Signs and Symptoms of Blood Clots: Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
and Pulmonary Embolism (PE)
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.
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.
Blood Clots by the Numbers
Did you know? Up to 600,000 people in the United States develop blood clots every year. About 100,000 people in the U.S. die each year from blood clots, which means that about 1 of 3 may die. To learn more about blood clot facts and stats, please click here.
Reference: The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism, US Dept of Health and Human Services, 2008.
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
Connect with others who have experienced a blood clot here: Patient Stories