Our bodies are designed to form blood clots, so if we are cut we don’t bleed to death. But blood clots can be dangerous if they form in an artery and stay there. If the artery is blocked by the clot, blood and oxygen can’t move to the affected area and tissues can die. For example, blood clots can cause (or complicate) the following conditions:
- Stroke: a blood clot prevents oxygen from getting to the brain
- Heart attack and angina: blood clots block the arteries to the heart
- Pulmonary embolism: a blood clot that is lodged in the lung
- Peripheral artery disease: blood clots restrict blood flow in the arteries in the legs or arms
Diagnosis and Treatment
Blood clots are typically diagnosed as part of another condition, such as those listed above. Medication such as anticoagulants (“blood thinners”) is often used to treat blood clots, along with the procedures listed below.