Signs of blood clots in the arm

Updated February 21, 2017

Anywhere where there are veins and arteries, internal blood clots can form. Alothugh not as common as the legs, blood clots are still fairly common in the arms. Those that form in the arm can break off and create systemic problems such as a heart attack or stroke when they travel to other parts of the body.

Definition of an Internal Blood Clot

Blood clotting is a process in which platelets and red blood cells along fibrin, a type of protein, form a clump to stop bleeding after a blood vessel has been injured. Scabbing occurs when this process happens at the skin's surface. Internal clotting, clotting that takes place inside a blood vessel, can be dangerous. Although most clots are dissolved by the body naturally, one that continues to form inside a vein or artery can get to to point that they block blood flow.

Dangers of a Blood Clot

When blood clots inside a vein or artery, it can block blood flow. Depending on where this occurs in the body, this can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Blood clots can break off from where they originally form and travel to other parts of the body, such as the heart, brain or lungs. A blood clot blocking an artery in the lungs leads to pulmonary embolism, which sometimes can prove fatal.

Symptoms of Blood Clots in the Arms

Deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot that forms in the legs, can be indicated by an unexplained and unexpected pain in the leg or a swelling of the leg. Deep vein thrombosis of the arms can be indicated in much the same ways, except look for symptoms in the arms -- redness, swelling, numbness and pain. A stabbing pain under the breast can signify a blood clot in the lung. This pain may also be dull. Another sign of a blood clot in the lungs is a sudden shortness of breath, dizziness or a bloody cough. Contact your doctor if the pain does not reduce with rest or sleep.

Blood Clots in the Arms

Deep vein thrombosis of the arms occurs like blood clots in other areas of the body. It is more common in patients with a pre-existing condition, such as cancer. Like with other blood clot formations, blood clots in the arms can break off and travel to other parts of the body, with disasterous consequences.

Treatment and Prevention of Blood Clots

Blood thinners can be taken to prevent blood clots from forming. Aspirin is an over-the-counter blood thinner. Once a blood clot is confirmed by a doctor, a shot of the drug Heparin is often administered. Another prescription drug to eliminate blood clots goes is Warfarin, which is taken orally. Always consult your doctor before beginning any drug regimen.

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About the Author

Antonia Sorin started writing in 2004. She is an independent writer, filmmaker and motion graphics designer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. She has completed work for the Long Leaf Opera Company, the former Exploris Museum and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She graduated from Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey with a Bachelor of Arts in communications.