Blood clots are treated by taking blood thinner medications, thrombolytics or by surgical removal. Doctors may also prescribe heparin and warfarin to alleviate symptoms, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Blood clots occur most often in people recovering from a surgery or injury, or those who can't move around well. They typically form to prevent excessive bleeding, says the American Society of Hematology. They can also occur when blood cannot properly circulate, says MedicineNet. Clots can form if a person over age 65, obese, takes hormones, has heart trouble or bad veins, or is being treated for cancer, according to AHRQ.
Symptoms of blood clots vary depending on their location, explains the American Society of Hematology. A person may experience chest pain, discomfort in the upper body, shortness of breath, sweating or nausea if the clot is near the heart. Clots near the brain may cause weakness of the face, arms or legs, difficulty speaking and vision problems. Clots in the arms or legs are associated with swelling, tenderness and warmth of the limbs.
Blood clots can be prevented by staying active and not remaining still for more than one hour at a time, claims AHRQ. Diets with less salt can also reduce the risk of blood clots.
The most common side effect of blood thinners is bleeding. If excessive bleeding occurs, a patient should be taken to the nearest emergency room, reports AHRQ.