British Heart Foundation: Understanding blood clots
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Blood clots are tiny clumps of blood that form into a kind of gel type substance. A certain amount of clotting is necessary to the body because it prevents excessive bleeding if you suffer a cut. However, any clots that don’t dissolve by themselves are a problem.
This is because clots can break away and travel to vital organs.
Clots that reach the brain can lead to strokes, while clots in the lungs can result in pulmonary embolisms – both of which are medical emergencies.
And clots that travel to the heart could trigger a heart attack.
Like many health conditions, there are things that can be done to lower your chances of a blood clot developing.
This includes taking certain supplements.
Doctor Ioannis Liakas, medical director at Vie Aesthetics, spoke exclusively with Express.co.uk to explain more.
He said: “Normal blood clots are an essential part of the healing process, both inside blood vessels and at external injury sites.
“However, it is when a blood clot blocks blood flow to organs or tissues that it can become very dangerous.
“Interestingly, abnormal blood clots, also known as thrombosis, are the most common cause of heart attacks and strokes.”
“Vitamin B enhances circulation and brain function and specifically, vitamin B12 can aid in optimal red blood cell development and may help you lower blood pressure,” Doctor Liakas said.
One study, published in the International Journal of Haematology in 2011, found a link between vitamin B12 deficiency and thrombosis.
It said: “The results indicated that vitamin B12 deficiency was common among patients with hyperhomocysteinemia (having high amounts of homocysteine in the blood) and thrombosis.”
Doctor Liakas continued: “Clinical trials have shown coenzyme Q10 supplements to lower levels of markers of thrombotic risk, improve blood vessel function and reduce cardiovascular risk.”
One such trial, published in the Molecular Food and Nutrition Journal in 2019, concluded: “CoQ10 supplementation may play an important protective role in patients with risks of cardiovascular diseases.”
However, supplements are not the only way in which you can prevent the formation of blood clots.
Doctor Liakas commented: “You can take action and make some changes to your lifestyle and diet.”
He recommended the following to cut your risk of clots:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Stay active
- Stop smoking
- Break up long periods of sitting
- Watch your sodium (salt) levels
- Compression socks.
Symptoms of blood clots can include:
- Leg or arm swelling without any warning
- Pain or soreness when you stand or walk
- Enlarged veins
- Warmth in the area that hurts
- Enlarged veins
- Skin that looks red or blue.
The NHS urges you to seek immediate medical attention if you experience throbbing or cramping pain, swelling, redness and warmth in a leg or arm.
It also advises getting help if you notice sudden breathlessness, a sharp chest pain (that may be worse when you breathe in) and a cough or coughing up blood.
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