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Pulmonary embolism: symptoms, causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Pulmonary embolism, medically known as pulmonary thromboembolism, is the blockage of the pulmonary arteries due to several clots that initially form in the legs; this condition is life-threatening and generally has no symptoms. However, it can be prevented, and if it is detected early, it can be treated satisfactorily. At FastlyHealwe, explain pulmonary embolism’s symptoms, causes, and treatment.

Symptoms of pulmonary embolism

Most people who have a pulmonary embolism do not have symptoms; however, if they appear, they include the following:

  • Sharp or stabbing chest pain that gets worse when you breathe deeply.
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Vertigo or dizziness
  • Coughing up blood
  • Purple skin.
  • Anxiety.

The diagnosis of pulmonary embolism can be made through an MRI. Later, a pulmonary angiogram is done where a liquid will be injected into the lungs to determine the location of the clot. The relationship of the symptoms of this disease with other conditions such as pneumonia or heart attacks makes diagnosis difficult until imaging tests are performed.

Causes of pulmonary embolism

The cause of pulmonary embolism is deep vein thrombosis, that is, a blood clot that forms in the vein of the pelvis or leg, this clot travels to the lungs, and this is how the embolism occurs.

This condition can affect anyone. However, there are some risk factors in which it is more likely to have a pulmonary embolism:

  • Vein injuries from fractures or surgeries
  • Slow circulation due to limited limb movement or prolonged sitting cross-legged or lying down due to illness or surgery.
  • Increase estrogen levels, either from hormonal treatments for menopause, by taking contraceptives or during pregnancy.
  • Chronic conditions such as Crohn’s disease, cancer, or respiratory or heart diseases.
  • Family history of thrombosis.
  • Obesity.
  • Clotting disorders.
  • High blood pressure .

Treatment of pulmonary embolism

The treatment for pulmonary embolism should be immediate and requires the patient to be hospitalized. From hospitalization, clotting medications will be administered, which will help stop clots from forming and undoing those causing the problem. How long the drug lasts will depend, especially on the size of the chunk.

On the other hand, compression stockings will be essential to prevent venous thrombosis and, therefore, an embolism; your doctor will tell you how long you should use them. In the most severe cases, or where the patient cannot take blood thinners, surgery is recommended in which a filter is placed in the central vein so that larger clots cannot travel to the lungs. This treatment is usually temporary; if this does not work, surgery can be done to remove the clot.

Possible complications

People who suffer from this condition have an uncertain prognosis since it will depend on whether the diagnosis is made on time and the size of the clot. The sequelae that may appear from having suffered a pulmonary embolism are long-term heart and lung problems, depending on the damage caused by the lump in the vein valves and discoloration and formation of ulcers affected by the clot, which can lead to disability in that area.

Precautionary measures

The good news is that this condition can be prevented with some straightforward measures:

  • Avoid wearing tight clothing.
  • If you have poor circulation, consult your doctor, and they will advise you to wear compression stockings.
  • Stay hydrated as fluid retention worsens poor circulation.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages.
  • If you spend a lot of time sitting, get up every 2 hours and take a few steps.
  • Avoid cigarettes.
  • Eat healthily, and if you have obesity problems visit a nutritionist, as you may be at risk of developing this condition.
  • Get regular exercise.

Exercises to improve circulation

You can perform these exercises to improve your circulation at work, especially if you are sitting for a long time; they will help you prevent complications related to this issue:

  • Move the balls of your feet in and out.
  • Circle your ankles in both directions.
  • Stand up and put your weight on the balls of your feet and return to your normal position. Repeat this movement several times and do it the same way, but now supporting the weight on your heels.
  • You can also use objects like a ball. Sit with your legs bent and place a ball under the sole of your foot and move back and forth.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Pulmonary embolism: symptoms, causes and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Lung and respiratory tract category .

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