PULMONARY EMBOLISMit is a blockage of the main artery(an elastic blood vessel that transports blood from the heart to the lungs) in the lungs or one of its branches by a blood clot(a gelatinous or semi-solid mass of coagulated blood),fat,air and tumour tissues. pulmonary embolism most commonly results from deep vein thrombosis;that is a blood clot in deep veins of the legs or pelvis which breaks off and migrates to the lungs.
COMMON SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- shortness of breath : This symptoms typically appears suddenly and occurs whether one is active or at rest
- chest pain : One may feel like he /she is having a heart attack. the pain may become worse when you breath deeply, cough, eat, bend or stoop.
- cough : The cough may produce bloody sputum.
RISK FACTORAlthough anyone can develop blood clots to pulmonary embolism, certain factors can increase the risk such as:
- Prolonged immobility:
Blood clots are more likely to form in the legs during periods of inactivity such as
- Bed rest : being confined to bed for an extended period after surgery or a heart attack.
- long journeys: sitting in a cramped position during lengthy plane or car trips slow the current flow in the veins which contributes to the formations of clots in the legs.
- Age: older people are at higher risk of developing clots.
- Family History: you are at higher risk of experiencing future clots, if you or any of your family members have had blood clot in the past.
- Surgery: it is one of the leading causes of blood clots, especially joint replacement of the hip and knee.
- Medical conditions: such as high blood pressure, pregnancy, the weight of the fetus(unborn baby), pressing on veins in the pelvis can slow blood return from the leg, cancer, previous blood clots.
LIFESTYLEScertain lifestyle factors increases the risk of the blood cloths, including:
- Smoking : for reasons that are not yet understood, tobacco use predisposes some people to blood clot formation; especially when combined with other risk factors.
- Overweight: Excess weight increases he risk of blood clots particularly in women who smokes or have high blood pressure.
- using of birth control pills(contraceptives): the estrogen in birth control pills and in hormone replacement therapy can increase clotting factor in the blood especially if the person smokes or is over weighted.
PREVENTIVE STEPS WHILE TRAVELING
- Take a work: move around the aeroplane cabin once am hour. if u are driving, stop every hour and walk around the car couple of times. Do a few deep knee bends.
- Exercise while u sit: Flex, extend and rotate your ankles or press your feet against the seat in the front of you or try rising up and down on your toes. And dont sit with your legs crossed for a long period of time.
- wear support stockings: The firm, even pressure these stockings exert helps keeps blood from cooling in deep veins
- Drink plenty of fluid: water is the best liguid for preventing dehydration, which can contribute to the development of blood clots.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeines which contribute to fluid lost.
in conclusion, pulmonary embolism can be life threatening but immediate treatment with drugs can greatly reduce the risk of death. seek immediate medical attention if you experience unexplained shortness of breath, chest pain, or a cough that produces bloody sputum. Also, taking measures to prevent blood clot formation in the legs can help prevent development of pulmonary embolism.