The blockage in the pulmonary artery of the lung caused by a blood clot or a foreign material is called as pulmonary embolism or PE. If a blood clot or a thrombus if formed in the deep vein of your leg it results in Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT. Often the blood clot gains the potential to break loose and enter the blood circulatory system. This breaking and entering the circulatory system to travel is termed as ‘embolise’. After travelling the clot settles or get lodged at one of the branches of the pulmonary artery of the lung. The clot is now called as pulmonary embolus and these clogs the artery whose function is to supply blood to the lung.
The pulmonary embolus not only prevents the action of exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs, it evens brings down the amount of blood reaching to the lungs. Due to low amount of the blood within the tissues of the lungs, the lung tissue begins to infarct or die. This result in the condition called as Pulmonary Embolism or PE. Pulmonary embolism or PE causes immense chest pain and breathing problems and requires immediate attention from the doctors. The blood clot blocking the pulmonary artery may come from the fat emboli of the femur in the thigh or the clot can be an amniotic fluid embolus that had occurred during pregnancy or the clot can be from cancer.
Risk Factors for Pulmonary Embolism or PE
Two of the main risk factors which can lead to pulmonary embolism or PE are:
- A history of pulmonary embolism or a previous occurrence of pulmonary embolism or PE is a risk factor.
- A blood clot seated in the deep vein of the leg. When the blood clot breaks loose from the legs and travels to the lung, the blockage caused results in pulmonary embolism or PE.
What are the Various Risk Factors Which Can Result in Pulmonary Embolism or PE Due to Blood Clots?
- Slowed blood flow, abnormal clotting of the blood and a blood vessel injury is a risk factor.
- Within the growing age people tend to develop blood clots. Age (when around 70) is a major factor.
- Weight like if you are overweight then the chance of blood clotting also increases.
- If you have prescribed medicines which are anticoagulants and you fail to take them daily. One must consume anticoagulants prescribed by the doctor until told otherwise by the doctor.
- When blood circulation does not occur properly then the chances of blood clotting increases. Improper circulation of blood occurs due to a long term of bed rest after an accident, surgery, operation or serious illness. Travelling long distances by flight or sitting for a long time during travelling also disturbs the normal blood flow within the body.
- Paralysis in leg. When your muscles are being uses, the contraction of the muscles result in the squeezing of the blood vessels that are present in and around the muscles. Then squeezing also help the blood reach the heart. When your leg is in paralysis, the squeezing does not occur and hence circulation of blood fails resulting in blood clots.
- Cancer is also a risk factor
- Inherited tendency to develop blood clots.
- Pregnancy and recent child birth.
- Accident, injury or a surgery and the trauma of the three.
What are the Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism or PE?
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Cough along with ejection of blood sputum
- Increase in the heartbeat rate
The pulmonary embolism or PE blocks the arterial tree of the lungs and prevents any kind of blood flow in and out the lungs and often within the lungs. If the symptoms are not noticed immediately and PE is not addressed medically then the patient may even die.
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- Prognosis & Prevention of Pulmonary Embolism
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