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Covid-19 side-effects: A blood clot might signal much more than you know

Published on:1 September 2021, 07:00am IST
Blood clots are one of the scariest side-effects of covid-19, which is why it’s high time you know everything about them.
Nikita Bhardwaj
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blood clot
Keep an eye on your body, as it might be signaling the formation of a blood clot. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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We keep on rambling about the unhealthy effects of a sedentary lifestyle, and so on. If you think there’s no truth to it, you are highly mistaken. That’s because all these things you consider harmless can lead to the formation of blood clots in your body. Of course, over a period of time!

If you think we are trying to scare you, that isn’t the case. The point is that blood clots are not something to joke about, especially now, when covid-19 is making everything worse. 

So, let’s get serious and know everything that can help better understand blood clots.

What are blood clots and their types?

Blood clots are dangerous, as they can block or decline the regular flow of blood in a particular part of the body, where it has developed. This leads to blockages and eventually a lack of oxygen to the tissues, causing tissue damage.

blood clot
Move around as much as possible to prevent blood clotting. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

As our body is made up of vessels, known as veins and arteries, this helps to circulate blood throughout our body.  Blood clots develop in these veins and arteries. Hence, the blood clots vary depending on which part of the body it has formed.

“A blood clot occurs in an artery, which is known as an arterial clot. This immediately causes symptoms and requires emergency treatment. A blood clot that occurs in a vein is a venous clot, which builds steadily over time, but can still be life-threatening. The blood clot can develop in the leg or arm, heart, abdomen, brain, and lungs,” says Dr Chetan Bhambure, consultant interventional cardiologist at Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai.

What causes blood clots and are there are major effects?

Many of us must have noticed elders saying often about the problems that arise from sitting for long in the same position. They would also suggest moving and exercising to maintain proper blood circulation in your body. However, with our crazy lifestyles, we often ignore to take care of our health, which could lead to risk factors like blood clots.

Blood clots can form in various parts of our body. They are a gel-like collection of blood that forms in your veins or arteries, when blood is converted from liquid to partially solid form. The formation of such clots can be dangerous, if they do not dissolve on their own and could lead to heart attacks, strokes, and other serious ailments.

Clotting is a normal and necessary process, but the formation of blood clots, also known as a thrombus, fails to dissolve by itself and may lead to a life-threatening situations in the future.

Causes of blood clots

Blood clots are commonly found in people, who have several physical ailments and cannot move frequently, have an injury, have undergone surgery, or have any other disease. A blood clot is more likely to happen to people who have certain blood clotting disorders. This makes it easy to form blood clots, and hence increases the risk of developing blood clots in the deep veins of the body.

blood clot
Your sedentary lifestyle is giving you varicose veins. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Signs of blood clots we need to know

The common symptoms of a blood clot include:

  • Swelling
  • Severe pain
  • Tenderness
  • A warm sensation
  • Paralysis of parts of the body 

They may also cause a heart attack or stroke. Hence, knowing whether your body has developed blood clots is the only way to receive medical guidance.

“Obesity, smoking, advanced age, prolonged bed rest, long-distance air travel, a sedentary lifestyle are a few of the common causes, which may lead to blood clots,” says Dr Bhambure.

Hence, if you think that you have a blood clot, you should immediately approach your doctor immediately, so that you can undergo proper treatment, diet, and physical exercises to avoid any complications.

How are the blood clots diagnosed?

Blood clot symptoms can mimic the symptoms of other health conditions. Hence, a variety of tests are carried to rule out other causes. Certain blood tests are carried out to identify the cause of blood clotting. The ultrasound doppler test provides a view of the veins and arteries, CT scan of the head, abdomen, or the chest may be used to detect and confirm the blood clot. These tests also help to identify, if there are any other causes.

MRA (Magnetic resonance angiography), is a test similar to a CT scan, it specifically looks at blood vessels. Sometimes we do V/Q scans to test the circulation of air and blood in the lungs.

blood clot
Say no to a sedentary lifestyle and yes to aerobics. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“Sometimes, we recommend compression stockings, which provides pressure to prevent leg swelling or prevents blood clots from forming. There are times when we may do surgery, for eg: In a catheter-directed thrombolysis, we direct a catheter, which is a long tube, up to the clot and deliver medication directly, which will help to dissolve the clot. In thrombectomy, we use certain instruments which will carefully remove the blood clot. Sometimes, we have to put a stent to keep the blood vessel open and sometimes we use vena cava filters in patients, who are unable to take blood thinners. These filters are placed in the inferior vena cava, which helps to catch the blood clot before it travels to the lungs,” he concludes.

Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.