Pulmonary embolism is an obstruction of one of the lungs’ pulmonary arteries, most often due to a blood clot that travels from the legs to the lungs or rarely to other parts of the body.
Pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening because blood clots block blood flow to the lungs, and prompt treatment can significantly reduce death risk.
Symptoms of pulmonary embolism:
This disease’s symptoms depend on the size of the lungs involved, the clot’s size, and whether you have lung or heart disease.
Common signs and symptoms include:
Shortness of breath
This symptom usually appears suddenly.
You may feel like you have a heart attack. This pain worsens when you breathe deeply, cough, eat, bend over, and go away at rest.
Coughing can cause bloody sputum.
Other signs and symptoms that can be caused by a pulmonary embolism include:
- Pain or swelling in the legs
- Pale skin
- Oily or juicy skin
- Chest pain that may spread to your arms, jaw, neck, and shoulders.
- Loss of consciousness
- Fast breathing
- Weak pulse
- Excessive sweating
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
When can I see a doctor for a pulmonary embolism?
It can be a life-threatening condition and see a doctor right away if you have shortness of breath, chest pain, or cough with bloody sputum.
Causes of pulmonary embolism:
It occurs when blood clots often enter your pulmonary artery, and these blood clots usually form in the deep veins of the legs.
This condition is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and parts of the lung blocked by any artery can cause death, which is known as a heart attack, making it difficult for the lungs to get oxygen the rest of the body.
Occasionally, blockage of blood vessels is caused by substances other than blood clots, such as:
- Bone marrow fat
- Collagen or other tissues
Cause of pulmonary embolism:
According to the World Health Organization and the Mayo Clinic, specialists categorize pulmonary embolism’s leading causes into the following categories.
Some diseases such as cancer, heart failure, stroke, or severe infection
- Increased blood clotting potential
- Damage to the walls of the arteries
- Prolonged inactivity or change in normal blood flow
- Age over 60 years
- Any injury or illness that requires prolonged bed rest
- Trauma to the foot with or without surgery
- long trip
- Hospitalization or long bed rest
- Medications: birth control pills, estrogen
- Polycythemia (increase in the number of red blood cells versus anemia)
- Pregnancy, including 6-8 weeks after delivery.
- Recent surgeries on the legs, buttocks, abdomen, or brain
- Congestive heart failure
- Heart rhythm disorders
- Taking birth control pills, especially in women smokers
- High blood pressure
- Pancreatic cancer
- Existence of central venous catheters
- Polycythemia hyperemia
- Hemolytic anemia
- Bone fracture
Risk factors for pulmonary embolism:
Although anyone can have blood clots and pulmonary embolism, certain factors can increase this risk.
Suppose you or any of your family members have had a blood clot or pulmonary embolism in the past. In that case, you are at higher risk because the disease may be due to an inherited disorder that has caused blood clots to become infected and clot.
Also, it puts some medical conditions and medical treatments at risk, such as:
Cardiovascular diseases, especially heart failure, cause more clots to form.
Some cancers, especially cancers of the pancreas, ovaries, and lungs, and many cancers can increase the number of substances that help blood clot, and chemotherapy increases the risk. Women with a family history of breast cancer who take tamoxifen or raloxifene are at higher risk for blood clots.
Surgery is one of the leading causes of blood clots, and medications are prescribed to prevent blood clots before and after major surgeries, such as joint replacements.
During periods of inactivity, more blood clots form, so keep these in mind:
Rest in bed
Prolonged hospitalization after surgery, heart attack, leg fracture, trauma, or any severe illness that exposes you to a blood clot. When the lower limbs are horizontal for a long time, venous and blood flow can form in the legs.
Sitting tight during long car trips reduces blood flow to the legs, which helps to form clots.
Smoking can cause blood clots in some people, especially when combined with other risk factors.
Excess weight increases blood clots’ risk, especially in women who smoke or have high blood pressure.
