So, I’m physically fit and workout the cardiovascular system several times a week. Recently I found myself out of breath, but knew the shortness of breath I was experiencing was not from being out of shape. So, as I lay in the hospital with a pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs), I didn’t fit the profile of someone who can get blood clots. To everyone who has a history of clots, or have the risk factors associated with getting blood clots, don’t mess with these – get treated as soon as your symptoms develop.
Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in a deep vein, usually in the calf or groin. DVTs block the blood flow in the area, leading to pain and swelling. If the clot breaks free and travels to the heart or lungs, damage to the heart and even death can occur.
Symptoms of DVTs are:
- Swelling in one or both legs
- Pain or tenderness
Pulmonary embolism (PE), which is what landed me in the hospital, is a blockage of the main artery of the lung or one of its branches. It can be caused by a DTV that has broken free. Once the colt has obstructed the blood flow in the lungs, pressure on the heart & lungs increases and you get the symptoms I was experiencing.
Symptoms of pulmonary embolism are:
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid breathing, even at rest
- Chest pain
I know I felt like a, “fish out of water” where I couldn’t catch my breath and it took a few minutes to do so. I didn’t have the chest pain, nor did I ever have the symptoms of DVT. Luckily, I opted to get treatment. Many people don’t and suffer dire consequences.
If you have unexplained chest pain, shortness of breath, or leg pain/swelling, don’t write it off as muscle soreness. Seek immediate treatment. They say I’m lucky to be alive!