Blood clotting symptoms depend on the location and size of the blood clot, also called a thrombus. Blood clotting disorder symptoms due to deep vein thrombosis are very different from the symptoms experienced with a pulmonary embolism, a condition that occurs when a blood clot travels from one area of the body and becomes lodged in an artery in the lungs.
The tools used to diagnose a blood clotting disorder also vary depending on the nature of the clot. In all cases, however, blood tests to measure coagulating agents are required.
Blood Clotting Disorder Symptoms Fact
Blood clotting disorder symptoms can overlap. For example, because a blood clotting disorder can cause deep vein thrombus and eventually pulmonary embolism, affected patients will experience symptoms from both disorders.
Blood Clotting Symptoms
Blood clotting disorder symptoms usually present themselves in the legs, the lungs and the vascular system (the blood vessels). Each type of blood clotting disorder has its own unique set of symptoms, outlined below:
- Arterial embolism occurs when a blood clot travels through the blood stream and lodges in an artery, blocking blood flow to an organ or extremity. Blood clotting symptoms for arterial embolism depend on the location of the blood clot. In the arms or legs, arterial embolisms symptoms include:
- coldness in affected limb
- loss of muscle function
- low or absent pulse in affected limb
- muscle pain
- muscle spasms
- pale skin in affected limb
- tingling sensations.
Arterial embolisms in the extremities develop more blood clotting disorders as the disorder progresses. Blisters and skin ulcers form on the affected limb, accompanied by tissue death and skin loss. If arterial embolisms affect an organ, blood clotting symptoms are very different and include:
- impaired organ function
- infarction (the death of organ tissue)
- ischemia (restricted delivery of blood to the organ)
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is one of the most common blood clotting disorders, often presenting what many would consider classic blood clotting disorder symptoms. DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in the leg, usually in one of the large veins in the thigh. DVT blood clotting symptoms include:
- edema (swelling) in one leg
- increased warmth in the affected leg
- leg pain in a single leg
- redness near the blood clot site
- tenderness in a single leg.
- Pulmonary embolism has a unique set of blood clotting symptoms. A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot, or thrombus, breaks loose from its point of origin. The clot, now called an emboli, travels through the blood stream and lodges in the lungs. Pulmonary embolism typically has some of the most serious of all blood clotting disorder symptoms. Common pulmonary embolism symptoms include:
- a cough that develops suddenly
- blood in sputum (spit)
- chest pain on one side under the breastbone
- rapid heart rate
- rapid, shallow breathing
- shortness of breath.
Different patients experience different types and intensities of pain caused due to pulmonary embolism. For example, pulmonary embolism pain is variously described as sharp, stabbing, aching, burning, dull and heavy. Pain caused by pulmonary embolism is worsened by coughing, breathing deeply, eating or bending over. In addition to the blood clotting symptoms listed above, pulmonary embolisms can cause a wide range of additional symptoms, including:
- clammy skin
- cyanosis (bluish-tinged skin)
- leg pain
- leg swelling
- low blood pressure
- nasal flaring
- pelvis pain
- weak pulse
Thrombophlebitis, one of the more common blood clotting disorder symptoms, is an inflammation of the blood vessel that arises due to a blood clot lodged within it. Thrombophlebitis causes localized swelling, tenderness, warmth and pain around the affected area. The area affected by the blood clot may also redden.
Blood Clotting Disorder Diagnosis
Doctors use a number of tools when making a blood clotting disorder diagnosis. While the Doppler ultrasound can detect a blood clot, an X-ray or CT scan can indicated whether or not a patient suffers from pulmonary embolism.
Central to making a diagnosis of a blood clotting disorder are blood tests to determine the cause of the clotting. Anyone experiencing blood clotting disorder symptoms can expect to undergo several blood tests as part of the diagnostic process. These blood tests highlight any abnormalities in clotting factors, proteins and enzymes that play an essential role in the process of blood coagulation.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. (updated 1 June 2006). Arterial Embolism. Retrieved 26 September 2007 from the MedlinePlus Web site: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001102.htm#Symptoms.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. (updated 27 April 2007). Deep Venous Thrombosis. Retrieved 26 September 2007 from the MedlinePlus Web site: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000156.htm#Symptoms.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. (updated 1 March 007). Pulmonary embolus. Retrieved September 2007 from the MedlinePlus Web site: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000132.htm#Symptoms.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. (updated 9 December 2005). Renal Vein Thrombosis. Retrieved September 2007 from the MedlinePlus Web site: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000513.htm#Causes, incidence, and risk factors.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. (updated 24 May 2006). Thombophlebitis. Retrieved September 2007 from the MedlinePlus Web site: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001108.htm#Definition.