Spotting a Blood Clot

By: Alere Staff

A blood clot that forms when we cut ourselves or become injured is a good thing. It is a safety mechanism that protects us from excessive bleeding. When a blood clot forms in a vessel inside the body, it can be a serious situation. It is important to recognize the signs and know when to seek treatment.

Recognizing Blood Clots

The medical term for a blood clot is a thrombus. When the blood clot develops in an extremity, it is known as Deep Vein Thrombosis, commonly known as DVT. A DVT can involve the foot, ankle, calf, whole leg or arm. There are four hallmark signs of DVT which may range from mild to severe:

  • Pain or tenderness is often the first symptom
  • Swelling of the extremity
  • Warm skin over the area of the clot
  • Reddish or bluish skin discoloration
  • These symptoms will typically intensify and require medical attention.

Some people can experience a blood clot without significant telltale signs. This may mean the clot is in the early stages of development and underlines the importance of actively preventing blood clots if one is at an elevated risk of them. Wearing loose, comfortable clothing and avoiding standing or sitting in the same position for more than one hour at a time. Monitoring salt intake and remaining as physically active as we can are also steps to take to protect ourselves from the unpleasant and potentially dangerous experience of DVT.

As always, visit with your doctor and voice any concerns you may have about your risk of blood clots and be sure to follow their instruction.

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  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, September 2012. Your Guide to Preventing and Treating Blood Clots. Agency for Health Research and Quality (AHRQ). Retrieved from the AHRQ website at
  2. American Society of Hematology (ASH), 2015. Blood Clots. Retrieved from the ASH website at