31 Mar Blood Clots
Why so dangerous?
Recently there have been concerns over an apparent link to the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine and the small amount of patients receiving the vaccine then getting blood clots. Whilst this may seem concerning, current health expert advice says that the benefits of the vaccine still far outweigh the potential risk of not having the vaccine. Experts also say that the number of blood clots is lower than the expected rate of the general population. Currently scientist in Europe believe the clots are caused by the vaccine prompting an overactivation of platelets in the blood. If proven right, they will be able to identify and isolate the antibodies which cause this reaction, then easily treat. Vaccination is not the only risk of blood clots and as they can be potentially fatal, it is a good idea to have a brief look at blood clots.
What are they?
Blood clots are semi-solid masses of blood which can form in any blood vessel. Generally some blood clotting is good as it helps stop bleeding if cut or injured but like with anything, too much can become bad and this is especially true if the clot is stationary and larger enough to block the vessel preventing blood flow (thrombosis) or if that clot breaks loose and travels to organ or artery causing a blockage (embolism)
How to identify?
Signs and symptoms around the area of suspected blood clot will include:
- throbbing or cramping pain
- pain in the area when touched by someone else
- redness and warmth
- sudden breathlessness
- sharp chest pain (may be worse when you breathe in)
- cough or coughing up blood
- struggling to breathe
- passing out
These will need to be checked by a doctor as an emergency who then can perform a venous ultrasound and a angiography.
Risk and prevention?
Some of the risk factors include:
- being stationary for long periods without moving around (such as long flights or long stays in hospital)
- using combined hormonal contraception such as the combined pill, contraceptive patch
- have had a blood clot before
- pregnant or have just had a baby
- have an inflammatory condition such as Crohn’s disease or rheumatoid arthritis
Eliminating some of the potential risk factors along with an active lifestyle and plenty of water is beneficial. Thankfully if identified early then blood clots can be treated quite easy with medication which will thin the blood.
If the blood is particularly bad or has been caught late then surgery may be required.
Keeping active is the key and identifying a blood clot early means treatment is relatively simple.
Suspected blood clots which are dangerous are not common but they are something that should not be ignored.
If you have had the AstraZeneca vaccine and experiencing unusual bruising, swelling or headaches that start four or more days after getting the vaccination then please speak to your doctor.