What is a thrombosis?

Thrombosis occurs when a blood vessel becomes blocked. This is usually caused by a clot of blood. It can also be dangerous for the lungs. When it gets into the lungs it can cause a pulmonary embolism. It is often noticed in the legs or the abdomen. The deep form of thrombosis travels through areas that are poor in oxygen. It can get into your heart or lungs in this way. It is therefore important that you call your doctor immediately if there are any signs of thrombosis. It is an easily treatable disease, even if it is chronic. There are inhibitors for almost all types, such as coagulation inhibitors and platelet inhibitors. Much is known about the disease and many people suffer from it. That is why a lot of research has led to a good treatment.

How do you recognize thrombosis?

Many people ask the question what is a thrombosis? For most people, thrombosis starts in the legs. That is why it is often called a thrombosis leg. It also sometimes occurs in the abdomen. If you let the clot sit too long, it can get into the lungs. And this can then for example cause a pulmonary embolism. So pay attention to the signals from your body. Very rarely does it start right away in the lungs. In that case, consult your doctor immediately. 

Sitting still for long periods of time and not using your body gives you an increased risk, as does smoking. You usually see thrombosis in thickening in for example the arms or legs. Sudden shortness of breath can also indicate this. Are you worried about someone or do you suspect that you have it yourself? Then immediately call the doctor or your own GP.

How does thrombosis occur?

Thrombosis is caused by blood not being properly removed. When you cut your hand or fall on your leg, for example, you can run a higher risk. The body will then try to clot the blood as fast as possible so it will close up and form a crust. But the unnecessarily produced blood clot can disappear back into your body. So when you produce too many blood clots, you run a greater risk. Especially older people suffer from this because they often have hardening of the arteries. With hardening of the arteries, the blood vessels become narrower and cannot drain as well. Sitting still for long periods of time can also increase the risk of thrombosis. But the composition of the blood is also of influence. This can change significantly during illness or viral infections, or for example during pregnancy.

What are the consequences of thrombosis?

If you don't go to the doctor in time with thrombosis, it can lead to PTS. This is a chronic disease that can make you suffer from blood clots more often. When a blood clot closes the arteries, you can even get a heart attack or brain infarction, which is life-threatening. People who sit still for long periods of time or who take birth control pills, for example, have an increased risk. Pregnancies and hereditary defects can also influence this. A rare form can even cause permanent damage. Many people don't know that you can also get eye thrombosis. This is when the blood vessels in your eyes narrow. If you don't catch it in time, it can cause permanent vision impairment or blindness.

How is the diagnosis made?

Thrombosis is usually diagnosed by the hospital. They will perform an ultrasound scan or a duplex examination. This will give them insight into how fast your blood is moving and what direction it is moving in. If you have shortness of breath, they will often perform a lung scan in addition. People with thrombosis are at increased risk of pulmonary embolism. If it is only in a certain place, the hospital may decide to do an angiography. They then inject a contrast medium and can follow the flow of blood precisely on a screen. This allows them to see how bad it is in a specific vessel. For rare forms, such as eye or sinus thrombosis, there are only a few hospitals that can do this. For each case it is different what kind of examination needs to be done. It also depends on how long you have been suffering from this.

What is the treatment of thrombosis?

Usually thrombosis is treated with anticoagulants to prevent blood clots from forming. This prevents future blood clots but it does not dissolve a blood clot that is already present. However, they do prevent future clots from forming. You can also choose for a compression stocking. They exert pressure on the thrombosis leg, for example, by putting the clot under pressure. If it is the platelets that are the problem, they are treated with platelet inhibitors. In rare cases it is vitamin K, for which there is also an inhibitor. So it is a disease that is easy to treat if you are there on time!

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