Are you at risk for developing blood clots?

A blood clot is diagnosed once every minute in the U.S.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – March is Blood Clot Awareness Month. The condition can happen to anyone and can be critical.

A blood clot is diagnosed once every minute in the U.S. On average, someone dies from them every six minutes.

It doesn’t matter your age, gender, race or ethnicity, a blood clot can happen to anyone.

Doctor Casey Yassa is a local vascular surgeon. She says it’s important to know your risk factors.

Common risk factors: 

  • Hospitalization for illness or surgery
  • Major surgery, particularly of the pelvis, abdomen, hip, knee
  • Severe trauma, such as a car accident
  • Injury to a vein that may have been caused by a broken bone or severe muscle injury
  • Hip or knee replacement surgery
  • Cancer and cancer treatments
  • Use of birth control methods that contain estrogen, such as the pill, patch or ring
  • Pregnancy, which includes the six weeks after the baby is born
  • The use of hormone therapy, which contains estrogen
  • A family history of blood clots
  • Obesity
  • Confinement to bed
  • Sitting too long, especially with legs crossed

A blood clot can happen just about anywhere in your body but some areas are more concerning that others.

“The most dangerous ones are in the veins of the legs above the knee and in the pelvis because they are bigger,” Yassa said. “If they break off they can go to the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolis.”

Anntonette Avery of Youngstown had a busy day of shopping one Black Friday and noticed later that night that she had a painful bruise on her leg. After a few visits to the doctor, Avery was diagnosed with a deep vein blood clot.

The clot traveled to Avery’s lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism. Thankfully, it was caught before anything worse happened.

“I was put on a pill. But the pill wasn’t safe once I found out I was pregnant, so they had me take shots. You take it once a day,” Avery said.

Avery’s shots contain a blood thinner, which is common in treating blood clots.

Signs and Symptoms of blood clots:

  • Swelling, usually in one leg (or arm)
  • Leg pain or tenderness often described as a cramp or Charley horse
  • Reddish or bluish skin discoloration
  • Leg (or arm) warm to touch

Signs of pulmonary embolism:

  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Chest pain-sharp, stabbing; may get worse with deep breath
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Unexplained cough, sometimes with bloody mucus