A pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that develops in a pulmonary artery, which is located in your lungs. The clots can come from anywhere in the body. However, they routinely come from the legs. That’s precisely why anyone who has been diagnosed with Deep Vein Thrombosis, or DVT, get prompt medical attention and then undergo regular monitoring for any additional signs of trouble. 

Risk Factors of a Pulmonary Embolism

Anyone is at risk for developing a pulmonary embolism. Typically, you are more likely to suffer from this type of medical condition if you have a history of DVT or other issues related to a blood clotting disorder. The same is true if you suffer from certain heart conditions that prevent your heart from beating efficiently, as this allows blood to pool in the lower chambers of the heart. 

Eventually, a clot can form and then travel to the lungs or even the brain. As a result, those who have atrial fibrillation or other heart conditions are at an increased risk of developing blood clots in the lungs. It’s estimated that approximately 200,000 people are affected by it each year. You’re also more likely to suffer complications if you smoke or lead a sedentary lifestyle. Those who are over 40 years of age or are obese also have an increased risk of the disease. 

In very rare cases, traumatic injury can cause blood clots to form in the lungs. This is most often seen with significant leg injuries, such as a broken femur. However, it can also occur as a result of traumatic chest injury.

Signs and Symptoms of a Pulmonary Embolism

You should get to the hospital immediately if you notice that one leg is swollen, discolored, or warm to the touch. This could be an indication that you have a blood clot in your leg. The best course of action is to get it treated before it has a chance to go to your lungs. 

The most common symptoms of a pulmonary embolism are sudden shortness of breath that does not subside when you are resting. You’re also likely to experience chest pain, especially when you try to take a deep breath, cough, or exert yourself. You may also have pain in your upper back, accompanied by sweating, chills, and a rapid heartbeat. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, then it is important to seek medical attention right away.

Seek Treatment for a Pulmonary Embolism

A pulmonary embolism is a medical emergency. If you suspect that you may be experiencing one, you should seek qualified treatment immediately. A blood clot in the lungs can be fatal. The sooner you seek treatment, the better your chances for a favorable outcome. If you experience any of the symptoms discussed in the above paragraph, do not hesitate to call an ambulance right away. 

Treatment Options

The most common treatment consists of reduced activity in conjunction with blood thinners. Blood thinners serve two primary roles; first, they keep your clot from getting bigger, and second, they prevent new clots from forming. Your doctor will continue to monitor you regularly to make sure the blood thinners are working, and you don’t need more serious intervention.

If your physician deems it necessary, you may be fitted with one of several IVC filters for pulmonary embolism. Doing so reduces the chances that you will suffer another one in the future. In more severe and carefully selected cases, your doctor might need to insert a catheter into a vein in your thigh or arm. The catheter will then be used to remove the clot, or a medicine will be administered to dissolve the clot.

Final Thoughts 

This condition can’t always be prevented, but there are things you can do to minimize your risk. For starters, get regular health check-ups and address any issues with your physical health right away. Also, it is vital that you follow your doctor’s orders and work to stay healthy and active. Doing so could make all the difference when it comes to your physical well-being.