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Blood clots: Two skin discolourations that may signal a clot ‘in one of the deep veins’

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The NHS says you should get advice from 111 immediately if you think you have a blood clot. Clotting is normal, but clots can be dangerous when they do not dissolve on their own. They form to try and repair damage to a blood vessel, and once clots form, they can travel to other parts of your body, causing harm.

Blood clots are important to spot, as blood clots can cause deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This can be dangerous and you will need quick medical attention.

DVT can be very serious and can lead to a pulmonary embolism. This is when blood clots in your veins break loose, travel through your bloodstream and get stuck in your lungs.

A pulmonary embolism can be life threatening and needs treatment straight away. People who cannot breathe or notice someone has passed out must call 999 or visit A&E.

The National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA) says that signs and symptoms of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occur when a blood clot forms in one of the deep veins of your body.

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This is usually in your legs, but sometimes in your arm. It says that you may experience reddish or bluish skin discolouration.

Swelling, usually in one leg or arm is a sign, as is pain or tenderness often described as a cramp or the leg or arm being warm to touch.

“These symptoms of a blood clot may feel similar to a pulled muscle or a “Charley horse,” but may differ in that the leg (or arm) may be swollen, slightly discoloured, and warm,” it notes.

It says: “Contact your doctor as soon as you can if you have any of these symptoms, because you may need treatment right away.”

The NHS says other people experience “sudden breathlessness, sharp chest pain (may be worse when you breathe in) and a cough or coughing up blood.”

The health service warns that blood clots can be life threatening if not treated quickly, and says 111 will tell you what to do.

There are a number of risk factors. These include if you are staying in or recently left hospital, especially if you cannot move around much after an operation.

If you are at a high risk of blood clots after having been in hospital follow the advice of your care team about preventing clots.

“This may involve wearing stockings that improve your blood flow or taking medicine to reduce the risk of clot,” according to the NHS.

Other risk factors include if you are overweight or using combined hormonal contraception, such as the combined pill.

If you are pregnant or have just had a baby, your risk is also higher. Similarly, if you have an inflammatory condition such as Crohn’s disease or rheumatoid arthritis, this can increase your risk of clots.

Being older than 60 increases your risk of deep vein thrombosis, though it can occur at any age.

Anything that prevents your blood from flowing or clotting normally can cause a blood clot.

If you’re sitting for a while, try not to cross your legs, as this can block blood flow and if you are not able to walk around, you should exercise your lower legs.

If you are at higher risk you should not drink lots of alcohol as this can make you dehydrated, and more prone to clots. If you smoke it also increases your risk. Smoking affects blood clotting and circulation, which can increase your risk.

Sometimes, a blood clot in a vein can occur with no apparent underlying risk factor, so always be vigilant of signs.

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