A Blood Clot’s Danger Depends on Where it is Located

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.  (AP)

Blood clots, like the one 65-year-old Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is being treated for following her recent concussion, can occur for a host of reasons. How serious a clot can be depends on where it is and why it formed. In the case of Clinton, an aide would not say where hers is located.

What Are They: Blood pools thicken into a clot after an injury or because of a heart problem, clogged arteries or other conditions. Clots can also break off and travel to another part of the body.

Where They Occur: In leg veins, also known as deep vein thrombosis, or in blood vessels in the neck, brain or lungs. Leg clots are a common risk after someone gas been bedridden. Clots are most dangerous when they travel to the lungs, a potentially life-threatening situation, or to the brain, where they can cause a stroke.

Risk Factors: High blood pressure, diabetes, birth control pills, pregnancy, stroke, recent surgery, prolonged sitting, circulation and heart problems –especially an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation– raise the chances of developing a blood clot.

Treatment: Sometimes a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin) is prescribed to allow the clot to dissolve by itself over time and prevent new ones from forming.

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Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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