blood are activated by damage to a blood vessel, “changing shape to form a plug that fills in the broken part to stop blood from leaking out,” notes the source. Chemicals from the platelets further the clotting process by attracting other platelets, and then proteins in your blood (called clotting factors) end up as long strands of fibrin that get “tangled up with the platelets in the plug to create a net that traps even more platelets and cells,” it adds. While there are usually other proteins to break down the clot, but cholesterol buildup (plaques) can trigger a clot as well when they break open, it explains.