Signs and Symptoms of Blood Clots: Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

and Pulmonary Embolism (PE)

Symptoms concept.

Deep Vein Thrombosis:

Signs and Symptoms

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot forms in one of the deep veins of your body, usually in your legs, but sometimes in your arm.  The signs and symptoms of a DVT include:

  • 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

These symptoms of a blood clot may feel similar to a pulled muscle or a “Charlie horse,” but may differ in that the leg (or arm) may be swollen, slightly discolored, and warm.

Contact your doctor as soon as you can if you have these symptoms, because you may need treatment right away. If you need help finding a doctor, please click here.

Learn more about how a DVT is diagnosed here.


Pulmonary Embolism:

Signs and Symptoms

Clots can break off from a DVT and travel to the lung, causing a pulmonary embolism (PE), which can be fatal.  The signs and symptoms of a PE include:

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

Call an ambulance or 911 immediately for treatment in the ER if you experience these PE symptoms.

Learn more about how a PE is diagnosed here.


Learn More

The most important thing you can do to prevent blood clots is to learn if you are at risk. Learn more about blood clot risks here: Know Your Risk

Blood clots are serious, but they can also be prevented. Find out how you can prevent blood clots here: Prevent Blood Clots

Blood clots by the numbers: Get the facts

Connect with others who have experienced a blood clot here: Patient Stories