Healthy blood circulation is crucial for general health and safety. Blood is designed to move easily throughout the body, but it must also be able to clot when an injury occurs. Clots can become a problem, however, when they occur inside the body, instead of responding to an external injury.
Many conditions can cause you to be more susceptible to blood clots. People who are at high risk for blood clots should be very careful about their health, and wear a medical ID. Getting a blood clot medical ID could make all the difference in an emergency—and could even save your life.
Do I need a MedicAlert ID for blood clots?
If you are at high risk for or have a history of blood clots, wearing a MedicAlert ID could save your life one day. Blood clots can quickly become life-threatening conditions, and you may be unable to communicate to first responders in case of an emergency. If you have a history or risk of blood clots – and especially if you’re taking blood thinners – emergency personnel will need to know right away so they can provide proper stabilizing treatment.
Your medical ID can help first responders make quick decisions about your treatment. When emergency personnel know that you are taking blood thinners, they’ll be on alert for possible internal bleeding. But there’s a lot more to you than the few lines engraved on your ID. When you pair your ID with a MedicAlert protection plan, first responders also have access to your complete digital health profile. That’s all the information that goes beyond your ID, including allergies, medications, past surgeries, and more.
A MedicAlert ID bracelet, paired with a MedicAlert membership, can help you feel safer as you go about your daily life. First responders are trained to look for the MedicAlert symbol, so any medical ID you choose will help keep you safe. A MedicAlert ID provides peace of mind that you will get the help you need in case of an emergency. Your digital health profile can ensure that you receive prompt treatment as soon as help arrives, which is essential during blood clot emergencies.
What Are blood clots?
A blood clot is a clump of blood. Typically, blood clots form when an injury occurs, as a way of stopping the flow of blood. Without the blood’s ability to clot, you would just keep bleeding from a cut.
Blood clots have a gel-like consistency, caused by blood platelets, cells, and proteins grouping together. On the surface of the skin, they are beneficial, but they can cause serious problems when they occur elsewhere in the body. When they don’t dissolve on their own, they can be life-threatening or cause long-term damage to different systems in the body.
Types of blood clots – what are DVT and PE blood clots?
The general medical term for a blood clot is “thrombus,” but there are different types of blood clots that can occur in different locations. Common abbreviations include “DVT” and “PE” blood clots.
DVT refers to deep vein thrombosis. This is a blood clot that forms in a deep vein. Typically, DVT blood clots occur in the leg or pelvis regions. You often hear about people on long airplane rides that develop a DVT. But is DVT an emergency? Definitely. Because they can cause damage to the legs, it is important to address DVT clots right away.
DVT blood clots can also lead to a pulmonary embolism (PE), which occurs when a blood clot breaks off and reaches your lungs. Not only can this damage the lungs, but it can lead to a lack of oxygen traveling to other vital organs, causing serious problems.
Other blood clots include cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), which is a rare type of clot originating in the sinuses. CVST can cause hemorrhagic stroke, leading to brain cell death and severe complications.
Blood clots can also occur in other parts of the body. These clots can lead to all kinds of issues, including heart attacks, kidney failure, and pregnancy complications.
Risk factors for blood clots
A blood clot can occur from seemingly out of nowhere. However, some people are at greater risk of developing blood clots than others. Some of the many risk factors include:
- Family history of blood clots
- Genetic disorders
- Heart disease
- Recent major surgery
- A broken bone, especially leg, hip or pelvis
- Being overweight or obese
- Varicose veins
- Sedentary lifestyle or sitting in one position for long periods of time
- Serious injury
It’s important to talk to your doctor about the risk of blood clots if you have one or more risk factors. Doctors often prescribe blood thinners for patients who are at especially high risk, depending on their full health situation.
Preventing blood clots
There is no sure way to prevent blood clots, but there are some ways to reduce the risk of having one form. Leading an active lifestyle and maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best ways to lower the risks.
Today most people live fairly sedentary lifestyles. It’s important to get up and move around frequently, especially after being confined to your bed or in another small space, like an airplane. Try to move around at least every two hours, especially if you’re sitting at a desk all day.
If your doctor prescribes them, wearing compression stockings can help prevent blood clots. Otherwise, wearing loose fitting clothes that don’t constrict blood flow can help.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the most important thing you can do is take the medications prescribed by your doctor. They are the single most effective way to prevent blood clots.
Symptoms of a blood clot
Knowing what to look out for can make a big difference in the outcome after a blood clot. It’s a good idea to learn the symptoms of a blood clot, even if your risk level is not exceptionally high. It could save your life, or the life of someone close to you.
The symptoms of a blood clot can vary based on the clot’s location. Pain is a key symptom that usually occurs in the location of the clot. Someone with a DVT medical emergency might experience leg pain, warmth, tenderness, and rapid swelling that only occurs on one side of the body. A person with a brain blood clot might have a sudden headache and experience difficulty speaking or seeing. Seizures can also occur.
Look out for shortness of breath, nausea, rapid breathing, and increased heart rate. Contact emergency services immediately if you suspect a blood clot. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Treating blood clots
Blood clots are treated using a few different methods, depending on the circumstances. Blood thinners or medications known as thrombolytics may be used. Surgery might also be the best way to treat a blood clot in an emergency.
Getting a blood clot ID from MedicAlert is a good way to ensure that you will get fast treatment during an emergency. Depending on the location of the clot, immediate treatment could preserve your vital organs and your quality of life. A blood clot medical ID is an extra layer of protection for you and your family.
What should I engrave on a blood clot medical ID?
MedicAlert offers free custom engraving on all our medical ID products. The engraving on your medical ID should include any critical medical information that can protect and save your life if you are in an accident or have a medical emergency, including:
- History or risk of blood clots
- Medications you’re taking – especially if you’re on blood thinners
- Allergies to drugs
- Other medical conditions
- Implanted devices
- Any additional medical information that needs to be communicated to first responders
The National Blood Clot Alliance is dedicated to advancing the prevention, early diagnosis and successful treatment of life-threatening blood clots such as deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and clot-provoked stroke.