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What Are the Symptoms of Thrombosis?

What is thrombosis?

Depending on the location of the thrombus or blood clot, thrombosis may include pain and warmth in the area of the clot, or chest pain and difficulty breathing if the clot is near the lungs, among other symptoms.

Thrombosis occurs when a blood clot obstructs the blood vessels. There are two types of thrombosis:

  • Venous thrombosis: It occurs when clots block the blood vessel that carries the blood to the heart.
  • Arterial thrombosis: It occurs when clots block the blood vessel that carries the blood from the heart to organs.

Some of the most common venous thromboses include:

  • Deep vein thrombosis or a blot clot in the calf veins that can embolize to the lung, causing fatal consequences
  • Cerebral venous thrombosis (a blood clot of a cerebral vein in the brain)
  • Portal vein thrombosis (a blood clot in the portal vein that supplies the blood to the liver)
  • Cavernous sinus thrombosis (a blood clot that blocks a vein that runs through a hollow space underneath the brain and behind the eye sockets)

Some of the most common arterial thrombosis include:

  • Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
  • Cerebrovascular accident (stroke)
  • Claudication or peripheral arterial disease (thrombus in a leg or arm)

Symptoms may vary from person to person. Symptoms of a thrombosis in the extremities may include:

  • Pain in one leg (usually the calf or inner thigh)
  • Swelling in the leg or arm
  • Gangrene (a blackened foot or hand)
  • Numbness or weakness on one side of the body

Symptoms of venous thrombosis in the leg include:

  • Warmth
  • Tenderness
  • Redness of the leg or arm
  • Worsening leg pain while bending the foot
  • Leg cramps, especially at night, which often start in the calf
  • Bluish or whitish discoloration of the skin

Symptoms of a thrombosis in the heart or lungs (pulmonary embolism) include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain that worsens with a deep breath or lying down
  • Coughing or coughing up blood
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Pain in the back
  • Sweating profusely
  • Shortness of breath
  • Discomfort in the arms, back, neck, or jaw

Symptoms of a thrombosis in the brain include:

  • Headaches
  • Speech changes (slurring, slowing of speech, or unable to speak)
  • Convulsions
  • Paralysis
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble understanding speech
  • Loss of consciousness

What are the complications of a thrombosis?

A thrombus or blood clot may cause the following complications:

  • Seal off the lumen of the artery that supplies the organ. Depending on the organ affected, it may cause a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, or gangrene.
  • The thrombus may break off and block an organ at a distant site; this is called an embolus. This may cause fatal pulmonary or cerebral symptoms.

Can a thrombosis be prevented?

You can prevent a thrombosis by

  • Losing weight.
  • Quitting smoking.
  • Remaining physically active.
  • Exercising your legs during long trips.
  • Using special compression stockings.
  • Treating varicose veins on time.
  • Managing or controlling other health issues, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
  • Keep the legs elevated while sitting down or in bed.
  • Avoiding birth control pills or hormone therapy unless absolutely necessary.
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Eating less salt.
  • Taking care of the following things while traveling a long distance by a train, car, or plane:
    • Avoid sitting for a long time. Get up and move around every 15-30 minutes during long-distance flights. Try simple stretching exercises while being seated.
    • Drink plenty of water.
    • Avoid drinking excess alcohol because it may lead to dehydration.
    • Perform simple leg exercises, such as stretching your legs.
    • Wear elastic compression stockings.
    • Take occasional short walks when possible.
    • Avoid taking sleeping pills because they can lead to immobility.


Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs in the _______________.
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Medically Reviewed on 1/29/2021


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