What is thrombosis?
Thrombosis is a disorder that occurs when your blood clots block the blood vessels. Basically there are 2 main types of thrombosis:
- Venous thrombosis is occurred when the blood clot blocks a vein. Veins that carry blood from the body back into the heart.
- Arterial thrombosis is occurred when the blood clot blocks an artery. Arteries that carry oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to the body.
What causes thrombosis?
Venous thrombosis may be caused by:
- Injury or disease to the leg veins
- Not being able to move around (immobility) for any reason
- A broken bone (fracture)
- Certain medicines
- Inherited disorders, or a greater likelihood of having a certain disorder based on your genes
- Autoimmune diseases that makes to clot your blood more likely
- Medicines that increase your risk of clotting (like specific birth control medicines)
Arterial thrombosis can be caused by a hardening of the arteries, called arteriosclerosis. This basically occurs when fatty or calcium deposits cause artery walls to thicken. This can further lead to a production of fatty material (called plaque) in the artery walls. This plaque can suddenly burst (rupture), followed by a blood clot.
Arterial thrombosis can occur in the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle (coronary arteries). This can lead to a heart attack. If arterial thrombosis occurs in a blood vessel in the brain, it can lead to a stroke.
What are the risk factors for thrombosis?
Many of the risk factors for venous and arterial thrombosis are the same.
Risk factors for venous thrombosis may include:
- If someone in the family had suffered from deep vein thrombosis in the past
- Hormone therapy or birth control pills
- Injury happened to a vein, like from surgery, a broken bone, or other trauma
- Unable to move freely, like after surgery or on a long trip
- Inherited blood clotting disorders
- A central venous catheter
- Older age
- Being overweight or obese
- Some health conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, lung disease, or Crohn's disease
Risk factors for arterial thrombosis may include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Lack of activity and obesity
- Poor diet
- Family history of arterial thrombosis
- Lack of movement, such as after surgery or on a long trip
- Older age
How is thrombosis diagnosed?
Your doctor will take your medical history and give you a physical exam. Other tests may include:
- Ultrasound - This test uses sound waves to check the blood flow in your arteries and veins.
- Blood tests - These may include tests to see how well your blood can clot.
- Venography - For venography, a dye is putted into your veins. The X-rays are then taken to show blood flow and look for clots. The dye makes your veins easier to see on the X-rays.
What are the symptoms of thrombosis?
Each person’s symptoms may vary. Some of the symptoms of thrombosis may include:
- Pain in one leg (usually the calf or inner thigh)
- Swelling in the leg or arm
- Chest pain
- Weakness or numbness on one side of the body
- Sudden change in your mental state
Some symptoms of thrombosis can look like other blood disorders or health problems. Always visit your doctor to have a better diagnosis.
How is thrombosis treated?
Your doctor will create a treatment plan for you depending upon:
- Your age, overall health, and medical history
- How sick you are
- How well you take up certain medicines, treatments, or therapies
- If you know that your condition is expected to get worse
- What you would like to do
The treatment of thrombosis may use:
- Medicines that thins the blood (anticoagulants)
- Thin tubes (catheters) are used to widen the affected vessels
- A wire mesh tube (stent) that holds the opening of blood vessel and stops it from closing
- Medicines to club with or dissolve blood clots
Your doctor may advise other treatments.