A pulmonary embolism happens when a blood clot gets stuck and blocks the blood flow in an artery in the lung. In most cases, the clot starts in a deep vein in the leg and travels to the lung. Sometimes, it can form in a vein in another part of the body. When a blood clot forms in the deep veins, we call it a deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Pulmonary embolism is dangerous because the clots can stop the blood from reaching your lungs, and that can be life-threatening. But don't worry, quick treatment can greatly reduce the risk of something bad happening. To help stay safe, it's essential to take steps to prevent blood clots in your legs, as this can protect you from getting a pulmonary embolism.
Common symptoms of pulmonary embolism include:
- Shortness of breath: This means you suddenly have trouble catching your breath, even when you're resting, and it gets worse when you do any physical activity.
- Chest pain: You might feel like you're having a heart attack, and the pain is often sharp when you take a deep breath or cough, bend, or lean over.
- Fainting: Sometimes, you might pass out if your heart rate or blood pressure suddenly drops. This is called syncope.
Other symptoms that can happen with pulmonary embolism are:
- A cough with bloody or blood-streaked mucus
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
- Excessive sweating
- Pain or swelling in your leg, usually at the back of the lower leg
- Clammy or discolored skin, which can look bluish
If you notice any of these symptoms, it's important to seek medical help right away.
Remember, your health is crucial, and early treatment can make a big difference!