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Blood clots: Four subtle changes in the colour of your skin could signal the condition

British Heart Foundation: Understanding blood clots

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Blood clotting is a lifesaving mechanism that enables cuts to seal. Occasionally, however, this process is triggered inside a vein where it prevents blood flow. The condition came into sharp focus earlier this month after researchers confirmed its associations with coronavirus. As a blood clot becomes lodged deep within the veins, legs may take on a blue, purple or red tinge.

There are two types of blood clots, and each carries its own set of risks.

Embolus blood clots stay stationary, blocking blood flow within a vein, whereas thrombus clots break loose and travel to other parts of the body.

Both conditions are understood as the result of damage incurred from surgery, trauma, or inflammation.

Symptoms of blood clots that have formed deep inside the veins are often concentrated in the legs.

READ MORE: Blood clots: The popular breakfast food that could enhance the risk of blood clotting

This can cause subtle shifts in the colour of the limb as blood flow comes to a halt.

The health platform Blood Clot Recovery, explains that “changes in skin colour, such as turning pale, red or blue or purple”, can be indicative of deep vein thrombosis.

As the arms or legs take on a red or blue tinge, they may also become itchy, adds WebMD.

The health body continues: “As the clot gets worse, get may hurt or get sore.

“The feeling can range from a dull ache to intense pain. You may notice the pain throbs in your leg, belly, or even your arm.”

As a clot leaves the legs and starts to move to the lungs, patients may experience difficulty breathing and a bad cough.

This occurs as blood flow through the lungs is dramatically decreased, which in turn reduces the amount of blood flowing to the neighbouring organs.

Occasionally, patients may cough up blood or may experience pain in the chest and dizziness, all of which warrant a visit to the emergency department.

Left untreated, the condition can lead to a drastic drop in blood pressure or sudden death.

How to avoid deep vein thrombosis

According to Harvard Healthlood, blood that circulates to the legs and feet must flow against gravity on its journey back to the heart.

The health body adds: “Anything that slows blood flow through the arms and legs can set the stage for a blood clot to form.

“This can range from having an arm or leg immobilised in a cast to prolonged sitting or being confined to bed.

“Things that make blood more likely to clot, such as genetic disorders and cancer, are other triggers for deep vein thrombosis.”

Because stagnation of blood flow is conducive to the formation of clots, movement is widely encouraged to avert this risk.

The Mayo Clinic explains: “If you have had surgery or have been on bed rest for other reasons, try to get moving as soon as possible.

“If you’re sitting for a while, don’t cross your legs, which can block blood flow. If you’re travelling a long distance by car, stop every hour or so and walk around.”

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