Estrogen in birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy can cause blood clots, especially if you smoke or are overweight.
The baby’s weight, which puts pressure on the thighs and pelvis’s arteries, may cause the legs’ blood to slow down. When the blood is reduced, there is a possibility of clot formation.
Problems and complications of pulmonary embolism:
The disease can become a life-threatening problem, and when the problem is diagnosed and treated, its rate decreases dramatically.
The disease leads to pulmonary hypertension, a condition in which the blood pressure in the heart’s lungs and the right side is too high. When you have blockages in the arteries inside your lungs, your heart has to work harder to get blood through the arteries, which increases the blood pressure inside these arteries and on the right side of the heart, which can make your heart beat faster. Weaken.
In rare cases, small embolism often occurs over time and grows over time, leading to chronic pulmonary hypertension, also called chronic pulmonary hypertension.
Prevention of pulmonary embolism:
- Preventing blood clots in the deep veins of the legs helps prevent pulmonary embolism.
- Eat healthy food
- Foods rich in vitamin E and vitamin D
- Found in fruits, vegetables, eggs, and certain types of mushrooms.
- Eat garlic, turmeric, pepper, red, and ginger.
- Cocoa / Chocolate
- Fruits such as almonds, raspberries, and pineapple
- Apple vinegar
- Green tea
- Fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids from caught fish
- Healthy and low protein sources such as beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, fish
- Avoid adding sugar, alcohol, and caffeine.
Blood thinners (anticoagulants)
These drugs are often given to people at risk for blood clots before and after surgery and to people who have a heart attack or cancer in the hospital.
Have a healthy weight
Being overweight puts more strain on the heart, vital organs, lower extremities, and blood vessels. Estrogen stored in adipose tissue can play a role in clot formation, inflammation, and other problems.
Please check your medications.
Medications such as birth control pills, hormone replacement drugs, and medications used to control blood pressure are associated with a high blood clot prevalence. Medications used to treat cancer or control autoimmune disorders may also play a role in blood clotting.
Prevention of pulmonary embolism while traveling:
Drink plenty of fluids
Water is the best fluid to prevent dehydration, which can help cause blood clots. Avoid drinking alcohol for dehydration.
Do not sit too long
When you are on an airplane or in a car for an hour or more, walk several times every hour and bend your knee several times.
Rest on a chair
Shake your legs every 15 to 30 minutes.
How is pulmonary embolism diagnosed?
It can be challenging to diagnose in some cases, especially when you have lung or heart problems. According to the Department of Public Health, your doctor will usually do one or more of the following tests to find out the cause of your symptoms:
This test allows doctors to see your heart and lungs in detail and any bone problems around the lungs.
This test measures the electrical activity of your heart.
The scan uses radio waves and a magnetic field to produce accurate images.
This scan allows you to see cross-sectional images of the lungs, and a select scan called a V / Q scan might be prescribed.
In this test, a small incision is made in your body, and then the doctor inserts specialized tools into the arteries and injects a special dye to see the blood vessels in the lungs.
In this test, radio waves are used to visualize blood flow and examine blood clots in the legs.
This is a specialized x-ray of the veins in your legs.
How is embolism treated?
Your treatment for this condition depends on the size and location of the blood clot. If the problem is mild, it will improve quickly, and your doctor may prescribe medication as a treatment. Medications that may be prescribed include:
Blood thinners such as heparin and warfarin prevent new blood clots from forming in the blood and save your life in an emergency.
They are usually used for emergencies because their side effects can include dangerous bleeding problems.
Pulmonary embolism surgery:
Your doctor makes a small incision and then uses a thin wire to make a small filter that inserts it into the large lower vein and then the inferior vena cava on the right side of the heart. This filter prevents blood clots from moving from the legs to the lungs.
A thin tube called a catheter sucks large clots from your artery, which is not entirely practical due to existing problems.
Doctors use open surgery only in emergencies when they are in shock, or the medicine does not work to remove the blood clot.