You can experience a pulmonary embolism if a blood clot somewhere else in your body breaks off and travels to your lungs. If symptoms do appear, they can vary from chest pain and trouble breathing to coughing up blood and back pain.
If you believe you have developed a pulmonary embolism, seek immediate emergency care at a local Dignity Health. We offer complete, personalized pulmonary embolism treatment.
A pulmonary embolism is almost always a result of a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). A DVT is a blood clot in one of your body’s deep veins.
You can be at a greater risk of a DVT if you must stay in bed or sit for long periods of time. Smoking, obesity, and ongoing medical problems, such as cancer or heart disease, also can cause a DVT. Signs of a DVT include redness, swelling, pain, warmth or a change of skin color on your leg.
Half of the people who have a pulmonary embolism do not know it. If there are signs, they may include shortness of breath, chest pain, and coughing up or spitting blood. Other symptoms are back pain, sweating, rapid breathing, dizziness, and bluish nails and lips.
Since a DVT and pulmonary embolism often happen together, see a doctor immediately for symptoms of either condition.
Pulmonary embolism treatment focuses on stopping the blood clot from increasing in size and preventing more clots. Your doctor most likely will recommend blood-thinning medications that will gradually dissolve the clot over time.
To preserve your life in an emergency situation, doctors at Dignity Health will attempt to quickly eliminate the pulmonary embolism with clot-busting medicines. For some, your doctor will perform a procedure using a catheter to remove the clot. Surgery is considered as a final option.
Lifestyle changes can help you prevent blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. Stop smoking, get regular activity, and maintain a healthy weight to fully enjoy the best in life. Find a Doctor for more ways to get moving and prevent medical problems.