Thrombosis AustraliaThrombosis Australia is a central information and resource hub for the community proudly brought to you by the Perth Blood Institute Our Thrombosis Australia Advisory Panel consists of seven eminent Australian healthcare professionals. Thrombosis Australia Advisory Panel If you are a healthcare professional you can access the Thrombosis Australia Professionals site here: Thrombosis Australia Professionals About us About Thrombosis Tools & Resources Your stories What's new What's on Get involved For professionals Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) What is a blood clot? A blood clot or “thrombus” is a plug that forms in the blood to stop the bleeding from a wound. It is only a problem if the body forms blood clots when it doesn’t need to – which can lead to complications such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) or cardio-embolic stroke. What is a deep vein thrombosis (DVT)? A DVT is a blood clot that has formed in the deep veins of your body – usually in the calves or upper legs. What is a pulmonary embolism (PE)? A PE occurs when a blood clot breaks off from the wall of the vein and travels to the lungs, causing a blockage. What is the relationship between a DVT and a PE? PE is often caused by a DVT detaching from a blood vessel, travelling through the blood stream, and becoming lodged in the lungs. What is a cardio-embolic stroke? Around a third of people who suffer from stroke develop a blood clot formed in the heart chamber when an unexpected fast heart rhythm occurs called atrial fibrillation. Small pieces of the clot can then break off and block arteries causing stroke. Are men or women more likely to develop a blood clot? The risk is more or less equal between men and women, but women are more at risk if they are taking a combined oral contraceptive or are pregnant. How common are blood clots in Australia? 30,000 Australians develop blood clots annually. What are the chances of developing another thrombosis (deep vein thrombosis or DVT)? The risk of having a DVT is higher for someone who has already had one. However, this risk is different for everyone depending on, for example, medical and family history. Are blood clots preventable? Yes. For most people, blood clots are highly preventable with a healthy lifestyle, diet, and by staying mobile. Some people are more likely to develop clots and may need to take anticoagulant medication, but with proper treatment you can live a perfectly normal life. Will my swelling go away? The swelling may remain for some time. Compression stockings can help to increase blood flow and reduce swelling, as well as help to prevent any complications from the DVT. What are the warning signs of a DVT or pulmonary embolism (PE)? See here. What should I expect after a PE? After a PE it is common to experience shortness of breath as well as mild pain or pressure – especially during exercise or deep breathing. These symptoms will improve over time, and mild exercise can help you to recover more quickly. Who should I tell that I am taking blood thinners? Any doctor or healthcare professional that is providing care, especially during a stay in hospital. Who should I tell that I have had a blood clot? Any doctor or healthcare professional that is caring for you, including if you are hospitalised for any reason. Is it okay to exercise after a blood clot? Talk to your doctor about whether and how much exercise should be undertaken. Mild exercise such as walking, and swimming can be beneficial to increase circulation and reduce swelling. What can I do to minimise my risk of a first-time or recurrent DVT? Staying active and maintaining a healthy weight, staying hydrated, eating a healthy diet, avoiding immobility, and avoiding stress can all help to reduce the risk of a DVT. What are anticoagulants? They are medicines in the form of tablets or injections that are given to significantly reduce the risk of blood clots. What are the risks associated with anticoagulants? Excessive bleeding or internal haemorrhage are more likely when taking an anticoagulant. Ask your doctor about any modifications to your lifestyle or other medicines before starting anticoagulants. If you are on anticoagulants tell your doctor if there are any signs of bleeding, or your health professional before changing to other medication, or prior to surgical procedures.