What are Blood Clots, and How are they Diagnosed?

ImageCare Radiology provides a wide range of services for diagnostic medical imaging in New Jersey, including imaging for diagnosing blood clots. Blood clots can be a sign of a healthy body and lifesaving when they form to stop bleeding from a cut or other injury. However, they can also be dangerous when they form inside the veins when they aren’t needed, potentially leading to a heart attack, stroke, or other serious medical issues. An immobile blood clot can become dangerous when it breaks free and travels through your veins.

A blood clot that occurs in an artery is called an arterial embolism, and a blood clot that occurs in a vein is called a venous embolism. Both types of blood clots are potentially life-threatening, but arterial blood clots should always be treated as soon as symptoms begin.Close up of person holding their leg in pain.

What are the Symptoms of a Blood Clot?

It is possible to have no symptoms of a blood clot, and sometimes when symptoms do appear, they can be the same symptoms as other conditions. The most common place for a blood clot to occur is in the lower leg. Symptoms will depend on the size of the clot, which is why some people may have no symptoms, or very mild symptoms. A blood clot in the leg or arm may cause symptoms including:

• Swelling
• Pain
• Tenderness
• A warm sensation
• Reddish discoloration

While less common, blood clots can occur in the heart, cutting off critical blood flow and causing a heart attack. Clots can also form in the abdomen, brain, or lungs, and all cause different symptoms, so it is important to educate yourself on the various symptoms, especially if you are at risk for blood clots.

How are Blood Clots Diagnosed?

There are various methods that may be utilized to diagnose a blood clot, often at a center for diagnostic medical imaging in New Jersey, or in a hospital if the need for diagnosis and treatment is urgent. A venous ultrasound or CT scan of the chest, abdomen, pelvis, or head may be performed to help diagnose the condition. Treatment will then be determined based on whether the clot is located in an artery or a vein.

Blood clots are potentially life-threating condition, so education about the symptoms and steps to take if one is suspected is critical. If you experience the symptoms of a blood clot, immediately seek medical care.