Blood clots are gel-like masses of blood that are naturally formed in the body after an injury as a way for the body to prevent excessive bleeding. The plasma protein and platelets work together to create a blood clot, and it dissolves after the injury is healed.
Yet, at times, clots form inside veins and arteries without injuries and they cannot dissolve on their own, leading to stroke or pulmonary embolism. This is a serious issue and requires an appropriate treatment.
Stroke kills more than 130,000 Americans annually, and about 87% of all strokes are ischemic when the blood flow to the brain is blocked. It is the main cause of serious long-term disability.
Blood clots can be of two types, arterial and venous.
Arterial Blood Clots
Arterial clots form in the arteries and restrict the flow of oxygen and blood and thus prevent them to reach the vital organs. They usually form in the feet and legs, as well as in the brain, leading to stroke or a heart attack. These are the symptoms of arterial clots:
Cold arms or legs
Weakness in the affected area
Color loss in the area
Muscle spasms and pain
Fingers or hands that feel cold to the touch
Tingling or numbness in the leg or arm
The risk factors for arterial clots include obesity, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and a physical inactivity.
Venous Blood Clots
Venous blood clots develop slowly, usually after a surgery or trauma like a broken leg. They can be of three types, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE) and superficial venous thrombosis.
DVT develop in the lower leg, thigh or pelvis, as well as in the liver, brain, arm, intestines, and kidneys. PE blood clots have broken off the point of origin and can travel to the lungs, leading to fatal consequences. The last type forms near the surface of the skin, and lead to intense pain.
Painful vein, hard to touch
Reddened skin around the area
Painful, swollen or inflamed skin over affected vein
On the other hand, the symptoms of a blood clot depend on the area where it is located, and these are the most common symptoms:
Brain – Dizziness, sudden headaches, weakness of the face, arms or legs, difficulty speaking, vision problems
Lung – Sharp chest pain, sweating, fever, racing heart, shortness of breath, coughing up blood
Arm or Leg – Sudden or gradual pain, swelling, tenderness, and warmth
Heart – Nausea, shortness of breath, chest heaviness or pain, discomfort in other areas of the upper body, sweating, light-headedness
According to Mayo Clinic, “seek emergency care if you experience:
Cough that produces bloody sputum
A fast heartbeat
Difficult or painful breathing
Chest pain or tightness
Pain extending to your shoulder, arm, back or jaw
Sudden weakness or numbness of your face, arm or leg
Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding speech (aphasia)
Sudden changes in your vision
Consult your doctor if you develop these signs or symptoms in an area on an arm or leg:
Fortunately, you can prevent blood clots and lower the risk of stroke by making even minor changes to your lifestyle and diet. As reported in an NPR article:
“[The] scientists dug into a large study that tracked 30,239 people to see how much improvement it takes to prevent stroke…The good news is it doesn’t take much to make a difference.
Each risk factor for stroke was scored from 0 to 2, with 0 being crummy, 1 kind of OK, and 2 terrific. Even a one-point improvement in the total score across all seven factors significantly reduced stroke risk.
Each improvement of a point on the 14-point scale meant an 8 percent reduction in stroke. ‘The neat thing of this finding is that anything makes a difference… If you make a small change, you make an improvement,’ Lackland says. ‘If you make a bigger change, you make a bigger improvement.’
To prevent blood clots, you need to follow these tips:
Avoid smoking, as it raises the risk of blood clots
Exercise regularly, and stretch the legs after prolonged periods of sitting
Avoid GMOs, sugars, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, trans fats and refined carbohydrates
Avoid hormone medications, blood pressure, and cancer medications as their raise the risk of blood clots
Here are the most powerful natural blood thinners and supplements:
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that supports vascular health
Natural antibiotics like onions, garlic, and olive oil prevent thrombosis
Omega 3 fatty acids found in walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and fish
Vitamin Eprevents oxidation, so boost the intake of foods like avocados, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, almonds, kiwi, and butternut squash.
Gingko decreases fibrin content which is vital in the formation of blood clots